A Little Bit

When my eyes are open but still, motionless, and comprehension of objects in my field of vision is incomplete, a moment exists for me internally when what my eye can actually see and what it imagines it sees are two different things. Within that moment are possibilities and ideas. For me this often happens in conversations when I get ideas or am processing a new perspective. Mark often thinks I am no longer listening but actually the truth is, I am no longer seeing. It feels like a glazing. Like a veil. It is as if my mind cannot both see and have empathetic thoughts at the same time because they are the same action. One must pause before the other can resume.

I do this when I sing too. Often people have scolded me for closing my eyes when I sing. I really try to keep my eyes open and focused on people when I’m singing, but it’s completely unnatural for me. It isn’t shyness or fear, as I have analyzed this in myself in an effort to change it. It’s because when I look at you, I am taking in information from you, and when I am singing, I am giving you information. The two directions cannot flow freely at the same time.

When I look at you, I see you. And in those moments I am intuiting your thoughts and emotions and needs. And I am wondering if you are okay or if you are happy or if you are irritated. It is not a choice for me; it is just how my mind works. I do this but these thoughts are not built into grammatical sentences, they are just passing fragments, just intuitions, which I collect subconsciously, use to understand, and then filter out as useful or not, true or not. Imagined or real.

Often, when I am later pondering these little spaces of understanding of other people and they intersect with images that I am seeing in real time in a profound or meaningful way, my mind will create some kind of metaphor which eventually turns into a song. I find it completely necessary to mix concrete images with deeper motivations and obscure thoughts in order to artfully and truthfully convey meaning and experience combined. Birds on a wire. A full moon. Eye contact with a stranger.

Maybe this is why so many of my songs are written about other people and their stories, both imagined or real. Even when I write in first person, it is seldom really me in the role of ‘I’ though there are pieces of me and my experiences throughout them all. The stories you tell me, and the nuances of your telling, combined with the pictures of the world around me when I relive them are for me the richest of moments. I am fully captivated.

Not everyone takes the time to see other people or wonder about them or understand their whole selves in a moment. Not everyone walking down the street will hear you and stop to listen to you sing and wait till you’re done to tell you they like it. I know this is a peculiar trait rather than a common one. But oh it is precious to find, like a fossil in a shallow creek bed. Taking time to ask questions, listen to stories, watch faces and postures, see how the universe echoes them all is a quest toward understanding human behavior, philosophy, and time. It is a wholly optimistic task and worthy–though it can get discouraging.

No doubt that people who you have invested in, sacrificed for, loved, appreciated, and supported will disappoint you. No doubt that people will let you down. None of us should walk around doing nice things expecting a reward at the end. It’s not that. It’s that when you recognize goodness in someone or something, or see potential or value in someone or something, it is the practice of selflessness to praise or value that someone or something. It comes naturally to us to do this, and we are not doing it for credit. But when the moments come that we in turn need support or encouragement or value, we can be disappointed when we see how few are still around. I confess when this happens to me or to someone around me I feel a sense of hopelessness, like what I do, what they do matters none at all. That we cannot, in our smallness overcome the perpetual tide of complacency. And I just want to give up.

This is not just true for people like me in a little spotlight. It’s true for all of us. We look around at the times when we really need a friend and see who is there. Those precious mavens who see who you are trying to be and love that and in so believing beget that very reality. Those devoted friends who can make room for your universe in their already full lives. Those quietly present to do thankless tasks and inconvenience themselves on your behalf. Those genuinely giddy and excited for the good things that happen to you, never viewing the goodness received by another as a loss to themselves. They restore your faith in humanity. Twenty people walk past you on the street, but one stops and sees you. And you are saved.

Sara Quah- A Little Bit (Order the album here!)

All those days eavesdropping on the birds out on the wire
Their subtle conversations on the air just make me smile
One romantic line, happens all the time
Strangers on the sidewalk driving blind

I gotta make you fall in love with me a little bit
Make it impossible to wave and smile and then forget
You want to talk to me a little while I’m singing
See me later and say that we met
Look into my eyes it hasn’t even started yet

Summertime is longing for attention in the night
I find myself sleepwalking when the moon is in the sky
Metal on the skin, position that we’re in
East and west maneuvers wearing thin

I gotta make you fall in love with me a little bit
Make it impossible to wave and smile and then forget
You want to talk to me a little while I’m singing
See me later and say that we met
Look into my eyes it hasn’t even started yet

Sara 4_pp

See the other posts in my Taking Me Back series:

For You, Dear: Pre-Order Taking Me Back on Pledge Music



What I Heard


How I’m Feeling


Take Me Away

20 Steps

Published by

Sara Quah

Writer, singer, songwriter. Find me @SaraBQuah. Listen to my music at saraquah.com.

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