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Meaning of ‘Wading’ by ‘Jhené Aiko’

Released: 2014

Deeply immersed in the color and essence of emotion, Jhené Aiko’s “Wading” encapsulates a woman’s internal struggle between love, self-identity, and patience. It sketches the portrait of an individual who’s progressively growing tired and blue, wading in the water of expectations, while also conjuring strength to assert her worth and value in a relationship, even bracing the possibility of moving on.

The lyrics begin with the line “Picture me rolling out in the open”, a bold statement signifying independence and intent, yet it’s juxtaposed with an underlying hope that this act provokes attention and desire from the other individual. The verbal image of “wading” that Jhené perpetuates through the song is a powerful metaphor for feelings of emotional stagnation and anticipation, introduced in standout lines like “Should I be waiting for you? Don’t keep me waiting. I will turn blue”.

Swaying between hope and despair, she declares in a unique league: “I am not perfect”. By circling back to this self-acknowledgement multiple times, Jhené urges the need for self-acceptance, expressing the ruin that an idealized self-image can bring to relationships. The phrase “I would never let you think I was more than this” suggests that she is being genuine and real, refusing to let her partner believe she is something beyond human with flaws and imperfections.

The blue motif reappears, painting a picture of her prolonged patience, or perhaps the suffocation she’s enduring. “‘Til I turn blue” serves to symbolize the extreme she’s willing to reach, a sense of self-sacrifice and hint at the potentially toxic dynamics of the relationship.

When she sings, “And I will do it, I’ll do it. I’ll prove it, I’ve proved it. I’ve proven my love”, she continues to grapple with the paradox of wanting to prove her love yet wanting the reciprocation she feels she deserves. This duality is prominent throughout the track, suggesting that love, in its intricate nature, call out for persistence yet calls in the importance of self-worth and respect.

From start to finish, Jhené’s “Wading” tells the tale of an emotional journey, one dipped in self-realization, heartfelt patience, and the inevitable toll it can take. It’s a story of a woman grasping her worth, acknowledging her flaws, and daring to stand her ground in the milieu of an emotionally drawn-out relationship.

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