If you’re unavailable, I want to hear from you. Naturally you won’t be inclined to communicate through text, video, Skype or any other of the reigning technical wonders, because you’re indisposed due to an emotional inability to connect; run from relationships like an elderly person from shingles; or have been trapped, since the 80’s, near the inner circle of thought. But I will wait for you, because I know that you won’t call. I’m safe. See, it’s simple.
My recent obsession is with a fictional character, Stacee Jaxx, the tormented Rock Star in the film version of Adam Shankman’s musical, Rock of Ages. His complicated and brooding nature makes me wonder if there isn’t a compelling, deep man pulsing with passion and sensuality who is looking for me too. Of course, he’d need to jump from the convolutions of an alleged fictional reality and materialize. But could I stand that?
Stacee, played by Tom Cruise, (I know, I know,) but he simply sizzles in the role and is all about an unabashedly contoured chest and rolling hips that I’d like to roll into my bed. But he’s tortured. Now that’s something that I understand. He’s trapped by his talent and the illusions of fame. His true desire – to communicate so deeply that his music will make people want to live – has ben obfuscated by his demons. Anyway, one of his lines catapulted me into a nostalgia for the girl who sang opera with the full fury of her soul.
“I’m searching for the perfect sound, the perfect song, that will make you want to live forever.”
Usually I don’t want to live for the next five minutes. But I know how it feels to be rocked with so much desire, the need to communicate my inner being, to lay bare the breasts of my soul, that I want to live forever, and take you with me. Where is the man who could say something like that? Say something that pierces and reassembles my soul? That’s what I’ve sought. I sought it in opera where the characters’ passions were so outsized, so trembling with the ferocity of their emotions, that I felt at home there. I felt immortal each time a phrase pulsed through my body. It was a benediction and a blessing that some of the world’s most captivating music could, for moments, vibrate through my flesh and blood and convey all that I felt.
Imagine the joy that I felt when I sang Mon Coeur S’ouvre ta voix, from Samson and Delilah. Literally, my heart opens at the sound of your voice. When have you last felt that way about anyone? I’m not talking about mothers and their babies, here. I’m very attuned to the sound of the human voice. I know how the lead character in Jerry Maguire felt when she said, “you had me at hello.” So when I speak to a man who emits a squeaking coloratura sound, all bets are off, even if he’s wrapped in a bod of sin. Note: he isn’t.
Stacee Jaxx’s vulnerability was even more tempting than his body and diamond studded jock strap. The character was so ludicrous that he seemed real, and inhabited, for a night, my imagination, ignited my desire. Maybe it was his confidence, that bought me to the knees of my passions. Maybe it’s the performer in me who just wanted to follow the path of my desire to speak so intimately to an audience that I could, for a moment, change their lives. Maybe it wasn’t Jaxx that I yearned for, but the unfulfilled version of myself that lived in me, and still does.
“I only know that summer sang in me, a little while, that in me sings no more.”
“I’m a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride. I’m wanted – dead or alive.” That’s how Jaxx reveals himself to the woman who has caught his attention, focused with deadly precision.
Is it some inherent character flaw that I can relate to something so propelled by passion that it’s comical? Yet that’s where I live, scouring the milky way for the extraordinary. Mediocrity terrifies me even as it rules our world and governs our nations.
I’m a bubble girl, running around without the protection of her bubble. Too sensitive for this world and the banal sentiments that reign, I find myself without a protective coating. I’m really a performer at heart. I wanted to convey through music, the one truth, that could make you want to live. For a moment, an eternal epiphany that let you know that you weren’t alone in the world. Music does that for me. I honor all great performers, rock, opera. I honor their honesty and discipline. And nothing, in my opinion, brings you closer to God or immortality, than music.
And maybe as I wait at the violet hour before Hurricane Sandy crashes into New York, I realize that I’ve always been drawn to men like Jaxx. Those whom I’ve loved have had epic talents, insecurities and demons in hot pursuit. But when they were in the midst of creating, their confidence rivaled the gods, which is why they probably were burned alive.
I suppose we all fall in love with versions of ourselves. And even as I’m drawn to the Jaxx character, I know that that character lives in me. She’s been bludgeoned by the mundane and unrelenting homogeneity that governs our lives, but she lives still. Looking for love in all of the wrong places, that where I’ve been. Maybe I didn’t want to find love at all, but needed to find my voice, or let my voice sing in the world. The world has silenced my voice, temporarily, but I hope that I will be able to resurrect her.
That is the essence of the arts, they enable us to remember, even briefly, who we are. They hold a magical mirror to our soul where we can briefly see ourselves illuminated in all of our imperfect glory. If art doesn’t move you, it’s not art. And on some level, we all want to move someone, We want to know that for a moment, however briefly, that someone has heard us, that someone has recognized us and has borne witness to our journey.