*** For all of you that read my blog for the climbing posts, be warned — this isn’t one of them. But feel free to stick around if you want to know how I compare my love life to popular songs. ***
You used to call me on my cell phone…
Hotline Bling has been in my head for about the past two months. It’s just so damn catchy.
I think it’s funny that the gist of this song is supposed to be something like Drake leaves, and this girl he… loves? used to love? was interested in?… is partying and going all sorts of places and generally having a great time, and Drake’s pretty upset about this. He says that she’s “got a reputation for herself now,” and that she’s “hanging with some girls [he’s] never seen before.” Before, she used to “always stay at home, be a good girl.” Drake also states that “Right now, [she’s] someone else.” She’s different; she’s changed. She’s not the person that Drake used to know.
But who can define this girl’s goodness? What right does Drake have to make decisions regarding the morality of her behavior? Even if it is coming from a place of intimacy and love, the idea that Drake knows her better than she knows herself (as some people feel about the ones they love when those loved ones do things they don’t like) disregards this girl’s agency. We should all be allowed to breathe, to experiment with new styles or behaviors, and to explore new aspects of ourselves. And is anything she’s doing actually bad? She’s going out, wearing clothes that she likes, partying with all sorts of people, and generally having a good time. That doesn’t seem bad to me, provided she’s not getting into fistfights at the club or stealing purses or something.
Drake says she “make[s] him feel like [he] did [her] wrong.” We’re assuming Drake and this girl were intimate somehow — implied that they were lovers, or at least love interests — and Drake is now surprised that, after he has left, she is doing things that make her happy instead of staying home and mooning over him as she’s supposed to. He’s also wondering if, since he left, she has found someone else to be with.
So, when it comes down to it, basically this song is saying something along the lines of “I left, but I’m upset and scared because it seems like you are not dying without me, which makes me feel like you don’t need me.” It’s coming from a place of fear; Drake fears he is replaceable. This girl’s actions show him that he is not the center of her universe. But should he be?
If you love someone, don’t you want them to be happy? Especially if you’re choosing to do something that separates you? If you love someone, truly love them, don’t you want them to feel as complete as possible?
Boyfriend left exactly one month ago yesterday. He got a contract teaching in Bhutan for a year. People do this all the time; I spent three and a half years working overseas in my early twenties. He has never lived overseas and always wanted to, so when he was this particular opportunity, he jumped on it.
Part of this is because his thirtieth birthday is coming up; it’s not for another year and a half, but I know he feels it there, looming on the horizon like the end of the world. Like most of us, he is afraid of waking up one day to discover that he had never done anything and now is too old.
Part of this is because he is a very good boy, and his growing older reminds him that his parents are growing older, and he wants to eventually live closer to them to help support them. I think he fears “going back home” will be the end to any sort of adventures. It will be Time to Be Responsible.
A small part of me wonders if he and I getting more serious — moving in together, becoming domestic — scared him about becoming too normcore. That our relationship was a symbol of the end of his adventures as well, so he needed to go out and do something radical (although he, of course, loves me and assures me that we will be together forever, etc. etc.).
Am I thrilled that he’s gone a scant six months after asking me to move in with him? I’d be lying if I said that I was. But I also love him, and I want him to be happy and complete, and if he feels that can’t happen here, well, the he should go. And so he has.
But only for ten more months. And this is good for me as well — when I’m in a relationship, I have a tendency to put most of my efforts into my partner instead of myself. Boyfriend and I got together very soon after I moved to New York, so it’s probably good that I now have this huge chunk of time to explore the city on my own terms.
At least that’s what I’m telling myself. And deep down, I know it’s true. We both could use some time to work on ourselves, so that when he comes back, we’re both ready to build something together.
Anyway, to quote Drake again, Boyfriend is getting “exactly what [he] asked for, running out of pages in [his] passport,” and I’m happy for him. Or, if not exactly happy, I at least recognize his own agency and support him in his quest to find out exactly what life means. And I will continue to do so when he gets back and realizes that life is one giant question and he still has a long way to go before he finds any answers.
Or, you know, makes peace with the fact that perhaps there aren’t any.
And I know when that hotline bling
That can only mean one thing…