Just imagine: sitting in the kitchen on a Sunday morning, steaming cup of coffee in hand with the faint sound of music playing in the background. My Sunday mornings typically consist of Etta James, Nat King Cole and Louis Armstrong – some of the greats, in my opinion. Not just because they have some of the most beautiful voices I’ve ever heard, but because of the way their lyrics mesmerized their audiences during their time and still today. Jazz music sometimes gets the short end of the stick – sometimes seen as too mature, but perhaps not popular enough to admit that one loves the sound. I, for one, am someone that loves jazz music on a Sunday. Or any day, for that matter.
One thing I’ve always admired about jazz, especially from the early half of the 20th century, is the soul bearing that you’ll often find behind the lyrics. Wearing your heart on your sleeve is not something that you often come across these days – and it makes me wonder: why? Why, when the music in the fifties sang about the thrill of holding your lover’s hand, feeling their lips pressed to your cheek, the dancing feeling that happened when you caught their eye across the room. What happened? When did the love songs and the lyrics of jazz become the “sup” and the “let’s hang” of today? Why did asking someone one a date, and actually calling it one, become something more readily scarce than not? Perhaps I’m a bit old fashioned, in fact, I likely am – but let me be one to admit, I think maybe we could learn a thing or two from jazz music – and the lyrics behind it.
WHERE IS THE INTIMACY?
No matter what happens, people will always have intimacy. One of our basic needs as humans is to have a connection with others. However, one thing I’ve noticed – both in friendships and past relationships – is the tendency to shy away from being emotionally intimate with someone. Almost like as a society, we’ve been keeping each other at arm’s length. Perhaps it has to do with trust issues, which I completely understand – but sometimes I feel like even though I’ve known some people for a year or longer, it still doesn’t feel like I really know them. Maybe small quirks and tendencies, but not really on an emotionally intimate level.
The thing is, I don’t think this lack of emotional intimacy is intentional. I think that as a society, we’ve built up more walls than we care to knock down. Perhaps this can be related to the drama-fed pop culture of today, creating popularity for those keen on gossip and therefore leading to a general lack of trust in each other. However, I’ll go so far as to say this – it almost makes me want to be more open with people, more transparent. I don’t want to live life constantly retreating and keeping everyone at an arm’s length. It’s lonelier than I prefer.
TAKING A NOTE FROM JAZZ MUSIC
Something I find to be so heartwarming about jazz music is that none of the artists seem to hold back what they really feel. Almost an “I don’t mind if you don’t love me, I’ll tell you anyways,” mindset. I love that. One of my goals for this upcoming year is to be a bit more fearless in wearing my heart on my sleeve. I find it liberating. Scary, yes – but I think the risk in wearing your heart on your sleeve pays off much more than the fright will ever be worth. Caring about people makes me feel fulfilled. I think it’s more fulfilling to care about people as much as you can, rather than caring less.
In fact, I’ve never thought that you could be worse off for caring more about people, as long as they have good intentions towards you. Showing people how much they mean to you, setting time aside from your day to really get to know and understand them. Keeping them much closer than arm’s length. I’m tired of pushing people away – in fact, I used to be good at it because I was so scared to let people into my life. Something I find to be a bit of a challenge is tearing down my own walls. It’s not easy. But, I find that with each wall that comes down, I feel lighter, more free than before.
FOR THOSE WITH THEIR HEART ON THEIR SLEEVE
I know wearing your heart on your sleeve can be difficult. It’s one of the purest forms of putting yourself out there, to tell people how you feel. The fear can linger – maybe of rejection or the answer that you may not prefer, but there is beauty in these feelings too. Life wouldn’t be the same without its ups and downs – I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and perhaps, it might just take a while to find out what that reason is.
For those who wear their hearts on their sleeves, whether you take a note from jazz music or not, do you find it rewarding? What is it about wearing your heart on your sleeve that makes you continue to do it? Personally, although I’m quite young, I think life is entirely too short to hide your feelings. Showcasing vulnerability and your emotions can often times be taken for weakness, but I’d argue just the opposite. I think it shows just how strong you are – and I love being around people who aren’t afraid to be open and aren’t afraid to hide their feelings from me. It’s something I really cherish.
What do Nat King Cole, Etta James and Louis Armstrong have in common? Perhaps it’s the sweet chorus of Dream a Little Dream of Me or the lilting melody of La Vie En Rose that pulls on your heart strings. Maybe it could be the bittersweet tenderness in nearly all of their lyrics. In my mind, jazz music bears the soul and the mind of those not afraid to love, even in the face of rejection. Jazz music allows me to give in to my day dreams every once and a while and dance around my kitchen on a Sunday morning, pretending that they’re singing to me. It’s a way to showcase how you feel, and it motivates me to wear my heart on my sleeve. Does it do the same for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions in the comments. Until next, xoxo.
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