I released a single a while ago now called Windows. “If eyes are windows then mine are closed. If souls are behind I am enclosed. To be cast down. To be cast down. And there disclose. A lesson not learned by mind but by heart.” I remember getting those first few lines written down; it wrote itself, and the lilting little hook of the chorus locked into my head. “You never knew what I said about you, did you? You never knew what I knew to be true, did you? I never knew I could lose what I never had. I know it now. The time for the chance is past.” I wrote the song, then got in the shower and cried.

If you asked me back then what that song was about I would have said “music.” But I wouldn’t have explained any more than that out of embarrassment, –even now I flush at the idea of revealing it all. It was an unrequited love song for music, but the direction of my disappointment was not in music itself, but in my own unrealized actualization of potential. At various moments of my life I have known that I could have done more, learned more, accomplished more, but I did not do it. I did not overcome against the army of implications real and imagined that told me I was mediocre. That told me I am only one of many. Any creeping confidence was quickly squashed by my own engineered and groomed humility.

Last night, flipping through my old book and the progression of my lyrics over the year following that, I saw something else too. Windows was only the second song in the book, which contains all the songs from the album and many others I have never played for anyone. Reading through with the luxury of a time lapse, I see that I was stuck. Trapped. Locked into a place, a role, too limiting to be satisfying, too stifling to be fully realized. Like arms and legs on a too small couch, I could not, in that place, fully achieve what was possible. And I had to push against those obstacles, leverage the strength of my limbs and head to break apart the panels that impeded what was possible. And all the while ignore the habits of politeness and practicality that told me it was wrong to break apart a perfectly good, though too small, couch. And that I should be grateful to have such a possession as this when there are so many with none at all.

And what are the tools that pried me into that space in the first place. It is always so much easier to get something in than to get something out. Praise of the servant’s heart. The slave’s sacrifice to the master, which manipulates the self-awareness of both. Praise of the quiet. Valuing omission over confession. Granting the quality of sagacity to those who say nothing just because in their silence they do not defy the assumption. Linking femininity to acceptance. The more sweetly we bend and sway, the more beautiful we become. Praise of humility, with a twisted definition, above all else. That which demeans itself, undervalues itself, does not have to be demeaned or undervalued but is content with the little crumbs that fall from time to time.

“My soul like glass, like eyes with no lashes. My eyes are windows with no sashes.” As I filled page after page in the book, how was it that I wriggled my way out? I’m not completely sure. But I see now that I did it. I am out. I feel it. And I am different. But it is not all spinning on mountaintops and hills alive. It is also smallness in the vastness of here. It is also responsibility for more than I prepared for, more than myself. It is also fear. Fear of becoming a jerk. Fear of being overconfident. Fear of forgetting something. Fear of forgetting someone. Fear of failure.

I had a dream when I first started this project. I told Tony about it so I remember it still. It’s super weird and embarrassingly transparent: I had a baby. And she was lovely. She was big, out of proportion big for a human baby. Like mixing in a small baby doll with the barbies big. She had beautiful skin, almost clear. And no hair and huge eyes. But here’s the creepy part. She had no mouth. I was afraid because without a mouth of course she could not eat, and I felt she would quickly die. So I took her to the doctor who didn’t know what to do, and he sent us to a specialist. The specialist took a little knife and pushed through the membrane where her mouth should have been and pop, with just a little blood she opened her little smiling mouth. My brain sorts things out in dreams.

Now that I am out of that stuck place, where what I could accomplish in music was completely dependent on others and how much they were willing to let me do, I am starting in on just being here. Working. Doing things. Making decisions. I can see that my decision to break that-which-was-closed open is a forever change, and I cannot go back because the pieces are everywhere and a glass puzzle is impossible to reassemble. And why would I want to anyway.

I am saying goodbye, though it may be a thing I do over and over again, to all that I allowed to stifle me before. I am stretching out to my full length and spreading out and taking up space like a man does when he spreads both arms across chairs and plants his feet way out in front of him. I have not forgotten yet the smallness of myself but I am saying goodbye to the cognitive limitations of my circumstances: Doubt. That I’m not good enough. That when people shrug their shoulders at me it is because I do not belong where I am. That I don’t know enough to deserve this spot. That I will judge poorly or too quickly my own capacity for creativity. Laziness. That I will not do the something that would have made all else possible. That I will say no when I should have said yes. Fear. That I will say yes when I should have said no. That I will have closets filled with boxes of my own unsold vinyl records for years to come. That I will have to live with regret. I am saying goodbye to it all.


I know there’s been something wrong
For awhile now
I know there’s been something gone
For awhile
Now the meter you filled
Has run out of time
And I’m daring you not to
Step over the line
With your hands in your pockets
Your toe kicks a rock at me
I don’t have any change

You say:
We don’t spend enough time
We don’t spend enough time
We don’t spend enough time around here

I know there’s been something wrong
For awhile now
I know there’s been something gone
For awhile
Now the scene I imagined
Has filled up my mind
And I’m scared that you’ll say
I’m just wasting your time
When we walk under street lights
Your shadow takes over me
I know it’s time for a change

You say:
We don’t spend enough time
We don’t spend enough time
We don’t spend enough time around here

I can’t make up my mind
I can’t say goodbye
I open my wallet
And out comes a lie
You jingle your keys
And turn back inside
We leave at the same time
But facing two gates
And then only the strangers
See tears on my face
Lights refract in my eyes
I can’t say goodbye

Sara Quah- Goodbye




Read the rest of the Taking Me Back Series here:

For You, Dear: Taking Me Back, My New Album



What I Heard


How I’m Feeling


A Little Bit

Take Me Away

20 Steps

I’ll Be Alright



Published by

Sara Quah

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

One thought on “Goodbye”

  1. Yep, sorting life out through dreams. I remember my dreams every night. Used to belong to a Dream analysis group, looking at it from psychological view. I find it a blessing to remember those dreams and then tap into an awareness of myself, deep feelings that exist but I otherwise ignore or skim over in my waking hours.

    Liked by 1 person

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