Can I Hold You Tonight?

Tuesday, December 06, 2016




A hug can speak louder than a thousand words. For me personally, as a person who finds it hard to say what I truly feels whenever I face my significant other directly, I would rather give him a hug than saying sorry. Hence I would rather receive a hug from than hearing him saying sorry. On the other hand, my partner is a person who can express his feelings with words so well. Unlike me, he finds it easier to say sorry. And somehow, it feels nice to hear it from him. Therefore I learn that sometimes words are needed too to instead just an action. I used to believe that when you love someone, it means that you do not have to say sorry, since I find it hard to say it. As the replacement, I would ask for a hug to express my sorry. Therefore I expect the same from my partner. I actually do not need him to say sorry, since I already forgive him before he asks for it. I need him to ask for a hug, instead, since it would make me understand that he really feels sorry. For me, a hug is the source of strength. For me, a hug is the power to sooth our soul. For me, a hug is a sincere way we can tell someone that they are loved, that they are not alone, that we are here for them, that they deserve to receive love, that they are meaningful.

Forgive me is all that you can’t say. Years gone by and still, words don’t come easily, like forgive me. But you can say, baby can I hold you tonight? Maybe if I told you the right words at the right time, you’d be mine.” –Tracy Chapman, Baby Can I Hold You

This time I would like to discuss about one of my favorite songs to listen to after a fight with my partner. This song is titled “Baby Can I Hold You”, originally performed by American singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman. The contemporary folk track was written by Chapman herself and was released as the third single taken from her self-titled debut album on October 1st 1988. The album itself was released before on April 15th 1988. I discovered this song when the Irish boy band, Boyzone, made a remake out of it almost a decade after that. It was released on November 24th 1997 as the second single taken from the group’s third studio album, “Where We Belong”. The album itself was later released on May 25th 1998. Ronan Keating of Boyzone released his own cover version of this song on July 8th 2005. It was released as the third and final single taken from his greatest hits compilation, "10 Years of Hits". In “Baby Can I Hold You”, Chapman wrote such moving simplicity about the pain of waiting for a commitment that never seems to come. The lyrics summarize all the promises that are made in a relationship and so many times, they fail to become a reality. How many times a person doesn’t say sorryor forgive me or I love you. Though it is always the action that speaks louder than words, yet still we need them.


"Baby Can I Hold You" single cover by Tracy Chapman | source: en.wikipedia.org

Though words are, quoting Jean-Paul Sartre, loaded pistols which are more treacherous and powerful than we think, there are times when no words can be found. Words do not come easily, especially when they are meaningful words being said to meaningful person. As a writer, I personally think that I am actually a timid person since I can write better than saying those meaningful words to a meaningful person directly. It is hard because it really matters. And there are three most difficult words to say. First of all is ‘sorry’. “Sorry is all that you can’t say. Years gone by and still, words don't come easily, like sorry.” Even in a condition where I am fully aware that I am guilty, it is hard for me to say that I am sorry. And when I finally do say that, then I must have passed some hard times to gather my courage and guts to say it. And when I do say that, then I must be saying it towards a person who really matters for me. “Forgive me is all that you can’t say. Years gone by and still, words don’t come easily, like forgive me.”
The second is ‘forgive me’. Most of the times, after saying sorry (which actually I rarely do), I do not say anything again to confirm that I am being forgiven. It doesn’t matter for me whether that person I’m guilty toward is forgiving me or not because the most important thing is that I’m saying sorry already. However, it is different when it comes to my significant other. I always find the needs to say it. Despite the fact that I am a relentless person, I always bend when it comes to my significant other. I need to know that he forgives me, which is so hard for me to do so. And the last thing is ‘I love you’. “I love you is all that you can’t say. Years gone by and still, words don’t come easily, like I love you.” Those three words are the hardest, for me personally. Even after years of being together, I find it hard to say that I love him, directly. Therefore, I will ask for a hug instead. Since I understand that words said at the right time will make things right, I use a hug as a replacement when I cannot say those words. “But you can say, baby can I hold you tonight? Maybe if I told you the right words at the right time, you’d be mine.”
Affection is a positive way to improve our health and well-being. And a hug is on the ways to actualize the affection. Hugs are able to boost our happiness levels, and the scientific research is there to show this. Basically, a good hug is the fastest way for us to get oxytocin flowing in our body. Oxytocin (the bonding hormone), which is also known as the “love drug”, is a hormone that has the ability to calm our nervous system and boost positive emotions. A good hug, which is resulting in oxytocin flow, will affect us in reducing our blood pressure (especially helpful when we’re feeling anxious), reducing our cortisol (the stress hormone) hence enabling a higher quality of sleep, and increasing our social connections and a sense of belonging. Because of these findings, it might be no surprise that studies have also shown that couples who hug more are more likely to stay together. Some reports have even shown hugs can reduce pain. So, what’s not to love about a hug? Hugs make us happier, healthier and more relaxed, and (the most important of all) improve our relationships.


"Baby Can I Hold You" single cover by Boyzone | source: en.wikipedia.org

For all of those scientific and psychological reasons, I prefer a hug to some words. A hug can make everything better than a thousand words. Sometimes it’s better to put love into hugs than put it into words. And I guess hugs were invented to let people know you love them without having to say anything. And you know you love someone if hugging them makes you fade away from everything else, even on your worst days. And that is exactly what I feel every time I hug him. When I hug him, I’m not just holding him, but I’m holding everything I’ll ever need. I feel like finally be in the place where I belong, and that is the place I always want to be. I feel empowered in a way that I could neither understand nor explain. I feel safe and loved warm and never want to let go; and it is just the best feeling in the world. Having an argument, fight, and heavy conversation can cost us high emotionally; hence there is no other best medicine than a hug. No need for an apology; a long and deep hug will do instead. And the nicest thing about hug is that you usually cannot give one without getting one; so it is reciprocal in every way, and it feels great.

I love you is all that you can’t say. Years gone by and still, words don’t come easily, like I love you. But you can say, baby can I hold you tonight? Maybe if I told you the right words at the right time, you’d be mine.” –Tracy Chapman, Baby Can I Hold You




Sorry is all that you can’t say
Years gone by and still, words don't come easily, like sorry, like sorry
Forgive me is all that you can’t say
Years gone by and still, words don’t come easily, like forgive me, forgive me

But you can say baby, baby can I hold you tonight?
Maybe if I told you the right words at the right time, you’d be mine

I love you is all that you can’t say
Years gone by and still, words don’t come easily, like I love you, I love you

But you can say baby, baby can I hold you tonight?
Maybe if I told you the right words, ooh, at the right time, you’d be mine
Baby can I hold you tonight?
Maybe if I told you the right words at the right time, you’d be mine
You’d be mine, you’d be mine

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