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  • Writer's picturemaggiehsmith07

Closer I am to Fine

Yesterday, I remarked to Andrea that people in Richmond are uniquely, authentically, unapologetically, weird and I’m here for it.


I’ve been fortunate to travel and move to different places throughout my life. And, while there are pockets of people living their best lives, authentically, I feel it’s pretty widespread here. At first, I thought it was in our neighborhood and I was so grateful that we moved to a neighborhood where Andrea and I could be authentic and welcomed for who we are. Now that I’m leaving my house on a more consistent basis (more on that in a minute), I’m realizing that the authenticity spreads past my little neighborhood. I’m not saying that everyone is authentic in a way that I’m in support of. There are some people who are authentic assholes - but what I have come to realize is that assholes are usually the ones who are proudly, unapologetically authentic - even if they have beliefs they spew that I don’t agree with. The “anti” people - anti gay marriage; or people who are anti against anyone who looks differently than they do - racists.


While out in the wild in Richmond this past week, we witnessed a group out celebrating a birthday. The people in the group were various races but mainly Black and a few of them were of indeterminate gender - which I note not to judge but rather set up the scene for their amazing outfit which was an all black, tight fitting, one piece bodysuit that opened in the back down their spine. In short, an outfit I would never dream of wearing even if I had the body to pull it off like this person did. They looked amazing and knew it. As we were leaving the place, we passed someone on the sidewalk who looked into the establishment and waved to the group we just left. I said, “I knew you were with that group, you look a fantastic.” And they did.


Last night, we saw Fargo at a downtown theater that is 90-years old. It’s beautiful inside - our hairdresser was married there. A guy unironicaly wore a Fargo hat throughout the entire showing.


This year, I am committing to leave my house on a routine basis. I’m going to put myself out there and meet people here in Richmond. When I reflect back and try to piece together why I didn’t do this in 2022, I recall that a lot of in person activities were not in person - they were online (still) and I didn’t attend because I spend Monday through Friday online for work. Also, COVID lockdown made me weirder. I enjoy solitude and being alone. I remember when COVID hit and we were all forced into our homes, I thought that my time had come. LOL. “How bad can this be?” And it wasn’t as bad for me, overall, as it was for some people. It felt like I was be given permission to indulge all of my introvert tendencies. In 2020, at the beginning of the lockdown, we had left the group of friends who would have been our “bubble”.


I’ve always had a lot of acquaintances and I’ve reconnected with many of my high school acquaintances on social media and I’ve even promoted a few to friends status on my end.


I’ve cultivated a loose, small network of acquaintances but I’ve surprised myself to realize that I need a little more than what I’ve had that past 3 years come March.


I have signed up to do things that require me to leave my house. This morning, I attended a group meditation. There’s some magic that happens when you meditate in a group. A collective vibration for good is sent up. It’s like prayer. This mornings group was large - 26 of us! Afterwards, each person in the group could share if they wanted and all but 2 wanted. Which is pretty astonishing. But what was more astonishing is that people shared authentically & vulnerably. Would people in the northeast fess up to addiction, anxiety, and fears? Maybe, if the conditions were right but what would those conditions have to be for that to happen in a room of strangers? It was remarkable. I love that there is a space like this in my city.

I’ve long complained how I find superficial, inauthentic people incredibly dull. And disappointing. How can you grow if you’re clinging to, “Everything is fine!”


In AA, there’s an acronym for FINE: Fucked up, Insecure, Neurotic, and Emotional. So yes, maybe you are fine.


Anyway - whatever it is I'm trying to say, the Indigo Girls say better in their 1989 song, Closer to Fine. So here you go.


I'm trying to tell you something 'bout my life

Maybe give me insight between black and white

And the best thing you ever done for me

Is to help me take my life less seriously

It's only life after all, yeah


Well, darkness has a hunger that's insatiable

And lightness has a call that's hard to hear

And I wrap my fear around me like a blanket

I sailed my ship of safety till I sank it

I'm crawling on your shores


And I went to the doctor, I went to the mountains

I looked to the children, I drank from the fountains

There's more than one answer to these questions

Pointing me in a crooked line

And the less I seek my source for some definitive

(The less I seek my source)

Closer I am to fine, yeah

Closer I am to fine, yeah


And I went to see the doctor of philosophy

With a poster of Rasputin and a beard down to his knee

He never did marry or see a B-grade movie

He graded my performance, he said he could see through me

I spent four years prostrate to the higher mind

Got my paper and I was free


And I went to the doctor, I went to the mountains

I looked to the children, I drank from the fountains

There's more than one answer to these questions

Pointing me in a crooked line

And the less I seek my source for some definitive

(The less I seek my source)

Closer I am to fine, yeah

Closer I am to fine, yeah


I stopped by the bar at 3 A.M.

To seek solace in a bottle or possibly a friend

And I woke up with a headache like my head against a board

Twice as cloudy as I'd been the night before

And I went in seeking clarity


I went to the doctor, I went to the mountains

I looked to the children, I drank from the fountains

We go to the doctor, we go to the mountains

We look to the children, we drink from the fountain

Yeah, we go to the Bible, we go through the workout


We read up on revival, we stand up for the lookout

There's more than one answer to these questions

Pointing me in a crooked line

And the less I seek my source for some definitive

(The less I seek my source)

Closer I am to fine

Closer I am to fine

Closer I am to fine, yeah

Closer to Fine, The Indigo Girls, written by Emily Ann Saliers

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