Life in Song: Thanks, That was Fun

everybody knows the deal fell through
I was hoping I could just blame you
When was it that I became so soft?
This sentimentality doesn’t look good on me

-Barenaked Ladies, Thanks That was Fun

The Barenaked Ladies had a way of putting out music that perfectly re-created my teenaged years. At 17, nearly everything they came out with resonated with me and what I was feeling and thinking at the time (NEARLY everything – I didn’t exactly have an epiphany when “Another Postcard (with Chimpanzees)” hit the charts). “Thanks, That was Fun” is late September, 2001, after my first boyfriend broke up with me.

I don’t exactly remember how we got into the conversation. I just remember being in my kitchen, staring at our cluttered countertop while on the phone, as he suggested that we try something different in our relationship.

“I don’t know, maybe we should try seeing each other less often,” he said easily, as if thinking about what to have for dinner. “And maybe if when we do hang out, it should only be with other people, like Sam or Jess or something.”

I frowned, trying to process what he was saying. And then it hit me, a rush of cold through my hands and feet, and a sinking feeling in my gut. “So…you’re saying that we should just be friends.”

“I don’t know, maybe. Maybe…yeah.”

I have no idea how the rest of that conversation went. I don’t know how it ended, I don’t know if I put up a fight or just let it go. I can’t remember. I just remember slinking out the front door, grateful I was on the cordless phone, so I could sit as far away from my house as I could get, horrifically embarrassed and sad. At one point I heard one of my siblings ask “Why is she sitting outside?”, to which my mother responded quietly, “She and her boyfriend are breaking up. Leave her alone, okay?”

After we were done talking, I hung up the phone and went and sat underneath the big willow tree that used to be in our front yard. It had to be early in the afternoon still, because it was so sunny out, and comfortably warm. It was always sunny when I was the most upset at him, actually – I have vivid memories of vivid days when I would feel like crap about our relationship and the sky would be blue and the temperature perfect. And that’s how it ended – on a perfect day.

At 17, I was convinced that I had completely screwed up my chances of ever being in a relationship. That, I thought, had been my chance – my chance at what, I don’t know. Maybe to prove that I was worthy of another person’s affection, to prove that someone would want me that way. At 17, I became certain that I had actually been fooling myself, and that I was not really good enough for any one person to hold me in any kind of esteem.

I sat under the willow tree, in the sun, and I cried. For myself, mostly. I would go on to blame him, as 17-year-olds do. It would be years before I got that there was an equal amount of responsibility in terms of the relationship’s faults. It would be years after that, after many conversations about being empowered in my life that I could get myself as 100% responsible for how it went – outside of any blame and despite any incident where I had hurt feelings. At that moment, though, I was just a sad girl with a sad, sorry life. (It’s amazing how deep the drama can run in a teenager.)

Time heals all wounds, especially when you’re young- so does a song that fits your teenaged heartache perfectly. Thank God for BNL.

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