Lucy Dacus-Night Shift

Winning and Losing.

It is incredibly hard to navigate the waters of both. Learning to win humbly or to lose with a bit of grace are difficult waves to stay afloat on. Where do you stand?

I have many summers of game playing memories. My dad was in charge of military summer Airborne/Paratrooper camps and the family followed him as a “vacation” away from home. We spent hours in guest housing on military forts, with an occasional pool or movie visit.

We passed the time with games and the game of choice was typically Monopoly. I was one of the youngest players and I was a regular loser in a game of older siblings and adults. I was too young to really understand the economic strategy of land ownership and being a powerful landlord. I just remember, I had crazy lucky rolls that would infuriate the powerful owners, skipping their daunting hotel properties to win another $200 as I slid past the GO space. My luck would only last so long…..

I hated the long drawn out games and the finality of losing, losing, losing. I overheard the praises of the smart winners for their deft Monopoly ingenuity. Over weeks and summers of losing, I decided I had enough.

Losing can play some hard mind games. But looking back, I just didn’t really feel the need to be the winner mainly because I didn’t care to acquire the mean mentality to have the skills. I decided to devise other diverting tactics. I would usually choose the ship as my playing piece and drive the other players crazy with my fog horn sound effects as I navigated the property blocks according to the dots on the dice. Or I would choose the shoe playing piece and dance absurdly long dances to get from property to property. I relished in the fact that it would start as cute but also be perfectly agitating and annoying.

“Never be passive. Victories happen when you take charge of a game. You can’t win by playing not to lose.” -Karen Kingsbury

Games are difficult. Winning and Losing can be hard..

Winning is most certainly always rewarded. Losing, not so much….

Does winning really tell everything about someone? Is it all that they are? Does losing allow us to demean another’s worth and their value?

Losing at love is another story altogether. It can be heartbreaking and terribly tragic. A heart-break can be so painful and sometimes self-esteem sucking. Questions might surface like, “Am I okay?” or ” What is wrong with me?” We try to overlook the pain, the tragedy of rejection, and the frightening worry that we were completely clueless and may never find love again.

But looking back, loss is a learning experience and a moment packed with a powerful trajectory of growth. At the time it might have been humbling and awful, but learning from monopoly and other games as well as close relationships I have lost in my life, I have also learned that trying too hard, pushing an agenda, and manipulating an outcome are fails. They only provide fleeting adrenaline, but don’t last in the long run. Providing space to heal and working toward changing your mindset are both critical moves in a positive direction.

Lucy Dacus is an artist who sings a very personal story of loss and shares her strength, resilience, and valuable learning.  I have to share her fine example of a song expressed with lessons learned, while providing seedlings of a new-found confidence, all within a strategy of self-preservation. The perfect balance of providing time to heal and nurturing a changed mindset.

“The first time I tasted somebody else’s spit, I had a coughing fit
I mistakenly called them by your name
I was let down, it wasn’t the same
I’m doing fine, trying to derail my one track mind
Regaining my self-worth in record time
But I can’t help but think of your other in the bed that was mine
Am I a masochist, resisting urges to punch you in the teeth
Call you a bitch and leave?
Why did I come here? To sit and watch you stare at your feet?
What was the plan? Absolve your guilt and shake hands?

[Chorus]
I feel no need to forgive but I might as well
But let me kiss your lips so I know how it felt
Pay for my coffee and leave before the sun goes down
Walk for hours in the dark feeling all hell

[Verse 2]
Don’t hold your breath, forget you ever saw me at my best
You don’t deserve what you don’t respect
Don’t deserve what you say you love and then neglect
Now bite your tongue, it’s too dangerous to fall so young
Take back what you said
Can’t lose what you never had

[Chorus]

I feel no need to forgive but I might as well
But let me kiss your lips so I know how it felt
Pay for my coffee and leave before the sun goes down
Walk for hours in the dark feeling all hell

[Refrain]
You got a 9 to 5, so I’ll take the night shift
And I’ll never see you again if I can help it
In five years I hope the songs feel like covers
Dedicated to new lovers

[Refrain]
You got a 9 to 5, so I’ll take the night shift
And I’ll never see you again if I can help it
In five years I hope the songs feel like covers
Dedicated to new lovers

[Refrain]
You got a 9 to 5, so I’ll take the night shift
And I’ll never see you again if I can help it
In five years I hope the songs feel like covers
Dedicated to new lovers”

lucydacus-dcondren-selects-71-hi-1.jpg

Lucy Dacus makes a powerful statement with her first distressing lines in this song. Lyrically they are impactful and throw me a bit off-balance but beautifully sung with a warm, melting tone. In “Night Shift”, we are thrust into an uncomfortable narrative of a familiar story of losing love. Set apart with a quiet electric guitar, the words have more weight. The song expands with a simple drumbeat and added instrumentation. There is a subtle musical shift when Lucy draws us slowly through her experience to her eventual solution of avoidance, where she repeats her plan in three refrains, setting a precedence of strength and growth. “Night Shift” is the undeniable break up song.

Lucy Dacus, a singer songwriter from Richmond, VA, is a force to watch perform and listen to. With her 2nd album, Historian, expected in early March on Matador Records, we are blessed with more of her to come. I have covered her before at Savannah Stopover (HERE) and continue to be impressed with her ability to open up her life to us in song. It is beautiful and tender and musically impressive.

Yes, we all lose sometimes.

As I write this, my Georgia Bulldogs lost the college national championship in a single Alabama touchdown play in overtime. It was a slam in the face crushing blow after being on top most of the game. How do we respond? What do we do with the loss?

For me, I will be sad for a while, but I will also remind myself that last August, I NEVER thought this team would ever be here. So I will focus on the proud accomplishments of a very young UGA football team with lots of promise. They showed up and played a hell of a game.

Isn’t that what life is all about? Doing the best with what we have and what we know, and then learning from the loss? Provide space for healling and then moving on.

I probably won’t be playing Monopoly anytime soon, but hopeful for important wins in my life this year. May you experience some wins in 2018, but also a few losses you can learn and grow from. Because ultimately, when we look back with fresh eyes, experiencing a harsh loss makes the next win that much sweeter, am I right?

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