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June 26, 2017

You+Me No More: Tears from Heartbreak Inspired by Music


A thousand have sang this song before me; a thousand more shall sing this after me. I thought mine was the most extraordinary love; a story of two birds flying on different paths who bumped into each other. It was that most serendipitous chance meeting that collided two worlds into one that would one day collapse my universe. Thirteen years of hurt and redemption—vacillating between toxins and elixirs—and all I have to show is traces of tears on my cheeks and my heart as once commingled souls parted without goodbyes. Now I know what it sounds like when doves cry.

A random moment gave birth to this article as my friend Chris passed along a YouTube video of You+Me—a duo with Dallas Green and Alecia Moore, better known as Pink—singing a cover of Sade’s “No Ordinary Love”. I should have known it was trouble from the outset; Sade for too long was at once my love doctor and my heart’s Bunsen burner. I feel like Pavlov’s dog when I hear melodies from Sade as her songs transport me back to times when heartbreak was my normal and sadness shrouded me like a thousand netelas.

I thought time and space though would protect me from past pain and so I valiantly decided to plug in the earbuds and listen to You+Me perform their rendition of one of Sade’s greatest hit. My bravado was met with a tear drop from the minute I heard Dallas Green belt the opening line of Sade’s song. Bygone reflections came flooding back into my cortex for this tune was my best friend on the copious occasions my ex and I kept dipping and diving between love and avoirs. On one too many instances, this song accompanied me on 495 as I drove in circles trying to chase away wounds by listening to Sade croon.

I don’t even know what made me stay to be honest. I knew this most extraordinary love was fated for doom the minute I kissed her. It’s like the universe speaks to us before we are ready to listen. What I feared was to love too much and lose all perspective—my apprehension became a self-fulfilling prophecy. She was the perfect storm in this way; my father knew her mom as they both worked at Ethiopian airlines before either one of us was born. A fairy tale was thus woven before her and I emerged from the womb as her whispers of “Teddiye” became the spider web that kept me in suspended animation for years.

This fairy tale became my prison; how can I walk away from Cinderella and ruin a bond between two families in the process. I forced myself to stay even as my mind was telling me to exit. Stubborn like an ox and supple as a lamb, I insisted on staying no matter the slings and arrows that kept being thrown at my heart. This is how two people wound each other deeply for love is not forced any more than can butterflies be coaxed out of their cocoons before they are ready to be reborn. Love is a choice and should be not be coerced; this lesson I did not know as I gave endlessly trying to keep a woman who exited the minute I said I love you.

This extraordinary love became my crucible and I hurt her deeply too. For thirteen years, Sade sang sad songs and I swear I thought she was singing my biography. Endless roads traveled; a million miles walked that always led to destinations of heartbreaks. Pavements and highways laced with my tears as I walked to Damascus searching for Jesus. Who I kept running into was the whale that swallowed Jonah as misery and loneliness became the orca that enveloped me. I was like Captain Ahab in reverse; the more I ran from the white whale of memories, the more the whale kept harpooning me!

All the sudden, in a bang and a flash, thirteen years of salty drips from my eyes ended the way that I feared we were always fated. After tribulation that saw frost bites whenever the two of us languished on mattresses all the sudden led to a climax I thought would rebirth our love. But she had other notions apart from my ideas; where I saw three dots at the end of a paragraph, she saw a period that ended a 13 year sentence. The irony of it all; this most extraordinary love erased herself from my life in ways that Joseph Stalin could not imagine. There were no more tries to be had—no more “once more into the breach”—after moans and releases, my ex released me and became past tense. The ending came as Cinderella turned my heart into a pumpkin.

It was the pain of the first time I lost her that turned me to poetry—as evidenced by the poem “Tears through Melodies” at the bottom of this article. A decade and a half of injury and bruises to my heart now has me writing poetry without an ounce of effort. Stanzas breast fed by ennui; haikus nourished by heartbreak—I can trace all of it back to a love that I thought was the most exceptional gift. In hindsight I see that the gift was really a present that filled in the absence of love that I never experienced. It was codependency that kept me and fear that crippled me. Sade was not singing my song, she was warning me all along.

The irony of it all, my last name Fikre means My Love in Amharic. This is my life story, I keep giving my love to others who never quite appreciate my gestures. Reflection has taught me a valuable lesson; we are the ones who create the universe we saunter in. Givers are attracted to takers for our brokenness make us push away people who want to give to us. Endless times I gave fikre and what I got back in return was indifference and exits. I don’t write this to malign her; she warned me a long time ago—through words and her actions—that we might not work. I insisted otherwise and set out to disprove her as I overlooked more red flags than I could innumerate. She was proven right in time; I was proved the fool in the end.

Past is past even if it occasionally creeps up and cajoles tears when listening to random songs. But no more do I fear love for now I understand that love can’t be willed into existence. True light fled into the night but where her candle was extinguished, I found a butterfly who saw my light even as I was wrapped in a cocoon. No more crooning for past memories; we pick up the pieces and move on for there is no profit to be had in asking why and looking at life through rear-view mirrors.

Love is a journey; from the road of heartbreak is found the pathway to redemption. Me, I’ll be fine and you I will pray for you from a distance. You+Me no more; we ended when you made the decision for us. Lessons learned through tears and gut punching grief, but I’ve been made the better—my past did not break me. The past will not break you. #YouMeNoMore

Life should be lived not with force but by choice, can’t will love into existence. ~ My Love

If you liked this write up and know of the emotions I expressed, share this article on social media using #YouMeNoMore

Check out the music of Dallas Green and Alecia Moore (Pink) and you will hear the inspiration behind this missive. Don’t give up on love, without it life is an empty symphony without any trace of melodies. 

This Ghion Cast below is a testimony of a discovery that I’ve made from endless times of giving my love until I realized that love starts first within.

Below is an excerpt from “Serendipity’s Trace” titled “Tears through Melodies”, one of my first poems inspired by the first true breakup I had with my past.

Tears through Melodies

Let me recount a trying time
A trail of tears of my own
From Virginia to New York
The year was 2000
When I caught the Y2K bug
Bitten by the worse bug of all
A love bug that bit my heart

I had just broken up
With the love of my life
As a man I was confused
I tried to keep a stiff lip
I never knew I had emotions
I thought I was invincible
Suddenly the loss of my love
Made pain evident and visible

I was despondent and in despair
Trying to get out of disrepair
I was always the one in charge
Never let my emotion go
Then along came a true light
That pierced my protective might
Thus begins my tears though melodies

I began my plunge into the ex factor
The first year was eternal bliss
But then we began to fight

The day turned into night
I did not know how to communicate
In turn she did not know to reciprocate

Thus she told me the fateful words
Teddy, we can no longer be together
With those words the universe crumbled
The sky turned red with rage
Then my heart bled a crimson tide
For my love was now an ex

“It could all be so simple
But you’d rather make it hard
Loving you is like a battle
And we both end up with scars
Tell me, who I have to be
To get some reciprocity
No one loves you more than me
And no one ever will”

I could take it no more
I figured my pain was because of location
Thus I conjured up a road trip occasion
I called my sister in New York
And told her that I wanted to visit
Rahel told me no problem
That she would love to have me
Immediately I embarked on this trip

Three hundred and fifty nine miles
To see if I could go full circle
And find the one degree of me
On my way out I grabbed Lauryn Hill’s CD

Thinking I could get an education
Through L-Boogie’s Miseducation
Thus begins my tears though melodies

“Is this just a silly game
That forces you to act this way
Forces you to scream my name
Then pretend that you can’t stay
Tell me, who I have to be
To get some reciprocity
No one loves you more than me
And no one ever will”

I listened to track two ad nauseam
I went nauseous with sadness
Awaiting to be awoken from a bad dream
For four hours I listed continuously
As Lauryn Hill crooned about an ex factor

I hit repeat on this one song
And repeatedly listened to this sad melody
New Jersey Turnpike was my trail of tears
I left bits of me on the road to the Big City

My steering wheel covered in rain drops from my eyes
As I crossed over the Delaware Bridge
The bridge that I once called “our bridge”
My heart sank to the bottom
As this became my bridge to nowhere

For a long time since that time
Every time crossing over that bridge
Would take me back to that day
And for a long time afterwards
Driving to NY would be painful

Thus begins my tears though melodies

” No matter how I think we grow
You always seem to let me know
It ain’t workin’
It ain’t workin’
And when I try to walk away
You’d hurt yourself to make me stay
This is crazy
This is crazy”

My state of melancholy lasted indefinitely
My ex and I would for ten year reprise that song
We became a light switch
Continually going from light to darkness
Fighting what we both knew was true

We were not meant to be me and you
But we desperately wanted to make it work
And for that I emptied my pride and emotion
Trying to attain the keeping of my passion

When we were together pure ecstasy
When apart unadulterated agony
Thus begins my tears though melodies

“I keep letting you back in
How can I explain myself
As painful as this thing has been
I just can’t be with no one else
See I know what we got to do
You let go and I’ll let go too
‘Cause no one’s hurt me more than you
And no one ever will”

One day during the break
My line brother convinced me to step out
So we decided to go out to a Delta party

Upon the arrival I see a man weeping
Being weak of heart myself
I decide to console this man
I sit down with him and ask what was wrong
I offered him a cigarette to listen to his story

He told me how his wife left him
Ran off with another man
As he recounted this misery
He shed a tear from this torturous memory

I too had to fight back a tear
Of this stranger’s agony
As I lent him an ear
I figured that this happened recently
Maybe a month or two before

Curiosity got the better of me
So decided to make an inquiry
“Bruh when did this happen”
He looked up from a sob
He responded meekly

What he said would forever change me
His wife left him seven years ago

WHAT?!?!!

He got me out of my blues
I decided from that moment
That no more would I grieve for my ex

Thus begins my tears though melodies

“Care for me, care for me
I know you care for me”

I stopped listening to Lauryn Hill
That day I became a player
I started chasing women
Hoping to find happiness
In countless woman’s panties

I flew to Atlanta started going to parties
Bought fake platinum chains
Broken heart Teddy was now emotionless
I tried to bury my pain in Hennessey
And laughed off my tears
Dashed away my fears
By being a player and misogynist

Tried to stand up from sadness
By having copious one night stands
Made countless women pay
For the sins of the one who broke my heart
Lauryn was no longer my love Doctor
I started listening to bullshit hip hop
Sellouts talkin about chasing money and hoes
I became uneducated trying to learn a lesson

I should have listened to the word of Lauryn Hill instead
My music reflected a new me
An uncaring and unloving man
The second someone got close to me
In a flash I was gone

Thus begins my tears though melodies

“There for me, there for me
Said you’d be there for me”

See music is our mirror
It reflects the essence of us
What we listen to is who we are
For ages men and women have sought shelter
Through the elixir of a soothing melody

In due time I learned the moral of the story
In order to love someone
You have to love yourself first
Only when you love yourself exceedingly
And accept yourself fully
Can you truly find true love

When you seek love from another
Without loving yourself exceedingly first
You are bound to find agony
This lesson some learn
And some continuously burn

So while I write continuously
To eradicate the pain
And wipe away the tears
Some chase happiness
Hoping to find fullness
And dull the hurt
Through empty bottles
And smoked out roaches

But no man is truly a man
Who thinks he is all powerful
To have never felt the sting of a lost love
A man only becomes one
When he has felt the blow of a broken heart

Thus begins my tears though melodies

“Give to me, give to me
Why won’t you live for me”

The answer to the riddle
It is quite simple
In order to find true love
First love yourself first
When you love you fully and exceedingly
Can you then learn to love someone else
And be happy to give to someone fully

~ Excerpt from “Serendipity’s Trace”, a book of our common struggles and connective hopes. Search “Serendipity’s Trace” on Amazon. Click HERE or the image below to check out “Serendipity’s Trace”. Poetry birthed through pains, but smiles in the end. ~

Check out “You+Me” page on Facebook by clicking HERE or the picture below and make sure to follow Dallas Green and Pink on Twitter @youplusmeoffcl @Pink @cityandcolour and tell them @teodrosefikre says #Tadias

Sade, I love your voice and your talent is mind bending, but your song “No Ordinary Love” bedevils me no more.

 

Teodrose Fikre
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Teodrose Fikre

Founder at Ghion Journal
Teodrose Fikre is a published author and a prolific writer whose speech idea was incorporated into Barack Obama's south Carolina victory speech in 2008. Once thoroughly entangled in politics and a partisan loyalist, a mugging by way of reality shed political blinders from Teodore's eyes and led him on a journey to fight for universal justice.

Teodrose was born in Ethiopia the same year Emperor Haile Selassie was deposed by the communist Derg junta. The great grandson five generations removed of Atse (emperor) Tewodros Kassa II, the greatest king of Ethiopia, Teodrose is clearly influenced by the history and his connection to Ethiopia. Through his experiences growing up as first generation refugee in America, Teodrose writes poignantly about the universal experiences of joys, pains and a hope for a better tomorrow that binds all of humanity.

Teodrose has written extensively about the intersection of politics, economic policies, identity, and history. He is the author of "Serendipity's Trace" and newly released "Soul to Soil", two works that inspect the ways we are dissected as a people and shows how we can overcome injustice through the inclusive vision of togetherness.
Teodrose Fikre
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