Lilly Pulitzer First Impressions-4

Lilly Pulitzer Elsa Top (In blue here, and more “Elsa” tops here) / Madewell Jeans / Hayden Harnett Tote c/o / Helen Ficalora Necklace c/o / Moon and Lola Earrings c/o Tuckernuck / Kate Spade Bangle (Old, similar here) and Sunglasses (Old, similar here) / Jack Rogers Sandals

Do me a favor and listen to this song.

Ryan Adams’ “Dear Chicago” holds a lot of significance for me. I’ve gone back and forth on its meaning–whether it’s about leaving New York or a troubled relationship or both–for a long time now. Regardless of its intended meaning, though, it’s brought me a great deal of comfort throughout my first year in Chicago, and I’m a little embarrassed to admit how high its “play count” is. ;)

When I was in high school, I’d spend hours in my bed with my headphones on, analyzing lyrics in an attempt to apply them to my life and whatever it was that I was going through at the time. From unrequited love and friendship ups and downs to family stuff and general teenage angst, music suggested that someone out there did actually “get it.” (As my former self would have put it.)

Today, I’m much less confused. But songs–and this one in particular–still help me attribute meaning to experiences and feelings, and find understanding in the emotional times–whether great, hard, somewhere in between, or a roller coaster of everything.

Happy and sad and back again.

Describing my move and transition from New York to Chicago is difficult. Some parts of it were really terrible, and I was so homesick that my heart seemed to actually hurt. And then other parts of it were really wonderful, and I felt more alive and happy than I’d been in years. And even now, as I sit at my desk, in love with Chicago and the life that Mitch and I have here, I feel so much emotion just writing about New York.

“Dear Chicago” by Ryan Adams, though, ties all of it into a single song.

Does that make sense?

When I listen to it, I’m filled with sadness and happiness at the same time, and–just like my teenage self–find solace in the fact that someone understands what it’s like to have two homes; two loves. And that there doesn’t have to be one adjective that describes a certain event, time or experience. That most of the time, it’s complicated and confusing… and that’s okay.

Of course, I don’t identify with every lyric, and I don’t take each line literally. But so many of them apply so perfectly. Is it weird that I wish I could just sit down with him and talk about my experience and his experience and loving and leaving New York and life on Avenue B and moving to and loving Chicago?

Sometimes I so badly wish I was a better guitar player. And that I had songwriting abilities. Because I struggle with articulating my deeper thoughts through prose without rambling, and poetry set to music is so much more powerful to me.

Will someone come over and help me? ;)

For now, though, I’ll just find comfort in the fact that someone out there does actually “get it.” That there’s someone who’s been through something eerily similar, and that he created something beautiful out of it.

Dear Chicago,
You’ll never guess.
You know the girl you said I’d meet someday?
Well, I got something to confess.

She picked me up on Friday
Asked me if she reminded me of you.
I just laughed and lit a cigarette
Said “that’s impossible to do.”

My life’s gotten simple since
And it fluctuates so much.
Happy and sad and back again
I’m not crying out too much.

Think about you all the time.
It’s strange and hard to deal.
Think about you lying there
And those blankets lie so still.

Nothing breathes here in the cold
Nothing moves or even smiles
I’ve been thinking some of suicide
But there’s bars out here for miles

Sorry about the every kiss
Every kiss you wasted, bad
I think the thing you said was true
I’m going to die alone and sad

The wind’s feeling real these days.
Yeah, baby, it hurt’s me some.
Never thought I’d feel so blue.
New York City, you’re almost gone.

I think that I’ve fallen out of love
I think that I’ve fallen out of love
I think I’ve fallen out of love . . . with you.

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