I had a moment of epiphany just now while listening to Stevie Nicks singing Landslide. I’ve always loved this song, even during the times my once love and I had the most harmonious existence, Landslide was always one of those songs that made me pause and reflect.
Perhaps it was the raw emotion that is evident in Stevie Nicks voice as she sings about her apprehension of a tomorrow without the person she loved. Maybe it was the rawness of the melody and the reverberation of her voice accompanied by the simplicity of a solitary yet melodic guitar strumming in the background. Landslide was a fusion of poetry and music, message and symphony mixed into one soaring expression of emotion.
It’s only in hindsight that I realize that music speaks to us when our conscience refuses to acknowledge reality. The whole time I was listening to Landslide, it was a nod to the reality within my heart that I knew the relationship I held on to for such a long time was always temporary. Alas, my stubbornness refused to adhere to sensibility and prudence over and over again. This doggedness of mine thus led me on a thirteen year odyssey, breakup and separation only giving birth to reunion and reconciliation—a broken record of landslides and indecision.
But what I knew in my heart is something she knew too. Sometimes when two people hurt each other to such an extent, the wounds cause scars that are too deep to heal. A broken trust, once shattered, cannot be pieced back together—there are some chasms that are too far splintered that no bridge can yoke. Two souls who desperately want to make it work can end up hurting each other so, over and over again, because they fear life without one another while realizing that life together is not feasible.
This is the landslide of love that beguiles so. Wanting to be with someone but realizing that the love is not sustainable. We both knew in our hearts, as much as we tried to deny it, that ours was never going to end with forever. Instead, we held on to the facade of eternal while shackling ourselves in the anxiety of our relationship being ephemeral. We feared the landslide of being apart, what it would mean for us to go our separate ways, and in time this fear became more powerful than the emotion of love we once shared.
But love is not anxious nor does it fear, love does not leave nor does love exist in uncertainty. Love is enduring and love stays. Why, I wonder then, did I hang on for such a long time to someone that history showed would never endure the test of time? But Stevie Nicks was singing the answers all along. I was afraid of changes because I built my life around her; the thought of starting over, to believe that love can happen with someone else, became incapacitating to the point of paralysis.
But time made me older and this age has conferred upon me the wisdom of hindsight. I do not begrudge her really, in reality maybe I am the one who is responsible for the emotional pains we visited upon each other. Maybe it was my fear of change that kept me in place for thirteen years. Regardless, what we both in a way feared time induced, love eventually morphed to absence and only memories reside where once an abiding friendship existed.
So I guess I finally know the answer to the questions that Stevie Nicks kept crooning, it is better to walk alone than to walk hand in hand with someone wedded by codependency and fear. It seems that one person’s indecision can act as a catalyst for the other party to give too much. Love does not have a checklist but it damn sure better have some level of reciprocity. If one person is hanging on while the other person remains mired in indecision that is the recipe for love’s disaster.
So the landslide was simple really, here is what I have learned through years of going through the wringer:
- Love does not leave
- Love does not induce fear
If one of those two exist, it is not love we are chasing, we stay because we fear being alone. In time, indecision becomes the landslide, for love built on shaky ground will eventually come down. But the beauty of it all, landslides—when they come—are better than living in perpetual indecision.
Stevie Nicks, I can listen to your song and just enjoy your melodic voice; no longer do I see my reflection in your snow covered hills—the landslide is just a tapestry of my past now.
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.