The Greatest Showman: The Other Side

Okay, time for another edition of “why is every song in this movie my life?”

This song-or at least the first two thirds-reminds me of the guy I was interested in before Scott. That seems like understatement. I was gonna marry him, I thought. And it wasn’t fully one sided-he and I talked in very matter of fact ways about our kids more than once. We were “best friends.”

This is a picture of us-c’mon bro. You can’t convince me this is platonic. Ever.

I have censored his face because I try really hard not to call people out publicly, but, if you’re reading this, JW, Heeeey! Haha!

Basically the situation was that I was nuts about this guy, it was obvious to everyone, and, like I wrote in my last post, I was a bit of a risk to anyone who was gonna link their reputation with mine. (If you knew why, your eyes would roll so far back in your head you’d see the sunrise facing the west coast.) So, read this as the push-pull of an attraction, almost a dance- rather than a literal conversation.

Me:

Right here, right now

I put the offer out

I don’t want to chase you down

I know you see it

You run with me

And I can cut you free

Out of the drudgery and walls you keep in

So trade that typical for something colorful

And if it’s crazy, live a little crazy

You can play it sensible, a king of conventional

Or you can risk it all and see

Don’t you wanna get away from the same old part you gotta play

‘Cause I got what you need, so come with me and take the ride

It’ll take you to the other side

‘Cause you can do like you do

Or you can do like me

Stay in the cage, or you’ll finally take the key

Oh, damn! Suddenly you’re free to fly

It’ll take you to the other side

My existence and care for him was an offer of passionate devotion, fun, powerful friendship…but…this guy was the eldest son of the most prominent and respected member of our church (his father is a minor celebrity.) and this would definitely be a risk to his reputation and that of his parents. And, I mean, he was sixteen.

Him:

Okay, my friend, you want to cut me in

Well I hate to tell you, but it just won’t happen

So thanks, but no

I think I’m good to go

‘Cause I quite enjoy the life you say I’m trapped in

Now I admire you, and that whole show you do

You’re onto something, really it’s something

But I live among the swells, and we don’t pick up peanut shells

I’ll have to leave that up to you

Don’t you know that I’m okay with this uptown part I get to play

‘Cause I got what I need and I don’t want to take the ride

I don’t need to see the other side

So go and do like you do

I’m good to do like me

Ain’t in a cage, so I don’t need to take the key

Oh, damn! Can’t you see I’m doing fine

I don’t need to see the other side

The promise of what we could have was outweighed by what he’d lose. He wasn’t willing to lower himself. Socially. I was awesome, but not worth that.

Him:

If I were mixed up with you, I’d be the talk of the town

Disgraced and disowned, another one of the clowns

Me:

But you would finally live a little, finally laugh a little

Just let me give you the freedom to dream

And it’ll wake you up and cure your aching

Take your walls and start ’em breaking

Now that’s a deal that seems worth taking

But I guess I’ll leave that up to you

Well, he didn’t think so. He walked away, and later conversations told me there were regrets-not on my part though because, in the analogy this song presents, there was another guy in the bar waiting for his shot at getting in on the deal. Scott. And he was ALL In!

Don’t you wanna get away to a whole new part you’re gonna play

‘Cause I got what you need, so come with me and take the ride

To the other side

So if you do like I do

So if you do like me

Forget the cage, ’cause we know how to make the key

Oh, damn! Suddenly we’re free to fly

We’re going to the other side

So if you do like I do

(To the other side)

So if you do like me

(We’re going to the other side)

‘Cause if we do we’re going to the other side

We’re going to the other side

I’ve been asking myself for years why this why this piece of my story still holds so much emotional weight that this song takes me right back to that eight months or so of dancing back and forth with this guy, and I think it’s the pain of being rejected because of what others would say and think, not because of what he actually thought or felt. Granted, he was sixteen, and that’s a lot at that age, but it was still very painful. It also throws into stark contrast how amazing Scott was for taking the deal. Haha!

I’m still processing how to release this pain, as silly as it may sound, and I wish I could say I’m past it. Unfortunately, there’s still work to do.

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