Lana Del Rey doesn’t protect herself. From anything.
She is the anti-advice columnist, loving all the wrong men for all the wrong reasons and making all the old mistakes. But I think I like her for the same reason I read advice columns so furtively, almost like a nervous addict – it’s not for the advice. Whatever the columnist tells the seekers to do is whatever I would have told them, too – it’s the things that keep me from being an advice seeker myself. No, I love reading about the problems. I don’t know if it’s schadenfreude or voyeurism, or just the same pleasure in dramatic stories that I get from trashy novels or Twilight.
It’s the inverse of the pleasure I get from Jane Austen novels, in which there is one set of characters who find the neat and orderly solution to their problems by acting exactly the way they should, or learning and apologizing when they don’t. Instead, it’s like getting a peek at the lives of all the women in the backdrop of these stories who are always getting knocked up by the man the heroine believes is her one true love at first. Lana Del Rey is one of those women.
So why am I, self-proclaimed good girl and sensible dater, so seduced by the idea of living a little bit more like Lana Del Rey? Because she feels everything so keenly.
She (I should say, the character she “plays” in her songs) doesn’t live according to a careful formula for avoiding pain, bad experiences, or risk. She doesn’t follow the “rules” for obtaining her own coin-operated boy. Okay, so she pushes her rule-breaking to a fault, but there’s something to be appreciated about being unafraid of being foolish in love.
Ultimately, if you make all the right decisions, you still aren’t guaranteed a tranquil and pain-free existence — the world is too chaotic to allow for that. And while it isn’t a reason to cave into complete hedonism, it is a reason to take a few risks here and there — perhaps even emotional risks. Lana Del Rey’s retro heroine feels so keenly because she’s made herself vulnerable to feeling, and to pain. Vulnerability isn’t a simple concept and it doesn’t mean a person is weak. It means she’s not so afraid of life that she hides all her best parts behind a bristly husk. There are different kinds of vulnerability as well, and many that actually take great courage — especially certain shades of vulnerability in love. It’s possible compulsive rule-followers like me have followed our patterns more out fear than wisdom. And that’s why a good girl like me likes Lana Del Rey. A craving to be a little less wise and a little more vulnerable. A craving to be less numb. And a craving for the kind of music that is unapologetically feminine.
Previously from Hannah Sternberg at PJ Lifestyle:
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