A while back I went on a road trip with Bruce Springsteen. That’s right, just me and the Boss, rolling down the open road, just how we like it. I was headed to Houston and I had just downloaded Born to Run on Audible. So with Bruce riding shotgun, we rolled out.
As I listened, Bruce unfolded the map of his life, as he alone can do, the stories stretching out like the interstate. The further I drove the more melancholy, the more joyous, the more introspective I became. If you are a Springsteen fan, you already know that he is a magician with words. If you are not, I dare you to see him live or read Born to Run and disagree with me. In many ways, he is America’s Rock & Roll Poet Laureate.
That brings me to this past Sunday. Kent & I were lucky enough to win the ticket lottery and be given the opportunity to see Bruce perform on Broadway. Many of you have been asking for my thoughts about the experience and up until now, I have not been able to come up with anything more than it was transcendent and a once in a lifetime experience. I will attempt to do more than that here.
Back to the open road: Me, Bruce, and Born to Run. Just like his one-man show, the hours I spent listening to Bruce opine were like therapy; helping me to examine my own life and find just a little more meaning. At some point on the ride, I paused the book and began to use the talk to text feature on my phone to dictate what follows. When I got home, I neglected to share it with you. And honestly? I am glad I saved it until now. When I read it to Kent after the show we both cried. Again.
Here it goes. I think it is the best way for you to feel what I was feeling Sunday.
In the process of wearing my many hats, I have not become excellent at any one thing. Politician, poet, motivational speaker, theologian, psychiatrist, nail technician, editor, bartender, party planner, tutor, and short order cook. I can cook but I’m no great chef. I could clean, and I have, but now I am able to pay someone else to do it. I like to build things, but I will never build a great cathedral or be Frank Lloyd Wright. I enjoy writing but will likely never win a Pulitzer or report to you from some faraway land. I may spend time finding one or dong my best to play one to my family, but I’ll never be a doctor. I love to sing, but I will never be Nate Ruess, Springsteen, or even a member of the Go-Go’s. I am an artist but I’m no Van Gogh. I am not a copywriter or designer on Madison Avenue. You won’t hear my jingles or sales pitches and sing them to yourself years from now. I may never again act on the stage and I may never act in a movie – but some days I do feel like somebody just pretending to be who they are.
In the end – I have more job titles than I can name – taxi driver, IT professional, an amateur psychiatrist. My life has not been what I expected it to be, but it is been So. Much. More. I am not excellent at any of the hats that I wear but the symphony of all of them coming together makes me who I am. And I am amazing. Nobody gets to be all the things that I get to be. And I think maybe as time goes on I’ll also be an agent and manager, a driver and a personal assistant, a confidant, cheerleader, coach, and a mom. And I’ll be damned if I won’t use all of these things and everything else in my power to see the dreams of the people I love come true.
And so now as I continue to listen to Bruce describe the magic that he does and the uncertainty and the questioning that go into his trick of making one plus one equal three, I realize that in some way that is exactly what I get to do. Just like Bruce, I make the magic happen in our house. When the chips are down and things need to go our way people look to me to make sure that 1+1 = 3. Sometimes I’m not the greatest mathematician. In fact, you don’t want me keeping your books necessarily or paying your bills. But if you want one plus one to equal three – sometimes when everything is just right –
I’m your girl.
I may cry too much, feel too much, talk too much, be too loud, and be too opinionated. And every now and then I’m going get mired down in the negativity of life but I will never ever give up.
Bruce says at one point in the book that no matter how real the concerts are, no matter how transcendent he makes them, no matter how connected it feels, in the end, – it’s fiction – it’s theater – In reality, life always trumps art. In that way, I have the advantage. I get to wear all these hats and be all these people and in the end for me, it isn’t fiction it is fact. It’s reality. It is life and it is hard but it is also beautiful.
We only get one life. And mine is pretty fucking fantastic.