“. . . do you hate . . .
'Cause she's pieces of you?”
(Pieces of You, Jewel)
I am not always a patient driver . . . the wife will tell you that this is an understatement. I am not a patient driver especially when I am on my way to work. Like most impatient drivers, I have the opinion that the problem is all of those other drivers on the road with me. I have quite an array of monikers I reserve for those other drivers . . . most range from just the plain insulting to the profane. I have even used signed language to express my feelings while uttering unspeakable words. I will admit . . . I am not a patient driver.
One of the reasons that I enjoy my early morning drive to work is because it affords me the opportunity to listen to music . . . lots of music. It is the only time of the day that I get to just listen, enjoy, and appreciate the music that I hear . . . and, that includes the lyrics. The lyrics often make me think . . .
That happened the other morning. As I was driving to work, complaining about the other idiot drivers driving like maniacs, using my sign language, the song Pieces of You by Jewel wafted out of the speakers in my car. As I was offering the bird to the car I was passing, the lyrics of that song shoved a knife right through my heart . . . I almost slowed down and got back behind the car I was trying to pass . . . but, I didn’t. But ol’ Jewel wasn’t done with me . . . not only did she run a knife through my heart, she then proceeded to twist and turn that knife, back and forth with the lyrics she sang. Needless to say, she got my attention.
Maybe you have never heard the song. Maybe you have never had an opportunity to read the lyrics. They are pretty powerful lyrics if you really listen to them. In the song, Pieces of You, you sings:
She's an ugly girl, does it make you want to kill her?
She's an ugly girl, do you want to kick in her face?
She's an ugly girl, she doesn't pose a threat.
She's an ugly girl, does she make you feel safe?
Ugly girl, ugly girl, do you hate her
'Cause she's pieces of you?
She's a pretty girl, does she make you think nasty thoughts?
She's a pretty girl, do you want to tie her down?
She's a pretty girl, do you call her a bitch?
She's a pretty girl, did she sleep with your whole town?
Pretty girl, pretty girl, do you hate her
'Cause she's pieces of you?
You say he's a faggot, does it make you want to hurt him?
You say he's a faggot, do you want to bash in his brain?
You say he's a faggot, does he make you sick to our stomach?
You say he's a faggot, are you afraid you're just the same?
Faggot, Faggot, do you hate him
'Cause he's pieces of you?
You say he's a Jew, does it mean that he's tight?
You say he's a Jew, do you want to hurt his kids tonight?
You say he's a Jew, he'll never wear that funny hat again.
You say he's a Jew, as though being born were a sin.
Oh Jew, oh Jew, do you hate him
'Cause he's pieces of you?
Because she/he is pieces of you. Whoa! Singers should not practice or dabble in psychology . . . should not dabble in spirituality. Jewel is touching base on both fronts with the song she sings. They should not dabble in either—especially when the listener is trained in both . . . like I am. It hits too close to home. On that drive—on that particular morning—she ripped my heart out, stomped on it, and made me have to actually stop and think about why she created such pain.
Now, I am no idiot . . . like a lot of the drivers I have to deal with on a daily basis. Jewel is actually dealing with a pretty simple concept that is in both psychology and spirituality, and that concept is . . . projection. Projection is when someone projects his or her acceptable, but most often unacceptable, attributes onto others. This is a pretty common practice that all of us exercise on a daily basis. One of the best ways to catch ourselves doing this is to listen to how we describe people . . . negatively or positively . . . because what we are really doing is projecting pieces of ourselves onto others. All those idiot drivers that I am identifying, naming, and projecting my thoughts upon are really nothing more than . . . well, me. I’m the actual idiot on the road . . . except for the exception of all those Wyoming drivers I encounter on a daily basis. That is projection.
Jewel is pretty smart in the wording of her lyrics. She writes about the ugly girl . . . the abuse that she has to endure . . . and, the fear that in reality, she is just a reflection of the fears of those who are persecuting her. The same for the pretty girl . . . for the person with a different sexual orientation . . . for the person who is of another religious persuasion. She says, and I am paraphrasing here, “Are you afraid . . . do you hate . . . because these individuals are actually pieces of you?” Are they parts of you that you do not like?
Both in psychology and spirituality, projection plays a big role in helping to understand who we are as individuals. Helps us to understand and learn more about who God created us to be. But, we do not want to meet those projections . . . we do not want to deal with those projections . . . they scare us. We would rather hate them . . . pound them . . . kill them, than deal with them by coming to know them, understand them, and accept them as a part of who we are . . . who we are created to be. Then it becomes ugly.
Needless to say, Jewel pretty messed up my morning more than all of those idiot drivers I had to deal with. Yet, I know that it was not Jewel who pricked my heart . . . it was the Spirit. The Spirit of God. God uses the Spirit to get our attention . . . to confront us . . . to make us stop in our tracks and take stock of ourselves and our lives . . . to challenge us . . . to make us discern, pray, and travel the more difficult path towards God’s will. Yet, it does not matter who gets the credit—Jewel or the Holy Spirit, all I know is that they have had me thinking for several days now about myself.
Yeah, I know I needed to consider that what I am projecting on others while I drive is more about myself driving like some half-soused NASCAR driver than the people driving around me. I know that when I project out onto others that I am really revealing something about myself—positive or negative—that I need to consider about myself. I need to name it, deal with it, understand it, discern its place in my life and in who I am, and pray about it . . . then, I need to embrace it whether it is something that I need to change or accept. But, that is hard work . . . it is easier to hate, moan and groan, project, and not actually deal with it.
Projection is actually a powerful tool whether it is in psychology or spirituality because it helps us to understand ourselves. That power, though, is lost when we are not willing to do the work that it reveals about ourselves. It is easier to blame someone or something else than to deal with it. Thus, the Spirit keeps knocking on our hearts.
Since hearing that song a few days ago, my early morning driving experience has gotten a lot calmer, quieter, and less profane. My sign language is getting rusty. It is no fun yelling at one’s self . . . that is what projection really is . . . yelling at one’s self. Yelling at one’s self hoping that we will actually hear. Hear . . . and, change. Change to be who God really created us to be. I am slowly learning this . . . but, I still wonder if that includes those drivers from Wyoming. Yeah, pieces of myself . . . I need to get to know them a little better. Who among us doesn’t?