This week’s song of the week is Nelly Furtado’s “Try” from her 2003 album Folklore. Her label has disabled embedding on YouTube, but here’s a live version of the song that I really like:

I liked this album, though it didn’t do well in the U.S. Since then, Furtado has gone for a more mainstream appeal.(I mean this euphemistically.)

I think “Try” is a great song, and it really fits something that I’ve been thinking about this past week: in all of our relationships — with lovers, friends, parents, children, students, teachers — all we can do is try. Plus, I like it’s acknowledgment that “I’m all I’ll ever be” … “And that’s you, baby / This is me, baby.” (That last bit is my favorite part of the song.)

I think it’s important to see in all these relationships that we all are who we are. We need to see each other for who we are and accept each other on that level. If we can’t do that, then we need to get out of the relationship, whatever it is. We have to love or respect or deal with people (depending on the nature of the relationship) as they really are rather than as we want them to be. This month, I’ve really been trying to do this — to love PJ for who he is, not who I want him to be; to appreciate my friends for who they are; to accept my colleagues and students for who they are; etc. I’m trying to live in the recognition that I can’t change people.

The flip side of that is also accepting and loving an respecting who I am. This is me. Accept me as I am or leave me alone. Even though I can change myself, that process is slow and deliberate under the best of circumstances, and certainly no one else can change me. If someone wants to be in my life (or class or whatever), then s/he needs to come to terms with who I am rather than hope s/he can change me.

I do think these sentiments are freeing, as the song ends by saying. I’ll post the lyrics after the break.

All I know
Is everything is not as it’s sold
but the more I grow the less I know
And I have lived so many lives
Though I’m not old
And the more I see, the less I grow
The fewer the seeds the more I sow

Then I see you standing there
Wanting more from me
And all I can do is try
Then I see you standing there
Wanting more from me
And all I can do is try

I wish I hadn’t seen all of the realness
And all the real people are really not real at all
The more I learn the more I cry
As I say goodbye to the way of life
I thought I had designed for me

Then I see you standing there
Wanting more from me
And all I can do is try
Then I see you standing there
I’m all I’ll ever be
But all I can do is try
Try

All of the moments that already passed
We’ll try to go back and make them last
All of the things we want each other to be
We never will be
And that’s wonderful, and that’s life
And that’s you, baby
This is me, baby
And we are, we are, we are, we are
Free
In our love
We are free in our love

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