Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Being Afraid and Caught- "Name" by the Goo Goo Dolls

I may add a post-script if necessary. We'll see. 

I've loved this song since it was new, and have always, always found it highly applicable to my life, because my life is often a lot of repeats of past mistakes or hurts, as well as a lot of the same feelings of emptiness, longing, and weariness- not to mention remembrance of past pains- brought up in it. 

And even though the moment passed me by
I still can't turn away

I have this bad habit of clamming up when it's probably in my best interest to actually speak up. This comes in all varieties and situations- I don't stand up for myself when being bullied or mistreated most of the time; I don't tell people, particularly men I'm attracted to or want to go into something deeper than a platonic relationship with, how I really feel (which means I'm also not always the best at telling my dearest friends just how dear they are to me, although just to clarify, I mean this about friends I love platonically); I hold back on expressing my true feelings when people ask me what they are, or when I should in order to prevent being hurt more (be it someone picking up on me being sad, or someone doing something that hurts and me not telling them)*; I apologize when either there's nothing to be sorry about, or it was the other person(s) that fucked up. Etc.

And yet, even as I'm letting the moment pass, I know I shouldn't. I should just yell or insult right back; I should say how much I care; I should speak up when someone's actions or words are unwittingly hurting me; I should be honest when someone is finally able to tell something's bothering me and just open up a little; I should stop acting like I have something to make up for, or like someone else screwing up around me is simply because they were around me, and not because maybe they did something wrong on their own. Etc. I know all this, so I often dwell on it. And I sometimes imagine/fantasize over and over again what it would have looked like if I had done the better thing, or what it would look like if  I did that the next time. I also sometimes make up fake conversations with people where I chew them out post-facto for whatever they had done or have been doing that causes me pain. I plan out and rehearse confessionals and speeches and random acts of love and appreciation for people that I never actually say or do. And it's comforting, sure, but also kind of sick, because I'm letting fantasies I concoct in my head make me feel better about reality.

Cause all the dreams you never thought you'd lose
Got tossed along the way

So along with the sort of "what if"asies brought up above, I also know I've indeed given up on a lot of dreams in my lifetime, and I'm not even thirty. And while some like, "BALLERINA!" and "FIRST WOMAN PRESIDENT!" or "PLAY ALL THE VIDEO GAMES!" were the kind of stereotypical, fantastical, nonsensical fantasies one would expect from a girly political nerd like myself; others were probably things more realistic and possible. Like being  a pro-bono lawyer, or being a high school English teacher, moving to Chicago, giving  free cello lessons to inner city youth... Those are some examples, and there are a lot more. At this point (and again, I realize I'm relatively young), given the path I'm on, I don't see any of that, or any of the other ones I haven't listed, happening. But, like  with the fantasies  of telling people off, I constantly dwell on these old pipe and  not-so-pipe dreams and wonder. 

And  letters that you never meant to send
Got lost or thrown away

This one is pretty literal. If you hadn't guessed from the first explanatory part, I write a lot of emails and letters of confession or telling-off that I never distribute to the intended party. I eventually delete the emails or rip up  the letters, of course. So those people never know the truth, and again, even when I should have told them, and had every fucking right to; and when concealing the truth kind of makes me a liar, too. EXAMPLES:

  • I never told a high school friend that the reason I stopped talking to her was because she was getting into drugs, promiscuity, and basically taking the steps into the arena of "white trash" that I refused to take (but easily could have). I let her think we just "grew apart" when I left for college and she stayed in Vegas getting wasted/high/arrested all the time. 
  • The guy that raped me still thinks I was cool with it and was "having a great time" because we had been on a date; and that I "just [didn't] think it would work out between us" as the reason I didn't want to talk to him again. I also haven't told the vast majority  of the people that knew him around here what he did, so they talk all nice and sweet as they reminisce about when he was still around, meanwhile I'm trying to avoid having a gorram panic attack as I remember how he pinned me down and... Sigh.
  • The person in my department  that told  everyone when I (willingly) lost my virginity never knew how much that hurt, and I probably will never tell them. I'll never trust them again, but they'll never know it. And I don't think they'll care (which kind of makes it worse). 
  • I had a great email for the dude that dropped me like a rotten bag of potatoes (literally, he practically threw me out of his car in front of my apartment) after I slept with him, turning all of the lines he had used on me back in his  face and using them as proof that he's a womanizing, sexist, douchbaggy bro that needs to grow up and get a life. Instead, I basically forgave him months later when he (over FB) asked me to. (I still haven't seen him since he dropped me off that time, though, just so we're clear.)

I had speeches and emails all set in all of those cases, but those people will never know.

Let me just say now that the fact that I'm planning on saving a post-script in case I need it is pretty fucking apropros. 

And now we're grown up orphans that never knew their names
We don't belong to no one, that's a shame
But you could hide beside me
Maybe  for a while
And I won't tell no one your name
I won't tell 'em your name

I take this as when applied just to myself, the feeling of not belonging or knowing precisely  where it is one belongs in the first place. The "hiding" part is sort of a hope that someone with a like sense of unbelonging could join me and we could basically be okay with not fitting in together, because we'd have each other. 

Scars are souvenirs you never lose
The past is never far

Well, that's pretty simple. I and everybody else have/ has a ton of personal baggage being carried around constantly. And a lot of things remind us of them. And I often relive some of what has hurt me in the past in those cycles and circumstances where I don't speak up- same story, different book. That's why it was so fucking easy for me to open with some general statements about it. I do it so often, it's like shampoo instructions. I lather, I rinse, and then, alas, keep repeating. And even if I don't repeat, I don't forget.

The only upside is that I do try to embrace the notion that all of the pain I have experienced before has made me a good, loyal, dependable, desirable person. I don't always succeed in this, but I at least try my best to believe it.

And did you lose yourself somewhere out there?
Did you get to be a star?
Don't it make you sad to know that life 
Is more than who we are?

I have a lot of regrets in my life. Not like I've, I dunno, run over a baby carriage or something. But I've hurt people by accident, even though that's "not me." A lot of times, it doesn't matter who you are on the inside, it's what you do that matters. And this especially upsets me because while I'm an activist at heart, my life right now is anything but one of promoting social justice and activism. Somewhere along  the way, I got caught up in the current and now I don't know where I am or where I'm going in this  direction. And it kills me.

You grew up way too fast
And now there's nothing to believe
And reruns  all become our history 

I did grow up too fast. Again, life was hard when I was little, and in a lot of ways has only been getting harder. My family life regressed from the American (wet) Dream to something out of a really fucking depressing movie nobody would want to watch because it would make them sadder than the end of Life is Beautiful or something. My family life is a tear-jerker that never gets better; it just gets worse. We went from laughter, movie nights, and board games to death, alcoholism  and abuse. It's just  too much for a kid  to handle without causing  some trauma and forcing some innocence to bleed out (sometimes literally).

So a part of me thinks the whole idea of "family" is bullshit. I crave one so much, but I'm afraid I won't be able to prevent the spiral of badness mine went through, and that I'd fuck up my spouse and kids way more than my parents and myself and my siblings have been fucked up.

A tired song keeps playing on a tired radio

I still want a family, though. I may be the experiential equivalent of ninety by now, but I still keep singing  the song of having a "good" life. The mechanism producing the music is worn  down and out-of-step, but it's still trying.

So the more optimistic thing to add, then, is that I'm like a vinyl record player. Kind of quaint and nifty in how awkward I am. And I hope to be appreciated in the same way- the way some people prefer the gritty sound of a vinyl, I hope someone can accept and appreciate me for my scars. I want to be loved for my flaws, not in spite of them- otherwise any sort of "love" between me and anyone else wouldn't work and eventually have to be ended. This goes for any relationship- there's a big difference between "tolerating" or "putting up with" something, versus actual acceptance. I want (and deserve) the latter.

And I won't tell no one your name
I won't tell 'em your name

But I rarely tell this part to anyone. This part about "because" rather than "in spite." I let people point out the tiniest imperfections in me and blow them way out of proportion in my own head. And I let the fear of my imperfections scaring people off rule me enough to not let my imperfections out. I don't name my deepest desires or hurts. I let them fester within me.

I think about you all the time
But I don't need the same
It's lonely where you are
Come back down
And I won't tell 'em your name

I think about this stuff a lot. Hence my ability to articulate it here. And even though the specific examples above are post-high school, I've been interpreting this song the same since I was a teenager, when applying it broadly.

Of course, I apply it specifically every time I blow it by not telling a dude I want to be with him until it's too late, or not even doing it at all. The first boy I ever loved (and I do think you can love and not be loved back, by the way), I turned some of the lines on how he was always pining for this other girl and such, and instead of the scars being about my family life, they were about the two of us and how I kept letting him kind of string me along. Of course, we were seventeen and eighteen at the time, so when I stupidly whispered that I loved him while hugging him goodbye in his car one night, I lost one of the best friends I'd ever had because I didn't tell him what I meant, and that I wasn't expecting or even really WANTED for him to say he loved me back; that I meant that since I loved him, I wanted him to be happy, and FUCK that other girl, he should look for someone else, and for crying out loud, I'd help him find her. And that it would have been awesome if he thought of me, but I'd be okay in the end, as long as he was happy. I never got to tell him that. I don't know if he knows or ever will know how sorry I am for losing his friendship, and how sad it makes me that I won't be there when he marries his fiancé.

So I guess this song works for me because it's, simplistically, about being afraid of what could happen, not letting the truth out, and constantly repeating the same behaviors and thus getting caught in the same emotional shooting grounds over and over again. 

*I'm doing it right now- saying to a friend that changing their plans on me is "totally okay" via text message (plans we've had for nearly two months by now). But I'm actually crying a little because I could really use the companionship right now because of what inspired me to use this song and write this post in the fucking first place. I dig my own grave so bloody much... 

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