All of these lines across my face / Tell you the story of who I am

All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I’ve been
And how I got to where I am
But these stories don’t mean anything
When you’ve got no-one to tell them to
It’s true…
I was made for you

I climbed across the mountain tops
Swam all across the ocean blue
I crossed all the lines and I broke all the rules
But baby I broke them all for you
Because even when I was flat broke
You made me feel like a million bucks
You do…
I was made for you

In some versions of this song, at about 2:55, her voice cracks from the intensity of feeling that strains her vocal cords. It’s one of the most beautiful imperfections I’ve ever heard recorded. At that moment, is it perhaps the sound of the deceptive line of her smile fracturing, revealing the true story beneath the song?

i remember having a discussion on beauty once, and quoting oscar wilde:
a man’s face is his autobiography. a woman’s face is her fiction.

it was at that point i realized i would like to have an autobiography on my face.

Did she leave that touch of ugly humanness in as a private note to the person who she’d written about? Had she left it in to remind herself that she didn’t always need to hide behind a persona, a mask? Whatever the reason, it is at that moment that the song stops being cliche-perfect, and becomes real.

You see the smile that’s on my mouth
It’s hiding the words that don’t come out
And all of my friends who think that I’m blessed
They don’t know my head is a mess
No, they don’t know who I really am
And they don’t know what
I’ve been through like you do
And I was made for you…

All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I’ve been
And how I got to where I am
But these stories don’t mean anything
When you’ve got no one to tell them to
It’s true…
I was made for you

- Brandi Carlile’s The Story

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~ by translating for peas on June 23, 2010.

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