Unsteady

Question of the blog: In the video that appears below (either via actual embed or link), who is the one who is unsteady? Is it the woman, her alcoholic husband, or their child?

Take some time, read along, and think about it. The answer is found below.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I went to watch the video for X Ambassadors’ “Unsteady.” When I first heard the song, I just naturally assumed it was about being drunk or something like that. I was half right. The video is a powerful depiction about alcoholism and dynamics that exist when addiction is present in a relationship. The group did a great job portraying reality. They did a great job of giving us a visual of what it means to be “Unsteady.” Catch is, however, that whether we have substance abuse problems, relationship problems, or not, we are all, a little “Unsteady” at some point in time.

We’re given the message in both society and church that we are supposed to be together, all the time. We’ve substituted the concept that Jesus is there for us and that we have a high priest who understands with the concept that we are never supposed to falter or fail. We consider having a bad day or dealing with realities of life to be a “lack of faith,” and when people have a bad time, we tell them that they should rely on “God alone” to get through things. Even the Bible points out we need support and encouragement from others, and that it isn’t God’s will that we be alone. Yet we still find ways and reasons to discourage people when they are feeling unsteady, when they are in a place where they need to know they can rely on someone else and they just don’t find it in those who they are around.

On the show “Queen Sugar”, the character of Charley (Charlotte) Borderlon-West is experiencing the depths of unsteadiness. She went from having a marriage that was considered picture-perfect and ideal to discovering her husband had been unfaithful in their relationship for at least three years and dealt with rape accusations because of dishonorable conduct with a prostitute. She is always together and precise, used to being the one who “handles” things in the situation. As they try to get the farm up and running, Charley deals with the feelings of always being so over-confident: the problems her siblings encounter cause them to come running to her, and when the effects of such are felt, she feels like she can’t handle it all.

A conversation with a local agricultural engineer who is helping the family to get the farm going again hit home for me, and hits home for the true realities of being unsteady. He told her that he was truly sorry that nobody around her was able to be there for her like she needed, but it didn’t change the fact that she was a truly amazing person. Whenever we go through unsteady periods, our inclination is to lean on those and rely on those who are immediately around us. This is especially true when we consider that we want to lean on those we are “supposed” to be able to lean on, such as family, husbands, wives, etc. The problem with this theory is that too often we are doing exactly what the character on “Queen Sugar” did, or what they do in the X Ambassadors “Unsteady” video. We want to rely on whoever is readily around, on those who are supposed to be there to help, and the more we rely on them, the more we won’t find what we need.

I know how her character feels; I know how it feels to be “unsteady” living with alcoholism in one’s life and unreliable people in relationships; and I also know what it feels like to just feel “unsteady,” period, out of place and uncertain of what the future holds. From living with that experience, let me take some time and give a word of perspective: When we are leaning on people who are unsteady, we are going to keep being unsteady. We are going to eventually fall down under the pressure. The more we pretend that we should be all right, the more unsteady we will get. The evidence: Who was it that was “Unsteady” in the X Ambassadors video? The answer: All of them. The man was unsteady as an alcoholic, the woman was unsteady because she was no longer able to turn her head to the problem and didn’t have the support she needed, and the child in the situation was unsteady because all of the adults in his life were that way, too.

We’re all a little unsteady; some of us more than others, some of us longer than others, and some of us for different reasons than others. We all need support, and it’s better to stop pretending that we don’t. It just means that as amazing as we might be underneath, we need to stop trying to get the support we desire from people who are unable to provide it. The moral of the blog, the video, the show: In those “unsteady” moments, be careful who you lean on.

© 2016 Lee Ann B Marino. All rights reserved.

Unsteady by X Ambassadors

Hold, hold on, hold onto me
‘Cause I’m a little unsteady
A little unsteady
Hold, hold on, hold onto me
‘Cause I’m a little unsteady
A little unsteady

Mama, come here
Approach, appear
Daddy, I’m alone
‘Cause this house don’t feel like home

If you love me, don’t let go
Whoa, if you love me, don’t let go

Hold, hold on, hold onto me
‘Cause I’m a little unsteady
A little unsteady
Hold, hold on, hold onto me
‘Cause I’m a little unsteady
A little unsteady

Mother, I know
That you’re tired of being alone
Dad, I know you’re trying
To fight when you feel like flying

But if you love me, don’t let go
Whoa, if you love me, don’t let go

Hold, hold on, hold onto me
‘Cause I’m a little unsteady
A little unsteady
Hold, hold on, hold onto me
‘Cause I’m a little unsteady
A little unsteady

Hold, hold on, hold onto me
‘Cause I’m a little unsteady
A little unsteady

Songwriters
NOAH G FELDSHUH, CASEY WAKELEY HARRIS, SAMUEL NELSON HARRIS, ADAM LEVINE, ALEXANDER JUNIOR GRANT

Published by
Lyrics © Peermusic Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group

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