U2 and why it hurts

My lovely Peej from tumblr started a project in which she collects little snippets out of U2 songs, she calls them aphorisms and I call them snippets, because I’m a vulgar. She says

I don’t know if all of these can really be considered aphorisms. To me, some of them are kind of prayerful, some are little epiphanies, and some are bitter observations.

And I’m here for these. I’m so here for these, because this one time, a long time ago (in a galaxy far far away) I bought the newly released album How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb and I listened to it a lot. A LOT. I remember driving around a few nights, crying like a lost child (for matters unrelated to U2) and listening to mostly a song called A Man and A Woman. Yea I know, what a shitty title. There’s a part of the lyric that goes

The only pain is to feel nothing at all
How can I hurt when I’m holding you?

and when you first listen to it (is this a good time to remind you guys that lyrics are the last part of a song that i pay attention to? well) you think oh, that’s nice, he feels so much for her that it’s a ridiculous idea to feel any pain holding her. And that’s what I thought of it, because that’s what the rest of the lyrics imply. Until one sleepless night (one of several, i remember) I sat at my desk, probably reading something stupid or writing something stupid or generally doing something stupid, when it hit me. The other way of reading that bit of lyric. Like it is an actual question, how can I hurt when I’m holding you? How is it possible that I’m hurting when I’m holding you. That other way. And I fucking lost it, I was lying on the floor, holding on to the carpet, trying not to drown in my feels. Because really, have you ever felt so hollow, so numb that you felt nothing? Imagine feeling like that when you hold someone you thought you loved. I mean… fuck.

Anyways, on the first list of Peej’s aphorisms (the one before wasn’t, these are) are a few lines that may or may not end up as tattoos on my toilet wall of a skin. The first one is again from A Man and A Woman. (peej even dedicated this to me, i mean really, how awesome are my internet people? they get me, ya feel me?)

When the soul wants, the soul waits.

This is very personal to me, it hits home so devastatingly hard. I will not in any circumstances tell how or why, but it just does. It’s gut-wrenching and my heart feels like it’s being food-processed, but it’s important to me.

The other that is very particular to me is from City of Blinding Lights (another favourite of mine from How to Dismantle)

I’ve seen you walk unafraid.

It’s really a callout for myself. I used to be so unafraid, I used to be outgoing and social and all that. And I’m not anymore. I’m afraid all of the time that I’m not enough, or that I’m too much. I used to be so unapologetically me, the muppet that I am. But now? It seems like everytime I get excited about things, I’m the only one and I get these dubious looks from everyone (except my internet people) and I find myself wanting to just live as a recluse in my home. When did I start caring? When did I start giving a fuck? I want to see myself walking unafraid again. I need to see myself walking unafraid again.

There are a few other lines, not on her list (not yet at least) that are very, very meaningful to me. One of my absolute favourites is

When I was all messed up
And I had opera in my head
Your love was a light bulb
Hanging over my bed

from Ultra Violet. A lyric that has saved my life from a song that has saved my life from the album that has saved my life. All the darkness that was surrounding me and the one light in there, the one that kept me going, the one that held me through it all.

There’s

I love you ’cause I need to, not because I need you

from Luminous Times and it fucking makes me weep. Once again, very personal on a very core level. It’s a fundamental truth I once realised about myself and that’s all I have to say about that.

And if I could tattoo the feeling that the song The Unforgettable Fire gives me, I would. I can feel my fucking soul ascending hearing that song. It’s hope after despair, it’s a light in the dark, it’s forgiveness after you’ve fucked up everything.

And these are among the reasons that U2 hurts so bad, yet so good. If you’ve never loved a band passionately, you won’t be able to understand this.

But if you have, you do.

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