Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Just Press Play

Have you ever heard a song and thought 'I should have written that!'? Songs which express exactly what you are feeling at the time can often be therapy. Songs can narrate the moments of the comedy, drama or tragedy in our lives. Some of my favorite songs remind me of the best and worst times of my life and paint a perfect picture. There is a song for every occasion and mood. Below are some songs that narrate parts of my life.

Bittersweet - Big Head Todd & the Monsters

She says, "I just might leave tomorrow."
He says, "Tomorrow never comes."
So we'll just learn to love our sorrow.
I'll love you tender as you're sleeping.
I'll love you bitter through the day.

My last girlfriend in college and I broke up just before I graduated. Like most relationships it had started out as a new and exciting experience. The longer it lasted the more things took a turn for the worse. Because of our age and the place we were both at we had to make a decision to move forward or let it go. She was leaving for a new job in another state and I had no idea where I was moving to. I had gone as far as to visit the city with her to investigate job opportunities. Unfortunately, my attraction to her was waning and she noticed. At one time she made a comment about being happier with someone else and she did not like my response. I told her that if she wanted to be with someone else it was ok, but that meant we were done. I am not one to try to convince someone to be with me if they don't want to. Of course, the relationship dissolved. We wanted different things at the time and our contrasting backgrounds influenced us heavily. She came from a family of macho country men that did not share their emotions because they saw it as weakness. I did not want to settle and wonder if there was more out there for me. Sleep may be your best escape from a declining relationship but whatever problems exist will still confront you when you wake. I told her what she saw as a weakness in me someone else would see as strength. It was a mutual break up and we both knew it was the best thing for both of us. We remained friends and she is now married with a kid. A college buddy and I went to visit her the weekend before her wedding. The guy she was marrying was perfect for her. I always want the best for women I have dated, even if things did not work out for us.

Black - Pearl Jam

I know someday you'll have a beautiful life,
I know you'll be a sun in somebody else's sky, but why
Why, why can't it be, can't it be mine

I dated an accountant for a while. I was instantly attracted to her because she was beautiful, extremely sweet and a lot of fun. I thought it would be good to try to date outside of the usual artistic type. I was self-employed at the time and was going through a rough patch financially and it really crushed me. I felt inferior since I couldn't even afford to take my girlfriend out to dinner or just generally spoil her the way I wanted to. I was a struggling photographer with an extremely time consuming art publication. I really felt like a loser and beat myself up mentally. I started to pull away from her because she couldn't understand where I was at and I found myself unable to explain it. I dug myself into depression and questioned everything about myself. By the time I tried to open up to her for emotional support it was too late. It really crushed me. I felt I ruined a great thing. We remained friends even though it was very hard on me. She had a sister that was married with the American standard: nice house, successful husband, and two kids. That is what she wanted and I was unable to provide that due to my lack of successful career, financial stress and no interest in kids. She married the next guy she dated. He got what she wanted, including two kids from his previous marriage. I called it the ‘just add water marriage’. My next girlfriend and I meet her and her husband for dinner once. He was a nice guy and they were very much in love. I am happy she found what she was looking for. For a short time I had wished it could have been me but space and time allows you amazing clarity.

Dirty Little War - Will Hoge
take this tiny band of gold, for no more will it shine.
and everything that once was ours, is now just yours and mine.
so i'll take back my heart and i will give you back your name.
in 90 days, a judge downtown will take back 20 years of pain.
and don't be sorry 'cause i've heard that all before.
please don't try to justify 'cause nobody wins
in this dirty little war, this dirty little war.

Great Divide - Vertical Horizon
I didn't know you and you didn't know me
Broken branches and a family tree
Blown over this wind is wide
A lone loner's, and our great divide

And I know it's not forever
This time it's not the same
Why can't we live together
And share more than a name

No one wins in divorce. No matter what the reasons for demise are, no one has a pretty divorce. It is never easy and never fun. To dissect a life together is a very ugly event. When I was married we were together for only five months. The divorce took eight months to resolve. From dishes to dogs we separated what we had briefly built together. She left and she never came back. The emotional and financial recovery took me nearly three years. It is really hard to believe I duped myself into that situation. The last I heard she was in her twelfth rehab. I have only seen or spoken with her once since she left and that was at divorce court. She has tried to initiate contact with me many times over the years. I have no interest in opening the door to that part of my past. I can only assume she wants to be forgiven. She will have to work that one out on her own. It was the most devastating occurrence in my life other than losing my best friend of fifteen years to brain cancer.

You Wanted More - Tonic
I don’t know when I got bitter
Love is sure better when it's gone
Because you wanted more
More than I could give
More than I could handle
And a life that I can't live

You wanted more
More than I could bare
More than I could offer
And a love that isn't there

Bent - Matt Nathanson

If I bent like you said was best
Would that change a thing?
If I spent myself what’s left
Would you still leave me here?

Now that I am thirty-eight and have been dating for many years I have discovered that honesty is still the best policy. As much as it hurts to tell someone it is over, it feels good to be honest and explain why. I have never broken up with a woman without their best interest in mind. Dating is a process and I think we often take the failure of a relationship very personally. After my divorce, I was very in tune with what I was unable to give emotionally. After a period of losing myself in taking care of others I took my life back. Unfortunately, I overcompensated. I went through a very selfish stage and I briefly dated different women for almost two years. I justified my actions by stating up front to them that I was not looking for a relationship and that I just wanted to have fun. When they wanted more I broke it off. I was rude and inconsiderate. I have apologized for hurting their feelings. This was not a period I am proud of. I ended these relationships for the right reasons although I had done it incorrectly. I knew they deserved more and I was not going to be able to give them that. I feel honored to be forgiven and that they still think highly enough of me to call me a friend.

Breakeven - The Script
I'm still alive but I'm barely breathing
Just prayed to a god that I don't believe in
Cos I got time while she got freedom
Cos when a heart breaks no it don't break even

Her best days will be some of my worst
She finally met a man that’s gonna put her 1st
While I'm wide awake she's no trouble sleeping
Cos when a heart breaks no it don't breakeven

What am I suppose to do when the best part of me was always you

What am I supposed to say when I'm all choked up and you're ok
I'm falling to pieces

I’ve been broken up with as many times as I have done it myself. It is difficult no matter which side you are on. I think the majority of the time one person makes a decision and knows it is coming long before the other does. Sometimes the lack of communication blindsides you with a swift ending to a relationship. At the time, we feel hurt and think they have it so much easier. Sometimes we have to be direct and honest and that leaves us wounded and defensive. We all grieve in different ways but no matter how you do it you still must have closure. Most often you must complete this task on your own. There always seems to be unanswered questions. Missing someone that was such a huge part of your life can be a struggle. Seeing them with someone new can easily send you into a tail spin. Replaying events and conversations in your head until you drive yourself crazy doesn’t help. I have thrown myself into work, physical activities, spending all my time with friends or family. Music has been my saving grace many times. I have spent time alone with my music therapy and it seems to be my best coping tool. Other than writing, I can escape into the music feeling the waves of the guitar pushing me and the vocals speaking to me. It sometimes allows me to get outside of my own head. It always helps to know that others have been in the same shoes and that the pain is just temporary.

Consider This a Warning - Anna Nalick
Consider this a warning
Cause I'll start another fight
And you'll say its all alright
I'll wait for the day when you find I'm too much for you, baby
So lay your hands over me
And feel what you only see
But don't bother wasting your time if you're trying to change me

Many times what we find attractive about someone becomes the very thing we eventually hate. I know that we are often attracted to the wild side of others. Maybe they are more spontaneous, outgoing or intense than us. Opposites attract since gravitate to what we are not. I had never rolled from one relationship into another and in hindsight there are many reasons I had not done so before. It is very difficult to start something knew when you have no previous closure. It is better to wait until you have healed before you walk wounded into something new. She actually gave me a verbal warning. She told me that I might not be able to handle all the baggage she brought to the relationship. I was carrying plenty of my own at this time so I felt we were on a level playing field. Of course, I did not heed her warning. It was a wild ride with never a dull moment. But in the end she was right. It was too much for me. My mom told me, ‘You can’t change people but you can change your reaction to people.’ I did and we had a difficult break up. At least she knew herself well enough to give a warning. Follow your gut and trust your instincts. It is easier to be dragged down than to lift someone else up. A life boat won’t save a sinking ship. Again, we are still friends and I wish her the best. We all deserve to be happy.

Different - Acceptance
I'm taking a chance, this could be different.
This could be all I'm waiting for.
Taking a chance, this could be different.
This could be all I'm waiting for.

Sometimes I fantasize about the future. In my mind I often see amazing possibilities, then expectations cause doubts. I get scared of failure and crush the hope I just had. If I meet someone right now that I felt very strongly about it would be the first time in ten years. I would love to experience an amazing instant connection. Unfortunately, the high of possibilities leads quickly to the low of doubt. I tend to second guess myself and it causes conflict. I can only compare it to a high of performing to a sold out arena. You can chase that high daily off stage but it will never be as pure as that time on stage. Due to the past I have sore spots and it is not easy to make it through the maze without touching on the past. There are too many variables in relationships to predict or control. By not asking someone out, you hold on to hope since you can’t fail if you don’t try. As long as I have been dating, it never seems to get easier. It is like the more I know about myself, the more I care, the more I want, the harder it is to put myself out there. No one wants to feel like a fool. I get nervous when I am really into someone. Even a phone call can be difficult. If I don’t say anything at all then I can’t sound stupid. If I am not that into her it is easier because there is nothing to lose. It is very confusing, as if I am constantly ending where I began. Eventually you have to just act without thinking. If things are meant to happen, they will. If you are true to yourself, then you can’t go wrong.

During the mid-seventies I spent summers travelling the country in a Volkswagen van with my parents listening to Peter, Paul & Mary. Christopher Cross seeped from the speakers daily as we rode the bus to and from junior high school. Live, Pearl Jam and Blind Melon's first records take me back to late nights at my college radio station.
Just a few months ago I spent a weekend on Kentucky Lake listening to Sublime as we danced on the water. Music burns memories in my mind connecting the past visually, audibly and emotionally. My mind is a jukebox of magical experiences playing infinitely.

The heart is pure. The mind conflicts the heart. Press random and let the music play.

By Trey Mitchell

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