art, life
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Yes to Heaven

Strong like a tree but the unlucky one
I’m going down now, with all my
fine China, fresh linen

all of my dresses with the tags still on
Lana Del Rey

Fans of Lana Del Rey are lucky. Not only does she have 3 wonderful albums, but there is a treasure trove of over 100 unreleased songs of hers floating around on YouTube. Not sure if she was hacked multiple times or if she put them up herself, one thing is for certain, she is one of the premiere songwriters of her time. With a few lines she is able to create a story, complete with characters and emotion, and ground it in a time and a place. Her songs are miniature films to me. I could string them together as scenes and make a complete picture. No other musician has ever inspired me on this level.

Her ‘Old Money’ story is, as far as I can tell, a four track saga drenched in nostalgia. Kennedy-esque, New York royalty, a life filled with experiences and beautiful things, but in the end, even a perfect surface couldn’t sustain a love that was once vibrant and all-encompassing.

Where have you been?
Where did you go?
Those summer nights seem long ago
so is the girl you used to call
the queen of New York City

The power of youth is on my mind
sunsets, small town, I’m out of time
Will you still love me when I shine
from words but not from beauty

My father’s love was always strong
My mother’s glamour lives on and on
Yet still inside, I felt alone
for reasons unknown to me

I’ve seen the world, lit it up as my stage now
Channeling angels in the new age now
Hot summer days, rock ‘n’ roll
The way you play for me at your show
and all the ways I got to know
your pretty face and electric soul

Will you still love me
when I’m no longer young and beautiful?
Will you still love me
when I got nothing but my aching soul?

Old Money seamlessly ties into her Academy Award-nominated Young and Beautiful from The Great Gatsby (2014). Then a few snippets of two unreleased songs, Fine China and Yes to Heaven, leaked and I think they fit right into this universe.

I wore diamonds for the birth of your baby
for the birth of your son
On the same day my husband-to-be
packed his things to run
Was bittersweet to say the least
one life begins one comes undone

Fine china and fresh linen
all of my dresses with the tags still on
I guess they really got the best of us, didn’t they
They said that love was enough but it wasn’t
The earth shattered, the sky opened
the rain was fire but we were wooden

It’s been a long and strange summer. Things that have been building and left unsaid came to a head and truth is like a fire that incinerates everything but bare-boned structure. After the flames settle you are left with only yourself and what you came with. Your house becomes a morbid tomb of what you thought was important just weeks ago. I used to pine for new floors, for floor-to-ceiling curtains that fluttered in the wind. Silk dresses, boots and overpriced makeup. These were the things that defined me. My library of hard-to-find Hollywood history books all of a sudden became shackles around my feet because who can afford to ship 100 pounds of hardcovers from Hawaii to another corner of the world.

We humans have always been good at finding poetic beauty after the storm. When everything is washed clean. When you can begin again. Be someone new. Or be more like who you are, now, since the only constant is change.

I got rid of a bunch of clothes. I went to therapy. I tried to figure out how I got to where I was and what was blocking me from my future. I watched a lot of YouTube videos of people my age talking about how minimalism improved their life – peeling away all the layers of stuff to get to what’s important. I want to be light. I want to feel clean. I want to work even harder to get what I truly want, which is a life of art and stories, simplicity and elegance, not a lot of earthly goods, a handful of great friends and a partner. I have most of those things. I am lucky. But I needed to get to, and I feel like I am getting there, to a place where my mind wasn’t standing in the way of myself. I needed to be more present in my own life. It can be hard. It’s painful to realize how checked out you were. And the rebuilding process is always going to have slightly different results, even if you build from the same pieces. So there is a tinge of regret in realizing things will never be the same.

But I’m still here.

If you dance, I’ll dance
and if you don’t
I’ll dance anyway

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