Dear Martha: 'I Love You Martha's Vineyard, but You're Bringing Me Down'

The struggle to love what's actually there, not what you hoped might be, and isn't.


Dear Martha, 

It's been one of those sweet 'n' sour seasons, (emphasis on the sour). My friends and family are begging me to cheer up and start looking on the bright side of things but my daily life here on Martha's Vineyard is just plain bringing me down.  The trouble? I love MV, hence the sweet 'n' sour element of the conundrum. 

Does this ever happen to you? Does it happen to any other sane people on this island? Am I the only one who is the constant Negative Nancy and then every morning wakes up happy to be here? I must be crazy. Advise, please, soon, help, thank you. 

   – A case of the Bittersweets

Dear Bittersweet,

Disclaimer: I know you sent this in a few weeks back. I apologize for not getting back sooner, if it's any consolation, you've been on my mind a lot.  I admit I didn't respond because well, I was at a loss for words because I'm suffering from the same case of the perpetual sweet-and-sours.

But something very timely happened the other day...

I was spending my usual day in and out of the Oak Bluffs Library (they will soon give me a name tag, I'm there so much), doing my usual walk to my usual table when a book caught my eye.  It might have been the striking cover that got me at first but then I read the title, "Paris I Love You but You're Bringing Me Down" by Rosencrans Baldwin. And finally I knew I needed to answer your question (and my own).

I flipped thorough the pages and smiled and it hit me, we have a Paris on our hands. A quick synopsis of the book goes like this:

A man remembers his time in Paris as a boy on a family vacation and since that time is a self-proclaimed Francophile. Making it his life's mission to live in that dreamy city as some point down the road, he does it with a new job and a wife in tow.  The real life Paris is not the one of his dreams.  Life in the city strips away infatuation and what's left is a black and white relationship. His American optimism though allows him to fall in love with the real Paris that no one writes romantic novels about, the grittiness and all. In the end it's still a love story but not the one that was expected. 

Long-winded, sorry. 

The last few lines in the book read: "But that was the thing. I couldn't figure out how to say goodbye. I would not – not to Bruno or any of them. Saying goodbye to Paris was something a person did when he was dying. Otherwise, Paris was forever a one day soon." (Baldwin)

Martha's Vineyard, the every day Martha's Vineyard, is not all the things we read in the socialite blogs, travel books and fancy home magazines. Martha's Vineyard is a place that needs to be loved for what it really is, and that is 100% a matter of your own perspective.

Expectations will always let you down, take it all away and find joy in what is left. The grass is always greener on the other side but how about watering your own grass?

Bittersweet, note I am saying all this in black and white because I myself need to heed this advice. I need to see the joy in the ordinary, without that our lives are just one disappointment after the next. 

The book, "Paris I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down" might be the perfect medicine, but I have it for the next two weeks, so get in line. It'll be worth the wait. 

And if you hate me now for all this cheesy advice,

...and you still feel the love/hate with our tease of an island,

...and the amazing meteor shower last night didn't cause you to fall back in love... then it's time for a vacation. 

But, I dare you to stay away for too long.  


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