I Don’t Know Anything At All

I’ll keep this short. I always loved Judy Collins’ rendition of “Both Sides Now.” When I was a kid, I thought, “Yeah, that’s me.” I resonated with “love’s illusions” idea. “If you care don’t let them know,” was a mantra even then.

Judy Collins: We all know this one.

Last year, I heard this version by Joni Mitchell. It changed my understanding of the song, and it helped me understand my life.

Joni Mitchell: She wrote it and this version changed something.

Mitchell’s version is slower, more deliberate. But so is my life. And so rather than thinking about myself as one who stands apart, aloof, “I’ve looked at life from both sides now,” I can feel myself having lost something.

I have looked at life from both sides now, and Joni Mitchell’s version, haunting as it is, feels true to me. It hurts. Not like the way I celebrated Judy Collin’s version as an affirmation of my freedom of choice. Mitchell’s version sings to me now.