Young Fathers – See How

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
4/12/2018

CONTACT PERSON
Dana Miles Frost
Chief Joy Officer
Forced Joy Project
313-400-9XXX
danamilesfrost@gmail.com
http://www.instagram.com/forcedjoyproject

DANA MILES FROST IS MOVING TO THE MIDDLE OF BUMFUCK NOWHERE

–Detroit, Michigan

Dana Miles Frost has officially decided to burn it all down.  Commencing 5/1/2018, Mrs. Frost will be leaving her job as Communications Director at the Belle Isle Conservancy to chase her lifelong passion of being a poor, dirty vagabond in the middle of the woods. Mrs. Frost will be living next door to a cranky old woman, whom she plans on driving batshit crazy as she schemes up various ways of stealing her familial home from underneath her.

Currently, Mrs. Frost feels far away from the person she once was and hopes that this personal shake-up will result in her finding the peace and happiness that once comprised her life.  When asked why she was moving hundreds of miles away from everyone she loved, Mrs. Frost replied, “Are you fucking serious?  Just look at my life!”

This isn’t the first time Mrs. Frost has run away from her demons/chased her dreams.  In 2006, Dana dropped everything she knew to move to Detroit and be as far away from her pain/comfort level as possible.  Ever since then, she’s been hiding in stairwells and doing whatever she pleases…because this is her life, dammit, and nobody’s going to tell her what to do!!!

ABOUT DANA MILES FROST

Dana Miles Frost is a flighty, dreamy, scared little girl trapped in a fully-grown woman’s body.  Tall, thin and with great hair, Mrs. Frost is a varying juxtaposition: strong, bold, and wicked-smart…yet somehow simultaneously fragile as glass.  Acutely self-aware, Mrs. Frost works on bettering herself in every form…except for her healthy sense of pride, which she tends to cradle like an unborn child.  Stubborn as a mule, Mrs. Frost will argue with you for no reason, in a way that somehow keeps you coming back for more. In her spare time, Mrs. Frost likes to drink wine, talk shit, and not return text messages in a timely manner like a normal human being.

dana

For more information, see Defending Your Life’s website at www.defendingyourlife.us

See How
Someday I’ll be a star that’s shining bright in the sky
I’m givin’ up on you bastards…

Give me lovers so I may have my pleasures
and not lose my heart…in this squalor

I’ve never seen wicked ones face their fears
I’ve always seen brave men filled with tears
The older you get
The colder you get

Say yeah!

Sometimes when I feel remorseful
And I wish I could’ve lived a life more less normal
So typical
Over critical

Empty my body just to feel the love
What’s the price of the light when you’re stuck in the shadows
Don’t let me know
See how it goes

How
See how
(See how it goes)

Emilia Clarke – The Rastafarian Targaryen

My Dearest Dana,

Last summer, when Game of Thrones was at its liveliest, I found myself taking a “Which G.O.T. Character Are You” quiz…and getting the result of Jorah Mormont.

mormont

Jorah Mormont.  I can see the comparisons…and live with them too.  Jorah was the former lord of House Mormont, only to be exiled from his homeland due to a dark and grim situation that he holds a tremendous amount of guilt over.

Okay, so maybe I’m exiling myself, here…and maybe the divorce/Brad’s death doesn’t produce too many layers of guilt anymore…but here I stand, a day before I leave everything I know and love.  This glove doesn’t fit 100% perfectly…but it’s happening, nonetheless.

You, of course, are Daenerys Targaryen, although not for the reasons I suppose you’d like to highlight.

“I spent my life in foreign lands. I’ve been chained and betrayed, raped and defiled. Do you know what kept me standing through all those years in exile?  Faith.  Not in any gods.  Not in myths and legends.  In myself.” – Daenerys Targaryen

A timid, naïve girl mismanaged by her own family, Dany overcomes dire obstacle after obstacle no matter what!  She’s resolute in her own manner, making countless tough decisions on her own…while not being afraid to ask her trusted council for advice/help whenever necessary.  She’s stubborn, angry, and impulsive to a fault…yet underneath it all, Daenerys is equal parts mindful and compassionate.

“Half the Targaryens went mad, didn’t they?  What’s the saying?  ‘Every time a Targaryen is born the gods flip a coin.'”- Cersei Lannister

Danerys and Jorah have a complicated, multi-dimensional relationship.  It goes without saying that Brad was concerned about your well-being.  On more than a few occasions, we talked about how you’d need assistance of some kind, may it be financial, emotional, or mental.  You were to be living a brand new life, one you didn’t request…and after he passed, I felt this innate obligation to be there and help you adapt to your new life as Dana-leesi of the Dothraki.  That feeling always struck me as surreal, because up until that point, I truly believe I didn’t know the first thing about the real Dana.  We just weren’t that close.  In many ways, even though I’m good at being mindful and present…I felt like a fraud, spying on the insides of your pain.  I’d no Varsys or King Robert to report back to…but that’s all mute, because it didn’t take me long to learn that you possessed a heart which, even when completely broken, would be invaluable to me getting back on my two feet.  Last year was such a blur for you, I don’t know if you even realize how much an impact you made on my life.  Honestly, you’re the only person I’m scared to leave behind.  I don’t know how we deal with that.  Maybe I should start calling you more instead of texting you random pictures of my dinner!

IMG_20180412_122946_01

That being said, if I dig deep enough into my soul, I know the truth to the above anxiety.  Danerys and Jorah parted ways twice, being flung halfway across Westeros and the Narrow Sea.  A connection that deep though, no amount of distance could cease both of them from being intimately flung back into each other’s lives.  Time has always been kind to me.  I’ll see you again in person sooner than later…

I find that a lot of people fixate on the kind of love Danerys and Jorah share…but in the end, they can’t envision it as anything besides physical or romantic.  I don’t know if that rings true to you, but from my vantage point, you’ve no idea how many people have asked me if we’re dating…or at bare minimum, fucking.  In the beginning, I used to get angry about it…or defensive….or super-explanative…but after a while, I just stopped caring how others defined our love…and just let it be.  I love you, our relationship, and will carry you both in my heart as I traverse the globe.

Dana, just like Jorah protects and believes in Danerys, I shall forevermore protect…and more importantly believe in who you are and what you are capable of being.  This is not the end, just a chapter in our lives where we happen to not exist as close to one another as we’d ultimately desire.  I don’t know where either of us will end up…but I do know that if the Iron Throne is one big metaphor for happiness, I’ll do whatever’s in my control to ensure that tiny ass of yours gets to sit on it.

Iron_throne

Your friend forever,

Suneil

The Rastafarian Targaryen
Game of what, now?
I’m a Rastafarian Targaryen
I got some dragons and they’re
Very scary and…
Been here and there and then I’ve
Been everywhere again
Rastafarian Targa…
Call me Daenerys Targaryen
When you wanna reach me
And if you feel the love
Then you can call me Khaleesi
Got so many names
I’m Queen of the Andals
Queen of the Meereen
Yeah, you can kiss m’ sandals cause…

John Grant – Glacier

My Dearest Dana,

In my runic lil’ world, music and nature go hand-in-hand.  Many find this downright bizarre, because there’s a common, reflective peace that emerges when one’s completely in-tune and connected to the great outdoors.  Music seems counter-intuitive to that connectedness, almost bordering on disruptive.  A bird chirping, a leaf rustling, a breeze blowing, a river babbling – I love interfacing with it all…but for me, there’s something infinitely more magical and life-affirming when I can find the right musical soundtrack to compliment it all.  It’s pretty much why I always had headphones on during our Big Sur hikes.  If I can correctly nail down the mood, time slows down and I immediately surrender all control to something bigger than my selfish, ego-driven existence.  I succumb to Mother Earth.

The following John Grant song (the same John Grant that started this blog) has been playing nonstop on my phone since I discovered it in the recesses of my music library while wandering the Redwoods.  Originally composed to be an ethereal gay-rights anthem, for me, Glacier produced a motivational clarity that helped me examine the pain I’d been carrying throughout 2017, while simultaneously generating enough hope within my shattered lil’ soul to believe there’s a better path for me in 2018 – one that might not align with what everyone else says I should be doing with my life (Find a girlfriend!  Buy another house! Go back to philanthropy!), but nonetheless, is the right path I need to be on for now.

I wanted to deliver this song to you yesterday…and who knows, it might take on a completely different context seeing the heartbreaking news you were forced to deal with last night…but I’m hoping Glacier will resonate within you the same level of comfort and assurance it did for me.   If you could do me the favor of humoring my ways, wait until you have your earbuds firmly placed into your canals before hitting play.  John Grant has dueted this song with everyone from Sinead O’Connor to The Villagers to even Kylie Minogue…but the original recording is the best…and it won’t work its magic unless you surrender all control to it.

Love,
Suneil

Glacier
You just want to live your life
The best way you know how
But they keep on telling you
That you are not allowed

They say you are sick
That you should hang your head in shame
They are pointing fingers
And want you to take the blame

There are days when people are
So nasty and convincing
They say things beyond belief
That sting and leave you wincing

And to boot they say their words
Come straight down from above
And they really seem to think
That what they’re doing counts as love

This pain
It is a glacier moving through you
And carving out deep valleys
And creating spectacular landscapes
And nourishing the ground
With precious minerals and other stuff
So, don’t you become paralyzed with fear
When things seem particularly rough

Don’t you pay them fuckers as they say no never mind
They don’t give two shits about you. It’s the blind leading the blind
What they want is commonly referred to as theocracy
And what that boils down to is referred as hypocrisy

Don’t listen to anyone; get answers on your own
Even if it means that sometimes you feel quite alone
No one on this planet can tell you what to believe
People like to talk a lot, and they like to deceive

This pain
It is a glacier moving through you
And carving out deep valleys
And creating spectacular landscapes
And nourishing the ground
With precious minerals and other stuff
So, don’t you become paralyzed with fear
When things seem particularly rough

The Beatles – In My Life

My Dearest Dana,

When’s the best time to write a Ditty?  When you’re curled up in bed, feverish, dense, and absolutely dying from food poisoning, that’s when!  And away we gooooooo….

food

I’ve this intense joy, this passion, which defines who I am.  This Love, it often makes me come across as irrational and foolish…but frankly, I learnt a long time ago to stop caring what others deemed was an “appropriate” amount of enchantment to own.  I simply dance to the beat of my ever-pulsing heart and leave it at that.

For the longest time, I dedicated all my delectation to Melanie, who eagerly soaked it up.  The fun surprises, impromptu vacations, Suneil gifts, the thoughtfulness – who wouldn’t want  all that?  It was one of the few shining attributes that made me a semi-decent boyfriend, fiancé, and finally husband.  Alas, as our union dimmed, so did my joy.  Maybe it was the loss (or more aptly, the absence of a shared true love), maybe it was the pain…either way, a darkness took residence inside me, shaking me so fiercely that it literally rearranged my core emotional make-up.  All that bliss and joy got eclipsed by selfishness, moroseness, and acrimony.  (One vital note: it didn’t ERASE my joy, just eclipsed it.  Many assume I’ve entirely lost who I once was.  Not true.  The felicity that I used to openly share is still inside me…it just got overshadowed by the blackness and bleak, snuffed out every time it surfaced to the top.)

Time heals all wounds.  That trope is trite, cliched, and eye-rolling…but it doesn’t stop it from harboring truth.  In retrospect, I don’t think I’m as miserable as I was in 2016.  Like everything chaotically life-altering, as the months rolled forward, I found shards of my old self floating back to me – in waves, of course.  Granted, those shards were definitely not the same, exact version of the Suneil I once knew…but I recognized pieces of me in them…and as such, I tried my best to embrace them and everything that once made me complete.  More often than not, I failed at this, but sometimes I got it right.  And on those rare occasions that I succeeded, life felt better than bearable.  It felt hopeful.

empath

EXCUSE ME.  I HAD TO GO VOMIT INTO MY WASTE PAPER BASKET BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT YOU DO WHEN SELDEN STANDARD TRIES TO KILL YOU WITH IMPROPERLY COOKED TROUT.

I’ve a confession to make…  As I prepare to leave this city, I’m carefully detaching from everyone I care for.  It’s something that has to be done if I’m ever going to prepare myself for the next stage of my life.  Detroit is my home (and yes, as long as I don’t get murdered or thrown in some Bolivian jail, I’m sure I’ll be back here permanently in 2019), but if I’m to blossom into a better version of my present self, I have to let everything comfortable go.  I’m going to miss everyone – especially you – but I can’t keep stewing in my grief and taking the easy way out.  Sometimes I wake up in the morning, look at the $40 broken-down futon that I rest upon in my partially-unfinished basement, and think to myself, Suneil, you’ve finally built your makeshift tomb.  You could spend the rest of your life down here, alone and comfortably numb.  Wouldn’t that be the greatest?!   ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

There’s a strange juxtaposition occurring here, because while I write on this blog a lot about misery, grief, and abject loneliness, like I said earlier, it doesn’t erase the inherent ecstasy that resides within my heart.  It’s still there…and it cannot be contained.  Sure, the darkness muffles it from time-to-time, but like a boiling kettle, it doesn’t take much for it to bubble up and shoot out, often sporadically and without my consent.  I tend to not give much thought to it all and let whatever happens happen…but I’ve found that my Love can lead to trouble, especially in the dating world where it’s often interpreted as being “In-Love”.  There’ve been more than a few times where I’ve indirectly led suitors into becoming emotionally attached simply because I gave them attention or Love that they’ve been so desperately seeking from the outside world.  This is equal parts my fault as it is their own…and while I don’t talk about this often, the women who’ve fallen head-over-heels for me this past year are personal lessons that I must re-learn over and over again as I attempt to get a better grasp on modern dating.

Since we’re on the topic of confessions, here’s another…  I must confess that while our friendship has grown to become one of the greatest gifts of this craptastic year, sometimes when my Love bubbles to the top, I tend to shove it into your (currently) gaping black hole of a heart, mainly because I know I don’t have to worry about it being misinterpreted.  HARD TRUTH: It’s easy to share your Love with someone who often feels nothing save for her own grief.  You don’t expect anything from me…nor do you anticipate.  Yes, that might be the foundation to one royally dysfunctional friendship, but it’s reality and I couldn’t be more grateful for you allowing my weirdness into your life.  ANYTHING to get through this fucking year…

Don’t get me wrong, that’s not the sole motivation behind why I share my Love with you.  There are plenty of net-positive reasons, and since I just shared with you one that’s dysfunctional, here’s one that isn’t:  Dana, even though you listen to bad modern folk rock, watch college football, and like to wear plaid, you’re still an incredibly bright and amazing woman that deserves joy.  And happiness.  AND NOT LATER ON, YOU DESERVE IT RIGHT NOW.

So here you go.  I don’t always get these things right, but here’s your Christmas present.  Really, it isn’t a Christmas present, because I could care less about the fucking holidays – especially this year – but it’s an excuse to shove a little more of my Love into that black hole of yours, while hopefully eliciting within you a tiny slice of joy.  Sure, it won’t solve (or resolve) anything in your fucked-up life…but that’s not the point now, is it?  One can be absolutely miserable and slightly happy at the same time – this I speaketh from experience!

dana3

In our own, specific ways, next week shall be the worst…but for right now, as I lay dying on this futon, filled to the brim with 100 degree fevers and nauseousness, my joy is bubbling up, so deal with it, chica.  I’m grateful for you being my friend and allowing our bond to grow.  And as always, this is probably helping me more than it is you, so thanks for being there for me, even when you think you aren’t.

Love,
Suneil

In My Life
There are places I remember,
All my life though some have changed.
Some forever not for better,
Some have gone and some remain.
All these places have their moments,
With lovers and friends I still can recall.
Some are dead and some are living,
In my life I’ve loved them all.

But of all these friends and lovers,
There is no one compares with you.
And these memories lose their meaning,
When I think of love as something new.
Though I know I’ll never lose affection,
For people and things that went before.
I know I’ll often stop and think about them,
In my life I love you more.

Though I know I’ll never lose affection,
For people and things that went before.
I know I’ll often stop and think about them,
In my life I love you more.

Bob Dylan – Like A Rolling Stone

My Dearest Dana,

For an individual psychotherapist, Bruce The Goose really doesn’t feel like one, at least in the traditional sense.  When I first  started visiting him, we discussed the usual surface-level problems, most of them having to do with my family, marriage, or work.  But as the months pushed on, I found myself repeating the same ol’ stories and headaches, avoiding the topics I desperately wanted to discuss with an objective professional.  Often I found myself dancing around the topic of existentialism – not from a place of Suneil’s Having An Identity Crisis…more from a place of what it means to be truly mindful and cognizant.   One of the more headier themes we discussed in today’s session (that I didn’t know how to elegantly relate to you at Craft Work and will probably do a poor job of transcribing down into this blog post) is the notion that we’re all playing  flimsy, socially-inflicted caricatures of our true selves.

Most naturally assume that people like Jim Carrey…or you…or me…are mentally losing it, either from battling forms of simple depression or a complicated, existential dread.  That couldn’t be farther from reality.  The truth, I believe, is that we’re all birthed into a society which, from day one, molds us into static versions of ourselves, based solely on assigned (or self-prescribed) traits/characteristics.

Like I said, I’ll probably not do a very good job of clearly explaining myself, here.  Let me try and use an example…

Last year, I’d a very close neighbor ask me, Suneil, who are you?   The way I constantly like to reinvent myself, there were way too many versions of me for him to contemplate…and as a result, it made it quite taxing for him to relate to me.  Was I,  Suneil Singh, the Nonprofit Executive Director?  Or was I, Suneil Singh, the languishing screenwriter?   Was I, Suneil Singh, the successful real estate developer?  Maybe I was just Suneil, the lazy, pot-smokin’ bum?  Or the sexually active philanderer?  Or the  contemplative, kind introvert?  For him, I’d to specifically and solely be one of them, so which one was it?  I replied that I was all of those people, but really none of them at all – a timeworn and threadbare Buddhist turn of phrase that I wholeheartedly believe to be true.

He rolled his eyes and switched topics.

I normally don’t talk about this stuff with most (and refrained from going deep with the Potters/Bracken earlier tonight), mainly because my views come across as wildly vexing to those who find immense comfort in labels and roles.  Yet, for some reason, I can sense that as a result of your grief, this is something you’re actively struggling with (if it’s not something you’ve always had on your mind).  I’ve heard you say multiple times before that you feel completely lost without Brad – but without stepping out of bounds here, I think the deeper quandary here is much more simpler: you just feel completely lost.  Your grief’s struck a chord within you, clarifying that you’re no longer the version of “Dana Frost” you once were circa 2006-2016. The Thunder Stealer.  The Closet Confessional Fashionista.  The Model D writer.  The happy-go-lucky, in-love wife.  Like it or not, those roles you played were all temporary in nature…and as life had it, this often-foreboding universe stole them away from you without a second regard.

But without extensively lingering in the pain and sorrow, all this begets a larger question…if those prior versions of yourself were always meant to be temporary roles, then who’s the real Dana Frost?

Enter the wonderful world of Sociology.  Karl Marx said that we all wear social/character masks, based on how we choose to react to our surroundings.  Erving Goffman  philosophized that when we come in contact with others, we attempt to control the impression they have of us by changing our settings, appearances, or mannerisms.   The end goal of this finely-tuned charade is to gain acceptance from others through carefully conducted performances.

We do it all the time.  Hell, remember how weirdly positive and thankful I got at Craft Work when Claire popped into our night?  Frankly, as nice and beautiful as she is, I really didn’t want to talk to her in that specific moment.  Alas, I’ve been trained by my parents, my peers, and my society to hide my true feelings, BE POLITE, and create a nice moment of small talk…because well, that’s what she expects and that’s the right thing to do.

And so I put on a mask and played the role of a good lil’ Suneil.

Once again, it begets the question.  If these are merely masks we’re wearing, then who is the real Suneil Singh?  Who’s the real Dana Frost?

I don’t have the answer to that question, at least one that can easily fit in this blog post.  I do know this much though:  it’s scary, when one strips away all those comfortable masks and lives fully in their own skin.  (And, as you can tell from a year’s worth of direct experience, it’s scary and awkward for everyone else watching you go through it.)  But, the thing you might not be seeing here is that with every single one of your FB posts, podcasts or blog entries, you’re slowly uncovering the real Dana, the one who’s willfully choosing to live a life of true authenticity.   And more than ever, when someone comments on how “wise” or “inspirational” your words are to them, yes, part of that reaction is because that’s what they’re supposed to say when playing the role of “Dana Sympathizer”…but it’s also because you’re putting your heart out there and connecting with them on an extremely sacred level – a level deeper than I think you’ve ever publicly gone before…or even given yourself credit for.

If any of this sounds condescending, it’s not meant to be.  Just know this, even though it might feel like your grief is causing you to go insane, YOU ARE NOT CRAZY.  You’re just choosing to grow more self-aware with every waking moment, that’s all.

Love,

Suneil

Like A Rolling Stone
Once upon a time you dressed so fine
You threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn’t you?
People’d call, say, “Beware doll, you’re bound to fall”
You thought they were all kiddin’ you
You used to laugh about
Everybody that was hangin’ out
Now you don’t talk so loud
Now you don’t seem so proud
About having to be scrounging for your next meal

How does it feel
To be without a home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

You’ve gone to the finest school all right, Miss Lonely
But you know you only used to get juiced in it
And nobody has ever taught you how to live on the street
And now you find out you’re gonna have to get used to it
You said you’d never compromise
With the mystery tramp, but now you realize
He’s not selling any alibis
As you stare into the vacuum of his eyes
And ask him do you want to make a deal?

How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

You never turned around to see the frowns on the jugglers and the clowns
When they all come down and did tricks for you
You never understood that it ain’t no good
You shouldn’t let other people get your kicks for you
You used to ride on the chrome horse with your diplomat
Who carried on his shoulder a Siamese cat
Ain’t it hard when you discover that
He really wasn’t where it’s at
After he took from you everything he could steal

How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

Princess on the steeple and all the pretty people
They’re drinkin’, thinkin’ that they got it made
Exchanging all kinds of precious gifts and things
But you’d better lift your diamond ring, you’d better pawn it babe
You used to be so amused
At Napoleon in rags and the language that he used
Go to him now, he calls you, you can’t refuse
When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose
You’re invisible now, you got no secrets to conceal

How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone?

Joe Esposito – You’re The Best Around

My Dearest Dana,

Your miserably empty life?  I know you’re down in the dumps right now, but please.  Our lives may currently suck…but never forget how freakin’ awesome we are.  Seriously, we’re the best!

I just spent the last ninety minutes navigating through a high school reunion that showcased the truly empty and miserable.   Aside from growing old and aimlessly reproducing, nobody had anything productive to show for themselves.  Which is fine – we’re all still relatively young(ish) – but, come on!  If you don’t have much to show for yourself, then show your dreams…or passions…or goals.  Have something meaningful to say, dammit!

Instead, it was an onslaught of miserably empty filler-questions:

  • Where do you work? 
  • Where do you live? 
  • Do you remember me? 
  • Are you married?
  • Do you have any kids? 
  • Guess how much money I made last year?
  • And oops, will you look at the time?  I’ve gleamed enough glossy, superficial information about you.  Onto the next one!

Granted, Livonia, MI is no hub of cultural enlightenment, but 95% of these people are carbon copies of who they were two decades ago.  No spiritual growth, no increased self-awareness…not even a random international adventure or personal tale of vested interest.

And yes, this much is true: You and I have had a hellava lot of bullshit poured over us lately, forcing us to adapt and change…but, I say!  It’s not just our environments or experiences that mold us!  This is the fundamental truth of what separates us from the herd:  we’ll always be learning, we’ll always be growing; we are two incredibly creative and joyful creatures who can’t help but embrace life.  Even when we’re trapped in our own, depressing lil’ Private Idahos, we ooze passion…and as a result, attention.

So you’re correct.  Life is the worst, right now.  Feel shitty, ’cause neither of us deserve to feel this much pain and sorrow.  Just know this much…I’d rather spend the rest of my Saturday evening typing you an over-the-top, motivational blog post than spend another minute in that crappy bar, faintly listening to old peers droll on about how “Nopenever left L-Town.  Never really traveled either.  Never had time for passions or dreams.  The job is a job – nothing to write home about.  And the kids?  They’re alright, I guess – they just keep runnin’ me ragged.  But, hey, that’s life, right?”

Not for us it is.

Love,

Suneil

You’re the Best Around
Try to be best,
‘Cause you’re only a man,
And a man’s gotta learn to take it.

Try to believe,
Though the going gets rough,
That you gotta hang tough to make it!

History repeats itself,
Try and you’ll succeed,
Never doubt that you’re the one,
And you can have your dreams!

You’re the best!
Around!
Nothing’s gonna ever keep you down!

Fight ‘til the end,
Cause your life will depend,
On the strength that you have inside you!

Ah, you gotta be proud,
Starin’ out in the cloud,
When the odds in the game defy you.

Try your best to win them all,
And one day time will tell,
When you’re the one that’s standing there,
You’ll reach the final bell!

You’re the best!
Around!
Nothing’s gonna ever keep you down!

Fight ‘til you drop!
Never stop!
Can’t give up!
Til you reach the top -FIGHT!
You’re the best in town -FIGHT!
Listen to that sound!
A little bit of all you got,
Can never bring you down!

You’re the best!
Around!
Nothing’s gonna ever keep you down!

The National – Guilty Party

My Dearest Dana,

So much change in such a short time!  I naively thought the bulk of my personal chaos was over, but if these past two weeks have taught me anything, it’s to keep an eye out for those curve balls…and above all, keep weathering the storm.

This past weekend at Rutland, Ohio’s, The Mosaic Experiment, I put in the hard work and laid to rest yet another chapter of my life.  Saturday night, as event coordinators lit Mosaic’s effigy aflame, a mile away at our campsite, I donned my business suit for the very last time.  Leading a three-person procession, I marched us from our camp to the rising flames, disrobed, and tossed those tattered threads in the pyre (you’ll be pleased to know that my gross black dress shoes were burned as well).  Business Suneil is no more…or at the very least, he’s buried in enough ash to keep him underground and at bay for the next few years.

20171007_204811-1-1

Most outsiders deem these “Burner” camping adventures as one relaxing, hedonistic party…but if you attend them from a place of seeking and growth, they can often be draining and emotionally overwhelming.  It’s been over a year since the magic Melanie and I used to nurture, just up and fizzled away.  Before the divorce, we roamed these events as an inviolable team, dancing up a storm while leaving all sorts of joyful mischief in our wake.  Nowadays, we attend the same events, but we experience them wholly without one another.  We dance separately.  We cause mischief separately.  When we bump into each other, our conversations are stunted, almost as if there’s a giant brick wall between us, keeping us separate and very, very far away.  Grief and loss built that wall…and my hope is that one day, we’ll collectively summon the courage to tear it all down.  Still.  Whenever I see her at these closed-area, weekend-long events, it’s not our relationship or sex that I miss.  I just miss hanging out with my best friend, that’s all.

Oh me, oh my – will you look at all this sorrow!?  The reality here is that my world’s finally beginning to feel a little lighter.  The mental fog is lifting…and for the first time in ages, my black-and-white daydreams are starting to bleed in color.  I’m happily closing the doors to my past.  I haven’t the faintest idea what the future shall bring, but it’s time to awaken and be an active participant in the next chapter of my life!

It’s a six hour drive from Mosaic to Detroit.  I attended The National concert with Ashley earlier tonight, so on the road trip back home, I queued up their latest album and let this gloomy new jam wash all over me.  Listening to the lyrics, I grew all emotional and teary-eyed, reminiscing back to the moment when I finally realized that there were no actual guilty parties in my languishing marriage, just two exhausted and defeated lovers who didn’t know how to harmonize any longer.

After a full year of being divorced, I’d like to say my tears shocked me…but frankly, nothing surprises me anymore.   The curve balls, they keep on coming.  We just gotta keep weathering the storm…

Love,

Suneil

Guilty Party
You’re sleeping night and day
How’d you do it
Me I am wide awake
Feeling defeated

I say your name
I say I’m sorry
I know it’s not working
I’m no holiday
It’s nobody’s fault
No guilty party
We just got nothing
Nothing left to say

Another year gets away
Another summer of love
I don’t know why I care
We miss it every summer

I say your name
I say I’m sorry
I’m the one doing this
There’s no other way
It’s nobody’s fault
No guilty party
I just got nothing, nothing left to say

It all, all catches up to me
It all, all catches up to me all the time

I say your name
I say I’m sorry
I know it’s not working, I’m no holiday
It’s nobody’s fault
No guilty party
We just got nothing, nothing left to say

I say your name
I say I’m sorry
I’m the one doing this, there’s no other way
It’s nobody’s fault
No guilty party
I just got nothing, nothing left to say

It all, all just catches up to me
It all, all catches up to me all the time

War on Drugs – Holding On

My Dearest Dana,

The video is largely meant for you.

The lyrics are largely meant for me.

The music?  That’s ours to hold on to ’til we get to the other side…

Love,

Suneil

Holding On
Once I was alive and I could feel.
I was holding on to you.
And I redefined the way I loved to talk – it’s only human.

I’ve been down a crooked highway,
I’ve been all outside the lines,
I’ve been rejected, now the light has turned and I’m out of time.

Ain’t no way I’m gonna last, hiding in the seams…
I keep moving past!
Feel like I’m about to crash, riding on the line…
I keep keeping on!

Once we were apart, I could see red.
Never trying to turn back time,
Never meant to bring my pain into the frame and into your life.

Now I’m headed down a different road,
Can we walk it side by side?
Is an old memory just another way of saying goodbye?

Ain’t no way I’m gonna last, hiding in the seams…
I keeping moving past!
Feel like I’m about to crash, riding the same line..
I keep keeping on!

Ain’t no way you’re gonna change
Ain’t never gonna learn
I keep moving on the path, yeah
Holding on to mine

When we talk about the past
What are we talking of?
Did I let go too fast?
Was I holding on too long?

Ain’t no truths to someone’s lies
As silent as the sea
I’ve been holding on too long
But you’re right in front of me

Ain’t no shadows gonna cast,
Darkness on my seam,
I keep moving with the changes, yeah!

Spoon – WhisperI’lllistentohearit

My Dearest Dana,

If you’re asking for my two cents, there’s no other song out there that best represents us in our separate states of disrepair/repair than Spoon’s synthrock slow burn of a jam, WhisperI’lllistentohearit.  It popped on my Google Play account on the ride home from your loft last night and I couldn’t help but smile.

And I know, I know….this is a song about waiting it out and letting time evoke its slow spell of healing all wounds (both internal and toe-related injuries).  It’s the biggest fucking cliche in the world, but honestly, it’s the only shred of hope I’ve ever clung to this past year.   Just wait it out, Suneil.  All hurricanes eventually end.

There’s a better, brighter future for us, I just know it.  Until then, anytime you need a partner in shenanigans, I’m a mere phone call away…

dana333Your Bestie 4eva,

Suneil

WhisperI’lllistentohearit
I know you must hold secrets…
Such a long way from home.
You’re a lost letter that needs delivery,
Someday you’ll be where you should go.
Someday you won’t be so alone…
Someday you’ll be where you should go.
Someday you won’t be so alone…

You coulda been an acrobat,
You coulda used what you know.
You coulda been what you wanted,
Ooh, you fell for them lines like snow.
Press me, I’ll tell you I’m looking…
Looking for some sign of life.
Press me, I’ll tell you I’m looking…

Come on, give me some spirit…
Don’t take too much to get me excited.
Whisper, I’ll listen to hear it,
Just show me some sign of life.
I know you must hold secrets,
Such a long way from home.
You’re a lost letter needs delivery,
Someday you’ll be where you should go.
Someday you won’t be so alone,
Someday you’ll be where you should go.
Someday you won’t be so alone,
Someday you’ll be where you should go.

Candyman drives a fast car,
He could be there any time.
His fuel is anticipation,
It’s good to feel wanted sometimes.
All these expectations,
Waiting for my cells to divide….
Wait, is that too maudlin?
I’m just looking for some sign of life!

I know you must hold secrets,
Such a long way from home.
You’re a lost letter needs delivery,
Someday you’ll be where you should go.
Someday you won’t be so alone,
Someday you’ll be where you should go.
Come on show me some spirit,
Don’t take too much to get me excited.
Whisper, I’ll listen to hear it,
Just show me some sign of life!

Tame Impala – Yes, I’m Changing

Words cannot describe how ridiculously proud I am of you right now.  Hands down, tonight will go down as one of my favorite Dana memories of all time.  And sure, maybe for you these past 24 hours felt like an anxiety-driven disaster, but you’ve no idea how gracefully and emphatically you conquered this beast.  From an outsiders perspective, it looked like you’d done it a thousand times before.

Can we take a moment to pause and reflect on what actually happened here?  Scared, mousy, meek Dana just stood up in front of 100 strangers (in a fucking church, no less) and executed an exceptionally poignant and on-point five-minute speech about the love of her life.  (Oh, and she did it on Expert Mode…A.K.A. you were the only white chick in a room filled to the brim with African Americans…and your topic of nomenclature focused on your white, transplant husband and his efforts to promote social justice and racial inclusion throughout Detroit.)

skeptical-3rd-world-kid-danas-saying-whaaaaa

Most people can’t do what you just did.  Some try.  They go through months and months of Dale Carnegie-esque coursework, relentlessly practicing their craft.  Yet even after all that effort, they still can’t get themselves to a point of ease and connection which, at times, you touched upon tonight.  Traditionally, the art of public speaking is a clunky and brutal process to master.   You kinda just walked up on stage tonight, demanded they give you a microphone stand, and made it look easy.

And let’s not overlook the fact that you literally threw all this together in less than 24 hours.  From writing that first draft…to editing it to a place you felt comfortable…to reciting it over and over again…to finally performing it in front of your target audience in a manner that made you come across as a captivating purveyor of thought.  All of it, achieved in less than a day!

And I underlined that motherfucker back there because it’s true.  Dana, your speech earnestly captivated people tonight.  You went on AFTER the main speaker; AFTER everyone had been sitting around for over an hour, getting bored and all kinds of antsy.  For crying out loud, they buried your speech somewhere between two kids getting awards!  Still, with all that going against you, after the event was over, there were attendees who literally stood up, walked straight to you, and SHOOK YOUR FUCKING HAND.  I saw that one lady’s interaction with you while we were in line to say goodbye to Toson…your words touched upon her so tenderly that it compelled her to meet you in-person and say “thank you for sharing”.

This is not fluff, Dana.  It was your first time and you managed to impact several strangers in a deep and meaningful way.  In the end, you’ll choose how you want to live out the rest of your life – but just know, your grief is changing you into a completely different version of yourself.  Sure, it’s already made you into a sadder and more depressed soul…but the upside here is that it’s also building you into a braver, stronger, and more authentic human being.

It’s also unlocking a potential within you, one that if bent to your will could produce some real magic in this world.

Dana, it was an absolute honor, watching you force yourself to confront your fears. Thanks for inviting me along.  I know this isn’t your style, but even if it’s just for the rest of the day, feel proud of what you accomplished here.  It was pretty fucking impressive.

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Yes, I’m Changing
I was raging, it was late
In the world my demons cultivate
I felt the strangest emotion but it wasn’t hate, for once

Yes I’m changing, yes I’m gone
Yes I’m older, yes I’m moving on
And if you don’t think it’s a crime you can come along, with me

Life is moving, can’t you see
There’s no future left for you and me
I was hoping and I was searching endlessly
But baby, now there’s nothing left that I can do so
So don’t be blue –  there is another future waiting there for you

I saw it different, I must admit
I caught a glimpse, I’m going after it
They say people never change, but that’s bullshit, they do

Yes I’m changing, can’t stop it now
And even if I wanted I wouldn’t know how
Another version of myself I think I found, at last

And I can’t always hide away
Curse indulgence and despise my fate
There’s a world out there and it’s calling my name
And it’s calling yours, girl it’s calling yours too
It’s calling out for you

Arise and walk, come through
Someone beyond that door is calling out for you
Arise and walk, come through
It’s calling out for you
Arise and walk, come through
Someone beyond that door is calling out for you

First Aid Kit – Shattered & Hollow

My Dearest Dana,

I’m so thankful that I can call you my friend.  From the bottom of my sorely-bruised heart, I say this without double-thought:  you’re the best thing to happen to me in this crap-tastic, emotionally-overwhelming year.  Whether we travel this world together as sad lil’ Sally’s or not, I’ll be forever grateful for the love and concern you’ve continually shown for me.  And in a year where I’ve formed countless fleeting and dysfunctional female relationships based on one night stands or quick romances, I will forever cherish getting to know who you truly are as my friend.  Many have tried, but you’re one of few who’ve been able to successfully give me a modicum of shelter from this unrelenting storm that’s befallen my life.  I honestly don’t know where I’d be without your support.

There’s a lot of things I don’t know.  I don’t know why our comfortable, fun lives were forced into such immense states of disrepair.  Nor do I know why after ten years of kind-of knowing one another, the universe decided in 2017 to deeply connect us into one another’s lives.  I don’t know why I come to you for help and comfort when you’re currently so helpless and uncomfortable yourself.  And I don’t understand why/how talking to you, whether it be about my pain or yours, makes me feel slightly at ease with all the bullshit that’s weighing me down.

As you can probably tell, I’ve been trying to keep myself sane, but this month seems to showcase me breaking down in every way possible.  Today, a rather attractive nurse at my dentist’s office found out I was divorced and chatted me up, asking for my number.  I dodged her advances as gracefully as I knew how…but at the time, all I wanted to do was choke her with my bare hands.  I’m so tired of receiving attention from all the wrong sources or hearing how “Things will get better” or that “I’m such a great catch”.  There’s a deep, abiding anger building within me…and I just want to fucking disappear for a while, erase this bitterness from my heart, and remember that there’s still an attainable future out there, one where I can live in peace and without all this sorrow in my bones.

I guess what I’m saying here is that if there ever comes a time where you review your life and wonder if you’ve actually done any good in this world these past six months, know that you’ve greatly helped minimize my anger, my bitterness.  I’m a wild, unstable man and I could’ve easily fallen off the deep end if you hadn’t been in my corner, holding my hand and helping me cope through my own madness.  For that, I’m forever in your debt.

This was the song I giddily Snapchatted to you on the way to Lakes of Fire last Thursday. The irony of listening to it again on the ride home yesterday – and the words subsequently taking on a more sorrowful meaning – is not lost on me.

My oh-so-strong sister, I don’t know what the next chapter of our lives will be, but I promise you this much.  I’ll be gone in four months…and while I sincerely encourage you to join me for as long as you want/need, no distance or amount of time will sever the impact you’ve had on my life.  We could be next to one another, sipping coconut cocktails at some funky, off-the-beaten-path San Paulo hostel or we could be thousands of miles apart – either way it works out, we’re gonna lift ourselves out of this mental state of despair and grief.   Whatever it takes…we’ll get ourselves out of here.

Love,

Suneil

Shattered & Hollow
I am love and I am lost
But I’d rather be broken than empty
Oh, I’d rather be shattered than hollow
Oh, I’d rather be by your side

Now I can’t believe that it’s been five years
Since we both stood here, looking out at this city
With minds so bold and hearts so clear
We said, we are gonna get out of here
We said, we are gonna get out of here

We are gonna get out of here
Run from all the fears
Follow what we once held dear
When will we get out of here?

Now I am tired but resolute
That I’d rather be striving than settled
Oh, I’d rather be moving than static
Oh, I’d rather be by your side

Now I can’t believe that it will be so long
‘Till we both are here, looking out at this city
Knowing all we ever wanted is gone

We are gonna get out of here
Run from all the fears
Follow what we once held dear
When will we get out of here?

Time, time is a fickle thing
Let’s see what it can bring
I cannot leave you behind
Time, time’s running out
My hands, oh give me your hands
I cannot leave you behind

We are gonna get out of here
Run from all the fears
Follow what we once held dear
When will we get out of here?

We said, we are gonna get out of here
We said, we are gonna get out of here

Guest Post: Martina McBride – I’m Gonna Love You Through It

B-b-b-b-b-bonus posts!  As you stumble around the loft this week, take solace that your dearest friends are with you every step of the way.  Today’s guest post is authored by the one and only…Margo Bracken

I really struggled with picking a song. Let alone the “right” song. After a couple slightly subtle comments from Dana (“get your shit together and just pick a song with meaning!”) I landed on this Martina McBride song. The song was released in 2011 just before Dana was diagnosed. The first time I heard it or actually paid attention and listened to this song, I remember immediately breaking down in tears. The premise of the song is a 38 year old woman being diagnosed with breast cancer and her husband supporting and loving her through it.

I remember thinking at that time not only how I have to do everything I can to support my sister but what about Brad? How is he supposed to be there? How is he going to “fix” her? And also thinking well this isn’t Dana – she is and will be okay. She will get through this and it will all be a terrible memory in the past.
I hadn’t heard it in the past couple years and low and behold the way music does, it came back into my life. I heard it on the radio shortly after Brad was diagnosed and of course those same feelings came flooding back but this time mixed with utter range, fear and anxiety. Even now writing this and thinking of the lyrics it brings up all the feels. All the emotions. I am beyond happy you have a clean bill of health and that you tackled your own battle of cancer. I am furious that Brad didn’t have the same outcome. I am overwhelmed with sadness that your person is gone. I am proud of your strength, even if that means to literally move and just breathe today.

Life is, plain and simple, fucked up sometimes and losing Brad is absolutely the worst scenario imaginable. I feel like losing Brad broke us all. As though we were literally cracked in half and we are trying to scramble to put some sort of the pieces back together knowing it will never be the same puzzle without him. I do take comfort however, knowing that it is partially (a large part) because of Brad we, you, are who you are today. Brad is a strong force. He pushed those he loved to do better and be better. To look internally and reflect on ourselves and to outwardly make a difference. Although most of the time it felt as though Brad was the only one actually making a difference on a larger scale. He saw the potential in us all, especially you. I hope we can eventually not cry because our time with him is over, but smile because he happened.

I don’t know HOW you will get through this, how we will get through this. I don’t know the correct thing to say (is there such a thing?). I don’t know what your future will look like. But I do know that you are my best friend and I will be there in whichever way needed. I do know that my role is to be your support, your net, your bridge. This song is probably a more literal twisted version of “our” song, Lean on Me – which was going to be my cop out song, but the meaning in both remains. I am here for you. I will be your rock to lean on and I of course will love you through it.

I’m Gonna Love You Through It
She dropped the phone and burst into tears
The doctor just confirmed her fears
Her husband held it in and held her tight
Cancer don’t discriminate or care if you’re just 38
With three kids who need you in their lives
He said, “I know that you’re afraid and I am, too
But you’ll never be alone, I promise you”

When you’re weak, I’ll be strong
When you let go, I’ll hold on
When you need to cry, I swear that I’ll be there to dry your eyes
When you feel lost and scared to death,
Like you can’t take one more step
Just take my hand, together we can do it
I’m gonna love you through it.

She made it through the surgery fine
They said they caught it just in time
But they had to take more than they planned
Now it’s forced smiles and baggy shirts
To hide what the cancer took from her
But she just wants to feel like a woman again
She said, “I don’t think I can do this anymore”
He took her in his arms and said “That’s what my love is for”

When you’re weak, I’ll be strong
When you let go, I’ll hold on
When you need to cry, I swear that I’ll be there to dry your eyes
When you feel lost and scared to death,
Like you can’t take one more step
Just take my hand, together we can do it
I’m gonna love you through it.

And when this road gets too long
I’ll be the rock you lean on
Just take my hand, together we can do it
I’m gonna love you through it.
I’m gonna love you through it.

Guest Post: Stevie Wonder – Knocks Me Off My Feet

B-b-b-b-b-bonus posts!  As you stumble around the loft this week, take solace that your dearest friends are with you every step of the way.  Today’s guest post is authored by the one and only…Ashley Catherine Woods!

I don’t want you to bore with my trouble
But there’s something about your love
That makes me weak
And knocks me off my feet
I wasn’t kidding when I said the Brad and Dana loveshow used to make us all want to puke a little. Especially us single girls! Brad would be like MY WIFE THE MOST BEAUTIFUL RADIANT ANGEL TO GRACE THE EARTH and you guys would kiss and he would beam and then I’d look down at my phone and see if some guy who wasn’t even half as good as Brad had bothered to send me some lukewarm text back like “how r u” or “wanna hang out”
 IT WAS SO HARD TO WATCH! But watch we did, and dream we did, because you two were the dream, and you both deserved each other. And you ended up convincing us all that we deserved that same kind of love. I couldn’t be too jealous, because you never wanted to hold all that love for yourselves. You two were so good that way.
I remember the Stevie Wonder show we went to with Blake. “Songs in the Key of Life.” Man, I am so glad Brad got to see him live. We were all so happy that night. I have a quick video from the floor of Joe Louis while Stevie sings this song, and I can hear all our voices singing along:
I don’t want to bore you with it
Oh but I love you I love you I love you
This song reminds me of that tireless love you shared, the kind of devotion that needed its own time in the sun. The way you love Brad and the way Brad loved you took so much courage and faith. That example is still teaching me things. And it still kind of takes my breath away.
Knocks Me Off My Feet
I see us in the park
Strolling the summer days of imaginings in my head
And words from our hearts
Told only to the wind felt even without being said
I don’t want to bore you with my trouble
But there’s sumptin’bout your love
That makes me weak and
Knocks me off my feet There’s supmtin’bout your love
That makes me weak and
Knocks me off my feet
Knocks me off my feet I don’t want to bore you with it
Oh but I love you, I love you, I love you
I don’t want to bore you with it
Oh but I love you, I love you, I love you
More and more We lay beneath the stars
Under a lovers tree that’s seen through the eyes of my mind
I reach out for the part
Of me that lives in you that only our two hearts can find
But I don’t want to bore you with my trouble
But there’s sumptin’bout your love
That makes me weak and
Knocks me off my feet

There’s sumptin’bout your love
That makes me weak and
Knocks me off my feet
Knocks me off my feet

I don’t want to bore you with it
Oh but I love you, I love you, I love you

Guest Post: Ingrid Michaelson – Keep Breathing

B-b-b-b-b-bonus posts!  As you stumble around the loft this week, take solace that your dearest friends are with you every step of the way.  Today’s guest post is authored by the one and only…Michelle Busuito!
Through the heartache, the pain and the sadness, keep breathing.  Because sometimes all we can do is keep breathing….
Keep Breathing

The storm is coming but I don’t mind
People are dying, I close my blinds

All that I know is I’m breathing now

I want to change the world
Instead I sleep
I want to believe in more than you and me

But all that I know is I’m breathing
All I can do is keep breathing
All we can do is keep breathing now

All that I know is I’m breathing
All I can do is keep breathing
All we can do is keep breathing

All we can do is keep breathing now

Guest Post: Modest Mouse – The View

B-b-b-b-b-bonus posts!  As you stumble around the loft this week, take solace that your dearest friends are with you every step of the way.  Today’s guest post is authored by the one and only…Lindsey Dowling!

Losing Brad is the worst thing that has ever happened to me. The worst thing that has ever happened to a few of us.

I thought my Dad hitting a bus two and half years ago and dying was painful. I thought having post-partum depression was pretty rough. Brad’s death is much worse. I am not trying to have people feel sorry for me, just offering perspective on my own facets of pain and grief. I know life is hard and everyone experiences hardship. I also know life is beautiful and because of the level of love and joy I get to experience, I also have to endure pain and growth and grief and loss.

The song I offer you is Modest Mouse-The View. Fair warning, it is dark, angry and beautiful at the same time. I think that’s the point, the juxtaposition. I recommend you listen to it twice like a wine or coffee tasting. At first listen the palate may not be prepared. The second listen gives me greater appreciation.

My favorite stanza of this song is:

As life gets longer, awful feels softer.
Well it feels pretty soft to me.
And if it takes shit to make bliss,
then I feel pretty blissfully.

To me this shows the juxtaposition of beauty to the pain. I would NEVER want for Brad to have died. I feel it is an injustice and a hardship to our family and friends that no one deserves. I do however see an incredible amount of beauty and love that has shown up because we all see the injustice and see the tenderness, the fragility of life.

The first time I heard this song was on recommendation from my dear friend Mary Martha, who lost her dad a few years ago to brain cancer. She has been invaluable to me with her experience of loss. A week after he died her husband lost his brother in a car accident. Can you imagine? When great loss happens, I think you gain a knowledge about the depths of the pain of life that many do not know. I assume that all people will experience that pain at some point in their lives. I truly hope not and I am betting I will learn more as time goes on.

I am not sure when I became the angry girl but I will tell you, I am angry. I am hurt and I am devastated at life’s recent turn of events. I want Brad back. I am crying writing this because I don’t understand why life is so cruel sometimes. I know that a lot of horrific things happen in this world and I am aware “it could be worse” but that doesn’t negate how much pain I am in right now. It doesn’t negate the horrific nature of Brad’s illness nor the devastation left in the wake of his death.

Writing a post about a song that resonates grief or meaning for me to share with all of you is a big challenge. I don’t hear lyrics, nor know bands. That may sound strange to you, but seriously, as a kid I had to work hard to know Michael Jackson, REM, The Grateful Dead and a few others to not be ridiculed. It was not natural. Don’t get me wrong, I love music, I just don’t really hear it without great concentration. After reading a few of Suneil’s posts I was really moved. So, I will make it happen. I will write this post. I will continue to show up.

My grandmother died March 13th, seven weeks after Brad passed. A couple days before, I was commending her for showing up as well as she did over her lifetime. She was responsible, caring and kind. She was also kind of childish and nasty at times. I don’t really blame her cynicism. She had many challenges in her life. She lost her mom to Ovarian Cancer at eleven, her father remarried soon after and when he died she was written out of his will by her evil stepmother, similar to Cinderella without the prince. I am not sure when her father died but it was shortly after she was married, somewhere in her twenties. She was married for about 38 years when her husband passed in 1984, she was 61. I believe part of her was relieved. She never dated again, nor took off her wedding rings but she did start to live in a way that I didn’t see before. She travelled and was devoted to her daughters and grandchildren. She never talked about him much. I would ask and she would turn the subject. She liked talking about how they fell in love but not much after that, at least to me.

She replied to me that day looking rather blankly at the wall in her almost blind state, “What choice did I have?” This gave me pause. I feel like we have many choices in this world and yet, I hope I take her stance. Meaning, I hope to show up as much as I can, to be responsible. I hope that I continue to walk, step by step even when there is pain. SO much of me wants to run away and hide. To be selfish and free from life’s challenges and responsibilities but with that freedom comes great loneliness and I am not interested in going that way. I have experienced that before and the immediate payoff is not worth it in the long run.

My learning so far is that the tragedies you don’t expect are worse. With my Dad, it was pretty rough and there was a tiny sliver of relief because he was not headed down an easy path for the rest of his life. He was 68, obese, heavy drinker and having a hard time with a few of his relationships (to say the least). He had gone to the doctor that morning to assess his back that might have needed surgery. He was driving home having gone to Wendy’s and running errands for a sick friend and he hit a school bus going 40 miles per hour that was stopped at a light. Gone, just like that; like turning off a light switch. I had called him that afternoon to invite him to thanksgiving about 20 minutes before he died. A few hours later, I got a call from the hospital to notify me of his death.

Brad was at work. I picture him at the DIA and I don’t know if that is true. David was at a conference in Utah. Time eludes me, either he was having the experience of a lifetime and getting all these (well deserved) accolades when I interrupted or this was the second year at the conference and it was still great.

I texted them, “Call me ASAP”. They both called within 5 minutes. I don’t know for sure who called first but within ten minutes we were conferenced together, Lindsey, Brad and Dave on “Three-way” which we had done many times before for many reasons, but mostly to work with conflict resolution of some kind. After that day those three-way calls (as we used to call them) became even more regular for a while and then they trailed off as things do when the crisis subsides.

The week after our dad died Brad helped me with one thing that has changed me forever. The Modest Mouse song starts with “Well you shot off your mouth and look where it got you. My mouth runs on too.” I was having trouble articulating something to a family member (I wanted to shoot off my mouth) and he broke it down for me. He pushed me to let the feelings subside and seek the question that I was really looking for underneath. He said, “What are you really asking? What do you need to know?” Seems simple enough, but until then I could not separate my feelings from the questions with several members of our family. So many times, I let my feelings, my own insecurities get caught up in my actions and Brad that day helped me turn the table a new direction. To this day, I ask myself these questions regularly when my emotions get caught in the knowledge I am seeking.

Well, in true Frost fashion, that story went on several tangents. So, with no further ado, here is “The View” by Modest Mouse.

The View
Your gun went off.
Well you shot off your mouth and look where it got you.
My mouth runs on too.

Shouts from both sides,
“Well we’ve got the land but they’ve got the view!”
Well now here’s the clue.

Life it rents us.
And yeah I hope it put plenty on you.
Well I hope mine did too.

As life gets longer, awful feels softer.
Well it feels pretty soft to me.
And if it takes shit to make bliss,
then I feel pretty blissfully.

Your gun went off.
Well you shot off your mouth and look where it got you.
My mouth runs on too.

Shouts from both sides,
“Well we’ve got the land but they’ve got the view!”
Well now here’s the clue.

We are fixed right where we stand.

Life it rents us.
And yeah I hope it put plenty on you.
Well I hope mine did too.

We are fixed right where we are.

As life gets longer, awful feels softer.
Well if feels pretty soft to me.
And if it takes shit to make bliss,
well I feel pretty blissfully.

For every invention made how much time did we save?
We’re not much farther than we were in the cave.

As life gets longer, awful feels softer,
and it feels pretty soft to me.
And if it takes shit to make bliss,
well I feel pretty blissfully.

If life’s not beautiful without the pain,
well I’d just rather never ever even see beauty again.
Well as life gets longer, awful feels softer.
And it feels pretty soft to me.

For every good deed done there is a crime committed.
We are fixed.
For every step ahead we could have just been seated.
We are fixed.

As life gets longer, awful feels softer.
Well it feels pretty soft to me.
And if it takes shit to make bliss,
well I feel pretty blissfully.

We are fixed.
We are fixed.
We are fixed right where we stand.

Guest Post: Counting Crows – Omaha

B-b-b-b-b-bonus posts!  As you stumble around the loft this week, take solace that your dearest friends are with you every step of the way.  Today’s guest post is authored by the one and only…Ashley Catherine Woods!

I didn’t want to bring us down any more than we were and play the sad stuff. But I found myself, the night before I flew to Omaha, driving down I-75 with this song playing loud, crying my eyes out. Because Daniel loved this song and we loved making fun of him for loving the Counting Crows but when I listen to it again, it’s pretty good.
Rob Sheffield says that people die, but songs live on forever. You know it’s true — that’s why you made such a long playlist. Sometimes defiant, sometimes upbeat and sometimes just the saddest songs you could think of. There were a lot of good, sad songs on this playlist. Sometimes songs hurt too much to hear often, and that’s OK too, but every so often, you have to go back and feel the knife again.
There are a lot of good songs to remember those boys by. But this line I think sums up Daniel and Brad pretty well: “Getting right to the heart of matters / It’s the heart that matters more.”
I like to believe there’s a place where they are hanging out together, and Brad is making fun of Daniel for still listening to this stuff.
Omaha

Start tearing the old man down
Run past the heather and down to the old road
Start turning the grain into the ground
Roll a new leaf over
In the middle of the night there’s an old man
Treading around in the gathered rain
Hey, mister, if you want to walk on water
Oh would you drop a line my way?

Omaha
Somewhere in middle America
Get right to the heart of matters
It’s the heart that matters more
I think you’d better turn your ticket in
And get your money right at the door

Start threading the needle
Brush past the shuttle that slides through the cold room
Start turning the wool across the wire
Roll the new life over
In the middle of the night there’s an old man
Threading his toes through a bucket of rain
Hey, mister, if you want to walk on water
‘Cause you’re only going to walk all over me

Omaha
Somewhere in middle America
Get right to the heart of matters
It’s the heart that matters more
I think you’d better turn your ticket in
And get your money right at the door

Start running the banner down
Drop past the color come up through the summer rain
Start turning the girl into the ground
Roll a new life over
In the middle of the day
There’s a young man rolling around in the earth and rain
Hey mister if you’re going to walk on water, you know
You’re only going to walk all over me

Omaha!
Say Omaha on a Sunday morning
I’m coming home today

Guest Post: Robbie Williams – Nan’s Song

B-b-b-b-b-bonus posts!  As you stumble around the loft this week, take solace that your dearest friends are with you every step of the way.  Today’s guest post is authored by the one and only…Michelle Busuito!

This song (written by Robbie Williams) is about the sadness Robbie felt when his Grandma (“Nan”, in British ;)) passed; she promised that even when she died, she would walk with him everyday.  Robbie didn’t want to hear her say such sad words and feels robbed when she passes; but the song is about how she keeps her promise and is still near him… so much that he can feel, hear and see her presence in his every day; especially in his darkest moments he knows she is there.  He misses all love she gave to him, but he knows that someday they will meet again.

And, a weird (cosmic?) connection… Robbie’s Grandma was named Betty, so he has a small tattoo of a “B” behind his ear, as a constant reminder that she is there, listening to him, his worries and his fears.

I choose it because it I think it is a reminder of how much Bradford is with you… so when you see a strange light or some kind of sign, Brad is there. Every day.  He is there.  He is proud of you, he is helping you through. It also makes me think that with such darkness and loss, you can find beauty and art.

Nan’s Song
You said when you’d die that you’d walk with me every day
And I’d start to cry and say please don’t talk that way
With the blink of an eye the Lord came and asked you to meet
You went to a better place but He stole you away from me

And now she lives in heaven
But I know they let her out
To take care of me

There’s a strange kind of light
Caressing me tonight
Pray silence my fear she is near
Bringing heaven down here

I miss your love I miss your touch
But I’m feeling you every day
And I can almost hear you say
‘You’ve come a long way baby’

And now you live in heaven
But I know they let you out
To take care of me

There’s a strange kind of light
In my bedroom tonight
Pray silence my fear she is near
Bring your heaven down here

You taught me kings and queens
While stroking my hair
In my darkest hour I know you are there
Kneeling down beside me
Whispering my prayer

Yes there’s a strange kind of light
Caressing me tonight
Pray silence my fear
She is near
Bringing heaven down here

The next time that we meet
I will bow at her feet
And say wasn’t life sweet
Then we’ll prepare
To take heaven down there

Hot Chip – Flutes

Just because we were a bunch of Grumpy Gus’ yesterday doesn’t mean we can’t close ‘er down by celebrating Synth-Pop Saturday on…ahem…Sunday!

Over the past decade, Hot Chip has grown to become one of my favorite electronic rock bands.  Whether you’re cleaning the kitchen or throwing a sporadic dance party in said kitchen after it’s been scrubbed clean, Hot Chip is welcome foreground music to get you motivated and on task.  Their lyrics are often obtuse and meandering…but frankly, that’s what makes them so endearing.  Flutes is a barbed examination on loss and death, juxtaposing the helplessness that comes from being trapped inside one’s own grief with the sweetened mantra of living in the present and realizing that there’s never been a better day to start healing than today.

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Beep, beep.  Your road trip has ended, now the real challenge begins.  They say time heals all wounds, but as your voyage has proved, on many levels that’s a finely-tuned myth.  Time allows painful memories to dull…and sometimes even be temporarily misplaced…but time alone will not help you process through grief or assist you in finding any tangible closure.  How you choose to wake from this deep and somber nightmare is now up to you.

I’d be a consummate fool to offer up any advice or suggestions on next steps here (I’ll leave it up to the other grief-based music blogs to show you how to actively heal).  Just know, my ultimate hope is that one day, you’ll open your eyes wide and realize that there’s never been a better day to start giving yourself back to Love.  It’s possible and I believe in you.  Good luck…and remember, when everyone in this largely foreboding world is driving you up the wall, don’t be afraid to search out your brown brother.  I could be 10,000 miles away, but I’ll always be on your side.  That truth will never change.

Lastly, one more consideration before I sign out forever:   If gaining your friendship is what got birthed out of the darkest year of my life, then it wasn’t that raw of a deal after all.

Love you through it all —- Suneil

Flutes
I know it’s nothing more than flutes
But something in my heart is loose
There’s never been a better day.

And if there is one thing more
Then nothing more ever that I say
There’s never been a better day

Work that inside, outside, work that floor
Work that right side, left side, work that more
Inside, outside, left side, work the floor
Inside, outside, up top, down with more

I put up on a string today
Deciding only taught me the way
A wooden box breathes away…
Never again, never again

All this talk is getting me down
Nothing’s making sense in my brain
I’m moving words across the terrain
Trying hard to fix to the pain
I’m wedded to the thought that we came
Only to discover our names
And blow a horn of love in refrain
And watch things drop down.

One day you might realise
That you might need to open your eyes.

Anaïs Mitchell – Coming Down

Did someone ask for some depressing music mixed with a dash of thoughtful commentary?  I can’t promise the latter, but I got the former in spades!   Time for a healthy dose of that “non-fake” folk!

Disclaimer:  It’s currently a little too late at night for me to gracefully conjure up the words to explain what’s rolling around in my head right now.  What I’m saying is…bare with me if my brain decides to take a nap halfway through this entry.

While I’m so thankful to be in Chicago with you and Ashley (I missed the crap out of you), I must admit, it was hard seeing you so markedly angry tonight.  At my central core, I’m an emotional creature…and whenever I free myself to fully empathize with what you’re going through, it absolutely breaks my heart hearing you describe your own broken heart.  I suppose that’s the whole point of being empathetic creatures – to truly feel what another is going through – but that doesn’t make the process any less painful.  

Honestly, there’s a naive part of me that wishes you’d conquer your grief as quickly as possible and stop hurting.  And yes, I get it.  That last request is as sweet and kind as it is absolutely unreasonable.  It’s going to be a slow and bumpy healing process for you, one that may take years to complete.  One thing’s for sure, it ain’t being resolved in no two-month road trip…

Still.  That doesn’t stop me from wishing that this could all be easier on you.

That being said, while it hurts to see you in such pain, it’s comforting to know you’re at a place where your bitterness is freely seeping out.   As someone who has trouble expressing his own feelings in person, I get how difficult it must be for you to not only rage…but to rage in front of two of your closest friends.  For me, seeing that happen tonight was rough, but it served additionally as an important turning point; it meant you were choosing to not let it fester and bottle up inside.  You’re feeling ALL the feelings and letting them pass through you, as it should be. The fact you were courageous enough to voice your outrage tonight…you may not see it, but it’s a true indicator of how far you’ve come these past four months.  

The following song by Anaïs Mitchell is a tough pill to swallow.  BEWARE – I used to get emotional listening to it even before I knew what true heartache entailed.  Nowadays, this diity is a pure, unadulterated trigger.  But what can one do, this is your present emotional state…and it should not be hidden or disputed.  Your road trip is a day away from concluding and the glossy high of continental travel is finally wearing thin.  You’re coming down and crashing hard.   I don’t know what else to say except that if you’re looking for a song that aptly describes all those feelings, this is as close as I could get without being overtly melodramatic.

 Coming Down
I never felt so high
I never felt so high
I never felt so high
Think I’m coming down

I never laughed so loud
I never laughed so loud
I never laughed so loud
Think I’m coming down

Nothing gonna stop me now
Nothing gonna stop me now
Nothing gonna stop me now

Please
Please don’t leave
Easy feeling
Don’t leave me like that
Not yet

Don’t set me free
Free
Free
Free

I never felt so high
I never felt so high
I never felt so high

I never laughed so loud
I never laughed so loud
I never laughed so loud

Nothing gonna stop me now
Nothing gonna stop me now
Nothing gonna stop me now

God Help The Girl – Funny Little Frog

One of the more unfortunate side effects to enduring an unexpected tragedy is that it places the most private parts of your life on a public pedestal.   You can run, you can hide…you can use every weapon in your arsenal to keep your pain private and confined, but the end result is an absolute futility.  There’s no way to escape those starving eyes.  Losing a loved one, particularly in the cruel manner that you did, shines a publicly-owned spotlight upon all your fears and anxieties.  It invites the entire village to stop on by and sift through some of the most Raw and intimate aspects of your life.

aaapain.gif

You’ve successfully dodged everyone for two months…but as it stands, you’re a mere weekend away from landing back home.  All this begs the question…how do you think everyone will react?   Not your personal crew – we’ll hopefully be sensitive and present enough to be there for you in a way that brings you comfort –  but those pesky “others”, those whose personal lives are so trite and empty that they fill the void by critiquing others?   Those public, awkward stares at Whole Foods might not be as potent as they were three months ago…but do you think you’ll still serve as the tragic center of everyone’s attention?  Do you think they’ll continue to whisper behind your back…or in some cases, lob their deafening opinions right in front of your face?  Will they say it’s time for you to move on?  Not into another relationship, but onto the next chapter of your life?  Will they suggest that you pour yourself into a job or some form of active work?  Will they push you to rediscover other meaningful parts of your life?  Will they cram all their well-meaning, but ill-informed suggestions down your throat?

Who knows…and frankly, who cares.  There will be many who’ll assume they know what’s best for Dana Frost…and to all that background noise, I say, FUCK ‘EM.  No one has the slightest notion of what you’re going through…and what you’ve yet to encounter as you suffer through this unforgivable loss. Noone knows you but you.

ignore-the-noise-and-follow-your-own-choice-quotes-wall-stickers-brown-grande

Most can only handle other people’s grief in limited dosages.  When the outside world first learned about my divorce, my G-Mail was barraged by an onslaught of concerned and comforting e-mails, all suggesting that I come over for dinner…or let’s go dancing…or hey, let’s do a happy hour real soon!   Everyone and their mom was there for me….and to tell you the truth, it was all a bit stifling.  Thankfully, as the months dragged on, the public attention quickly waned.  Phone calls and texts stopped being as frequent…and when they did occur, they were filled less with empathy and more with active suggestions on what I should do now with my life.  (Oh, you know what’s best for my life?  I don’t even claim to know the answer to that one – and I’m pretty sure I know myself better than you.)

Truth is, humanity relies heavily on positivity and hope.  It’s draining to constantly empathize and process through another’s unforgiving sorrow, so after a couple times of actively listening and “being there”, most either turn their efforts towards providing suggestions that deal in the hope of a new future…or they shy away from the grief all together and move onto something that makes them feel more happier. 

AKA: They disappear.

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Every time I tell anyone that I still Love Melanie, they give me the good ol’ cock-eye.  Most assume that if I’m stating something as magnanimous as I Love Melanie, it must mean I’m not over our marriage…or her.  I must be living in a state of altered delusion!

It couldn’t be farther from the truth.  I just choose to honor and give credence to all the wonderful parts of who we were, that’s all.  Our romance now lives in the past (where it should be), but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t valuable or relevant.  In the end, I simply refuse to be someone who can’t separate his hurt and fear from the reality that, for close to a decade, Melanie was one of the most important people in my life.  Maybe I’m a hopeless romantic, but just because I don’t want to be married to her anymore doesn’t negate the fact that I’ll forever Love her.  If that’s too complicated and confusing for everyone to comprehend , well…

keep-calm-and-fuck-em-all-58

You’re on your own path, Dana.  The rest of this world will sit back and watch how you choose to move forward…and oh, will they have something to say about it!   Sometimes their voices will grate upon your very being, but when they do, remember…nobody knows you but you.  You own your life, and quite frankly, you’re the only one who’ll be living with the ghost of Brad…and the Love for your relationship, which like mine and Melanie, may exist in the past now…but will forever remain in your heart til the day you die.

Be yourself and rest assure that the people you truly value will be with you every step of the way, including the one who fell way too early…

Funny Little Frog
Honey lovin’ you is the greatest thing
I get to be myself and I get to sing
I get to play at being irresponsible
I come home late at night and I love your soul
I never forget you in my prayers
I never have a bad thing to report

You’re my picture on the wall
You’re my vision in the hall
You’re the one I’m talking to
When I get in from my work
You are my girl, and you don’t even know it
I am livin’ out the life of a poet
I am the jester in the ancient court
You’re the funny little frog in my throat

My eye sight’s fading, my hearing’s dim
I can’t get insured for the state I’m in
I’m a danger to myself I’ve been starting fights
At the party at the club on a Saturday night
But I don’t get disapproving from my girl
She gets the all highlights wrapped in pearls.

You’re my picture on the wall
You’re my vision in the hall
You’re the one I’m talking to
When I get in from my work
You are my girl, and you don’t even know it
I am livin’ out the life of a poet
I am the jester in the ancient court
You’re the funny little frog in my throat

I had a conversation with you at night
It’s a little one sided but that’s alright
I tell you in the kitchen about my day
You sit on the bed in the dark changing places
With the ghost that was there before you came
You’ve come to save my life again

I don’t dare to touch your hand
I don’t dare to think of you
In a physical way
And I don’t know how you smell
You are the cover of my magazine
You’re my fashion tip, a living museum
I’d pay to visit you on rainy Sundays
I’ll maybe tell you all about it someday

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Jens Lekman- The Opposite Of Hallelujah

Suneil Self-Commandment #231: It’s incredibly difficult to explain Grief to those who aren’t actively undergoing some form of suffering themselves…so thou shall try thy best to not feel too alone or crabby when thou gazes into thy neighbor’s eyes and sees that they just don’t get it.

The Opposite Of Hallelujah
I took my sister down to the ocean
But the ocean made me feel stupid
Those words of wisdom I had prepared
All seemed to vanish into thin air
Into the waves I stared

I picked up a seashell
To illustrate my homelessness
But a crab crawled out of it
Making it useless

And all my metaphors fell flat
Down on the rocks where we sat
She asked where are you at?

But sister, it’s the opposite of hallelujah
It’s the opposite of being you
You don’t know ’cause it just passes right through you
You don’t know what I’m going through

We made our way home on the bikes we had borrowed
I still never told you about unstoppable sorrow
You still think I’m someone to look up to
I still don’t know anything about you
Is it in you too?

You’ve got so much to live for, little sister
You’ve got so much to live for

But sister, it’s the opposite of hallelujah
It’s the opposite of being you
You don’t know cause it just passes right through you
You don’t know what I’m going through

Beach House – Space Song

It seems like commonsense, but to this very day, it still shocks me how trauma can so effortlessly shake up your world.  One moment, your life is hunky-dory and completely under your control.  The next thing you know – BAM – you’re lurching around like a blubbering idiot, making uncustomary decisions based on a slew of feelings (sadness, fear, anger) that you’re now forced to interact with on a daily basis.   On good days, you’re half-awake, floating in the black, empty vacuum of outer space.   On bad days, your bones ache in ways you never thought they could; you feel two hundred years old and you just want to go to sleep.  Forever.

In the early stages of my own personal “shake-up”, I found it incredibly difficult to redefine myself back to being that of a single man.  I’d spent the better part of a decade, very comfortably relating my self-worth in terms of my relationship with Melanie.  Having that comfort so quickly ripped away stirred within me many a sleepless night, where I’d lay in bed and anxiously speculate if I’d ever be able to truly reconnect back to the rest of the outside world (the world that I kept so easily at bay when I was happily defining myself as one half of a married couple).

Whether it’s divorce or death, when one soul suddenly disappears, how does the other reconnect back to the world?

I don’t know the answer to that one.  One thing’s for sure, please don’t look to my life as a case-study on how to functionally overcome emotional tragedy.   The first six months post-Melanie, I spun out of control and straight into the beds of anyone who’d give me a modicum of positive attention.  It was a low and dismal point in my life, dulled only by temporary, fleeting pleasures.   The relationships I formed were incredibly one-dimensional and superficially physical in ways that’d make any grown adult  heavily roll their eyes.  A nice dinner, a couple drinks, and some heavy no-strings-attached sex was exactly what I thought I needed.  Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t, who knows?   Maybe the answer here is that there’s no correct, one-size-fits-all solution.  Maybe when heavy trauma rears its ugly head, we simply get shook up and shot into thin air, where we remain in suspended disbelief until gravity prevails and we slowly fall back into our rightful place.  Maybe the specifics of how it all happens is just minutia and nothing more.

I’ve this innate sense that, in many respects, you’re exactly where I was ten months ago.   Of course, you’re infinitely more sensible than me; instead of “vapid, no-strings-attached sex”, your reckless behavior is “getting tipsy and watching Beauty & the Beast”.   Regardless of our personalities being world’s apart, the process we’re undergoing is surprisingly similar.  We’ve been one type of person our entire adult life…and thanks to trauma and grief, we’ve been forced to wave goodbye to nearly every facet of that person as we struggle to find self-definition.

Who will you become next, Dana?  It’ll be interesting to see how you redefine yourself when you fall back into place.  Until then, rest assured, we’ll be in this together, propping each other up and seeing distorted versions of our own grief in one other.  I’ve said it before, but it bares repeating.  Dana, I’m on your side.  Not just as your friend, but as someone who literally spent the last year exactly where you are right now…with his head  up in the clouds.

Space Song

It was late at night
You’d held on tight
From an empty sea
A flash of light

It will take awhile
To make you smile
Somewhere in these eyes
I’m on your side

You wide-eyed girls
You get it right

Fall back into place
Fall back into place

Tender is the night
For a broken heart
Who will dry your eyes
When it falls apart

What makes this fragile world go ’round?
Were you ever lost
Was she ever found?
Somewhere in these eyes…

Fall back into place
Fall back into place

ABBA – I Have A Dream

Have you heard of Angel Numbers?  In the great mythical land of alt-spirituality, there’s a growing number of  self-educated Numerologists who giddily love to exclaim that angels speak to humans through numbers.

angel

Of course, like everything New-Agey, there can never be peace or comfort in the unknown; every single number has to have meaning.  For instance, Angel Number 3333 means...the Guardian Angels are wishing to remind you of their love and support.  They also want to assist you in your growth and endeavors.  At this time, you should call upon them often as they are aware of your position and situation and know the best way to go about it.

Right.  Let me just ring the service bell real quick and holla at my personal seraphs:  Yo, Angels, 2017’s been a real shitfest.  You guys already know the best way to go about it, so I could really use some freakin’ direction over here!!!

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Not to hyper-inflate my wretched sense of irony, but it’s been 3333 days since I experienced and wrote down the following dream, back in a time when I was suffering from a particular Loss and depression that felt grossly suffocating.   My dreams (particularly, my nightmares) always feel a bit melodramatic in the waking light…but I’ve found that if I dig deep enough into their subtext, I can unearth glimpses of Truth about my life.

Now that I think about it, I suppose there’s no considerable difference in me hyper-analyzing my dreams and AngelGypsyDiva445 scrutinizing natural numbers from behind a crystal ball.  Dammit.

I’d another nightmare yesterday.  In the past month, all my nightmares have been surprisingly different and varied in their interpretations…yet last night’s dream for some reason struck me as rather fitting.  A perfect illustration of my current position in life.

The dream commences with me being trapped in a large compound of sorts, jailed in a backyard with roughly seventeen other individuals.  None of us prisoners really knew one another.  We tried finding a common thread that would eventually link us all together…but for the life of us, we could come up with none.  Come to think of it, I don’t think any of us had done anything particularly illegal…or even wrong.  I suppose that didn’t matter, because every five minutes or so one of us would be randomly selected to be dragged into the main house of the compound, where we’d get brutally, brutally tortured and then tossed back into the yard with the general population.

No reasons for why we were being tortured.  Just because.

I don’t quite remember how many times I was tortured…or even how badly I was hurt…but I do vividly recall several of my prison-mates dying from their wounds, their decomposing bodies sporadically scattered around the yard. I think I might’ve even used one of their corpses as a pillow to sleep at night.

After what felt like an eternity of coarse and unnatural torment, the remaining prisoners and I pulled off a rather accidental revolt, which featured me commandeering a minivan (how, I’ve no idea), and then driving most of us out of the compound and onto a dirt road.

A few of the prisoners didn’t make it into my van. I don’t know what happened to them. They probably were recaptured and tortured.

Our voyage on the dirt road was intensely unsatisfactory. I’d drive for a couple miles with the background noise of all my passengers, screaming at me to steer us as far away from danger as possible.  Around the time they’d all start to calm down, the road would quickly turn into a deeply dense jungle, vines and rivers abound. The jungle portion of our road trip would last for an additional couple of minutes…and right as I’d drive our minivan out of the forest, I’d end up back at the beginning of the dirt road, right in front of the compound.

Keep in mind, I was driving a straight line.  The road didn’t curve once.

Of course, our tormentors would be there, more than prepared to chase us down.  I’d speed up, my passengers would yell some more, and I’d pray that this time the road would lead us away from all our misfortunes.

Obviously, it never happened.  The circumference of Earth must’ve been ridiculously small, because all that existed was two miles of dirt road, two miles of jungle road, and then the compound itself.

So I drove.  I drove for what seemed like a year.  The gas never hit empty and my options were thin, so I just kept on trucking with only the desperate hope that this time around our path would lead to freedom.

In retrospect, I guess driving was better than being tortured at the compound…but not by much.  Everyone just kept on constantly yelling at me.  Keep in mind, I never felt like my companions were specifically mad at me because I was doing anything wrong. They simply knew no better process to communicate their frustrations.  So they yelled.  And I drove.  And drove.  And drove.

And it sucked.

Then I woke up and drove straight to work.  To date, nobody has ever yelled at me here…or even slightly condemned any of my labor.  In fact, everyone loves me here…and on more than several occasions have publicly praised my efforts to raise this organization from what looks like an unavoidable death.

Still.  I have these intensely lucid nightmares, every single one of them feeling as real as reality.  I have them at least three times a week and I’ve no idea what to do.

Except drive.

I’ve said this multiple times before…you and I are very much alike.  We both tend to face our demons by promptly running away.  When we take off, we don’t exactly know where we’re going (which inevitably pushes us back to the start)…yet in spite of all that, we still choose to run.  Society tends to caustically explain this action as dysfunctional, but I have a different kind of dream, a fantasy that helps me get through reality.  The rest of the world can label it “running away”, but I call it by its rightful name: perseverance.

PS.  Who knew Abba could write such gloomy lyrics?

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I Have A Dream
I have a dream, a song to sing
To help me cope with anything
If you see the wonder of a fairy tale
You can take the future even if you fail
I believe in angels
Something good in everything I see
I believe in angels
When I know the time is right for me
I’ll cross the stream, I have a dream

I have a dream, a fantasy
To help me through reality
And my destination makes it worth the while
Pushing through the darkness still another mile
I believe in angels
Something good in everything I see
I believe in angels
When I know the time is right for me
I’ll cross the stream, I have a dream

I have a dream, a song to sing
To help me cope with anything
If you see the wonder of a fairy tale
You can take the future even if you fail
I believe in angels
Something good in everything I see
I believe in angels
When I know the time is right for me
I’ll cross the stream, I have a dream

Arcade Fire – It’s Never Over (Oh Orpheus)

Orpheus, son of Apollo, was an incredibly gifted musician.  Seriously, his lyre-jammin’ skills were so potent, the Greeks say he could charm the panties off of any mortal, animal, or tree.   He was a crucial member of the Argonauts as they searched out the Golden Fleece…but aside from that, most of Orpheus’ free time was spent playing music and banging broads.  It was a decent life that he’d come to rely upon…well, until Orpheus caught sight of the most captivating soul in the universe, Eurydice.  As evidenced by the below painting, it didn’t take long for both to fall madly in in love and get married.  

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Orpheus and Eurydice were a picture perfect couple; many assumed they’d exist by Thames in a state of constant and complete adoration.  Unfortunately short into their marriage, Eurydice and her crew of Nymphs went wandering into a forest, where Eurydice was bitten by a snake and died.  When Orpheus found out about his lovers fate, he was so intangibly struck with grief that he resigned himself to his music forevermore.  His new batch of songs were so sorrowful that they were mourned by all living creatures in this waking world.

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Under his fathers advice, Orpheus ventured into the Underworld, hellbent on saving his deceased wife.  He ended up before the thrones of Pluto and Proserpine, where he tenderly crooned out all his pain, in hopes of a little supernatural empathy and understanding.  At that very moment, it’s been reported that Orpheus sang so purely that all the ghosts of the Underworld paused in silence.  His ditty definitely moved Pluto, who immediately granted Eurydice passage back to the land of the living.  There was just one catch: Eurydice would have to follow behind Orpheus as they ventured out of the Underworld.  It was to be a long voyage home; Orpheus would have to trust that his beautiful wife was behind him the entire time.  If he looked back to check even once, Eurydice would return to Hades for all of eternity.

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The myth of Orpheus and Eurydice is tragically 100% Greek, so its ending is relatively predictable (AKA all the humans get royally fucked).  After a few temporary setbacks, the unparalleled lovers start the treacherous trek back out of Hades, hiking all the way to a point where they nearly get their lives back.  It’s not until a mere twenty feet from the Underworld’s exit where it all starts falling apart.  Orpheus becomes racked with fear, cant help himself, and glances back to ensure that the love of his life is still there.  Breaking his pact, he’s forced to watch as the ghosts of the Underworld whisk Eurydice away, never to be seen again.

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It’s a morose tale of Loss and Grief – a grim myth that gets even worse for Orpheus, who never truly heals or processes after his lovers death…and as such, finds himself a prisoner to his own melancholy.  (There are several variations of how Orpheus dies, but my favorite is the one where he swears off women and goes full-gay, vapidly banging a sea of men as he obsesses over his grief.  The chicks of Thames get so frustrated with his change in sexual preference that one day, sick of his sad songs, a wild group of horny, drunk Cicone women literally rip him apart at the limbs, putting an end to his ethereal misery. 

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There’s no need to consciously connect any dots here.  While a lot of this story won’t relate to yours, some of the threads do weave themselves into your own personal voyage. That being said, promise me one thing.  You can become a Sad Sally, you can become a crazy cat lady, you can even switch teams and become a full-time lesbian…  Just whatever you end up becoming, please refrain from getting into any situations where your limbs get torn off by a bunch of horny, frustrated bro-bros.  I’m pretty sure, I’ll be the only one nominated out of your crew to clean up that mess…and I swear, if I’m stuck with a mop and bucket, scoopin’ up Dana guts on my day off, I will NOT be a happy camper.

Arcade Fire – It’s Never Over (Oh Orpheus)

Hey, Orpheus!
I’m behind you
Don’t turn around
I can find you

Just wait until it’s over
Wait until it’s through
And if I call for you
Oh, Orpheus!
Just sing for me all night
We’ll wait until it’s over
Wait until it’s through

You say it’s not me, it’s you

Hey, Orpheus!
De l’autre côté de l’eau
Comme un écho
Just wait until it’s over
Wait until it’s through

And if I shout for you
Never doubt
Don’t turn around too soon
Just wait until it’s over
Wait until it’s through

It seems so important now
But you will get over
Seems so important now
But you will get over
And when you get over
And when you get older
Then you will remember
Why it was so important then

Seems like a big deal now
But you will get over
Seems like a big deal now
You will get over
When you get over
When you get older
Then you will discover
That it’s never over

Hey, Eurydice!
Can you see me?
I will sing your name
Til you’re sick of me
Just wait until it’s over
Just wait until it’s through

And if you call for me
This frozen sea
It melts beneath me
Just wait until it’s over
Wait until it’s through

Seems like a big deal now
You will get over
Seems like a big deal now
You will get over
And when you get over
When you get older
You will remember

He told you he’d wake you up
When it was over
He told you he’d wake you up
When it was over
Now that it’s over
Now that you’re older
Then you will discover

It’s never over

Sometime, sometime
Boy, they’re gonna eat you alive
But it’s never gonna happen now
We’ll figure it out somehow

Sometime, sometime
Boy, they’re gonna eat you alive
But it’s never gonna happen now
We’ll figure it out somehow

‘Cause it’s never over
It’s never over!

We stood beside
A frozen sea
I saw you out
In front of me
Reflected light
A hollow moon
Oh Orpheus, Eurydice
Its over too soon

LCD Soundsystem – Part 2 – Home

Heyyyyooooo – one week and counting ’til touchdown!   Start clicking together those ruby reds, Dorothy, for it’s time to come home!

Home
Home, take me home.

Just do it right – make it perfect and real
Because it’s everything (no, everything) was never the deal
So grab your things and stumble into the night
So we can shut the door (oh, shut the door) on terrible times

Yeah, do it right and head again into space
So you can carry on (and carry on) and fall all over the place
This is the trick, forget a terrible year
And we can break the laws until it gets weird

And this is what you waited for,
But under lights, we’re all unsure
So tell me what would make you feel better?

As night has such a local ring
And love and rock are fickle things
And you know it
Yeah, you know it
Yeah, you know

Forget your past – this is your last chance now
And we can break the rules like nothing will last
You might forget, forget the sound of a voice
Still you should not forget – don’t forget – the things that we laughed about

And after rolling on the floor…
And thankfully, a few make sure that you get home
And you stay home and get better

‘Cause you’re afraid of what you need
Yeah, you’re afraid of what you need
If you weren’t, I don’t know what we’d talk about

Yeah, no one ever knows what you’re talking about,
So I guess you’re already there.
No one opens up when you scream and shout,
But it’s time to make a couple things clear.

If you’re afraid of what you need
If you’re afraid of what you need
Look around you, you’re surrounded
It won’t get any better

LCD Soundsystem – Part 1 – Someone Great

I tend to wander all over the place on this blog, but don’t get me wrong, there’s a focused structure and intent to it all.  Time to give you a peek behind the curtain…

Dana Ditty – Rule 1:  Keep the content to Loss or Grief.   This is primarily a music blog about bereavement and the many forms it cruelly cultivates.  I allow myself the freedom to move fluidly throughout this matter, ripping off the band-aid and blurting out whatever bounces around in my oft-rambling, a little-too-truthful mind…but the underlying goal here is to not stray too far off the beaten path and stay on topic.

Dana Ditty – Rule 2: Feature music Dana hasn’t heard before.  If a song is foreign, one can’t have any preconceived feelings or memories attached to it.  Hopefully, that made it easier for you to connect with the music/lyrics – although only you and the Gods will know if that’s true or not.

Dana Ditty – Rule 3:  Make an effort to keep the music accessible and agreeable.  While most of our musical tastes overlap…in some genres, we are world’s apart (ie. MUMFORD AND SONS MAY BE THE WORST THING TO HAPPEN TO FOLK MUSIC, EVAH).  I don’t expect you to connect with – or even appreciate – every song, but if they allow you to feel marginally less alone in your Loss…then in my heart, this lil’ project has been a resounding success.

Dana Ditty – Rule 4: Never use the same band twice.   I never wanted this to be a static experience for you.  Changing up the bands every day – and as a result, the music genres – conceivably ensures that you are not being bombarded with the same sad song over and over again.

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I must admit, when you told me you were coming home earlier than scheduled, I was excited…but also a bit relieved.  I’ve come to find this music blog incredibly cathartic and filled with purpose…but these weird, self-imposed rules I placed on myself have started to creatively box me in as of late.   Think about it.  So far, I’ve had to unearth 32 different bands that have tight, accessible songs about Loss that you’ve never heard before…and then I gotta relate that music to some aspect of your perdition.  The first three weeks were a breeze…but as my catalog of grief-based songs started to thin, I found myself at odds, racking my brain for more content.

Last week, I reached out to several audiophile friends of mine to solicit more songs about Loss.  None of them explicitly knew what was going on in this blog…so I got a lot of music that was either inappropriate or had already been deployed.   That being said, there was one suggestion that I hadn’t used yet which was consistent from all of them: LCD Soundsystem’s Someone Great.

For me, LCD Soundsystem is one the most prolific electronic rock bands to grace the 21st century.  I’m not going to dissect this song (Kristen Hellwig does an excellent job of breaking it down in her Medium essay Why “Someone Great” is the Best Song About Loss Ever Written)…but I must say, I’m a bit conflicted on burning my LCD Soundsytem blog post on Someone Great, especially since I’ve been sitting on a different LCD Soundsystem jam for a couple weeks now, waiting for the right time to drop it into your ears.

My anal-retentiveness knows no bounds….

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Rules, rules, rules.  Aren’t there supposed to be no rules to grief?  Good, because I’m breaking Rule 4 this weekend.  Today is Synthpop Saturday, so have fun tapping your feet  to the whirling sounds of synthesizers, drum machines, and glockenspiels.  Tomorrow, you’ll get a more hopeful LCD Soundsytem ditty, but for today…well, prepare to have your heart broken when you peruse through the lyrics.  There’s a reason why Someone Great has been consistently lauded as one of the most consummate songs of the past two decades – in it’s warmth, lingers an inconsolable amount of human despair…

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Someone Great
I wish that we could talk about it – but there, that’s the problem…
With someone new I couldn’t start it – it’s too late for beginnings.
The little things that made me nervous are gone in a moment.
I miss the way we used to argue, locked in your basement.

I wake up and the phone is ringing – surprised, as it’s early.
And that should be the perfect warning that something’s a problem.
To tell the truth I saw it coming – the way, you were breathing…
But nothing can prepare you for it – the voice, on the other, end.

The worst is all the lovely weather – I’m stunned, it’s not raining.
The coffee isn’t even bitter -because, what’s the difference?
There’s all the work that needs to be done – it’s too late for revision.
There’s all the time and all the planning…and songs, to be finished.

And it keeps coming,
And it keeps coming,
And it keeps coming till the day it stops.

I wish that we could talk about it – but there, that’s the problem.
With someone new I could have started – it’s too late for beginnings.
You’re smaller than my wife imagined – she’s surprised you were human.
There shouldn’t be this ring of silence…but what  are the options?

When someone great is gone…

We’re safe for the moment.
Saved for the moment.

Bruce Springsteen – Bobby Jean

Here’s a heart-on-your sleeve, empathetic jam that guided me through many of my darker days in 2016.  I don’t know if you’re anything like me…but if you are, turn this mofo all the way up, close your eyes, and belt the lyrics out from the bottom of your heart.

Well, unless you’re in the car.  Then I’d heavily advise against closing your eyes.

Bobby Jean
Well I came by your house the other day, your mother said you went away
She said there was nothing that I could have done
There was nothing nobody could say
Me and you we’ve known each other ever since we were sixteen
I wished I would have known I wished I could have called you
Just to say goodbye Bobby Jean

Now you hung with me when all the others turned away turned up their nose
We liked the same music we liked the same bands we liked the same clothes
We told each other that we were the wildest, the wildest things we’d ever seen
Now I wished you would have told me I wished I could have talked to you
Just to say goodbye Bobby Jean

Now we went walking in the rain talking about the pain from the world we hid
Now there ain’t nobody nowhere nohow gonna ever understand me the way you did
Maybe you’ll be out there on that road somewhere
In some bus or train traveling along
In some motel room there’ll be a radio playing
And you’ll hear me sing this song
Well if you do you’ll know I’m thinking of you and all the miles in between
And I’m just calling one last time not to change your mind
But just to say I miss you baby, good luck goodbye, Bobby Jean

Gosh Pith – Waves

Whoop, whoop!  Let’s give it up for Theistic Thursdays, ’cause tonight I went to the bar and learned all about Scientology!

(Let me preface what I’m about to type down by disclosing that I gathered the following “facts” secondhand from a drunken Bolivian at a hipster-doofus bar.  I, of course, was completely and truly sober, like always.  Never do I dabble in forms of intoxication.  In fact, I’m as clear-headed as one could possibly be right now…)

Have you ever thought to yourself, Hmmm, I wonder how Scientologists deal with major emotional trauma?  Great question, Dana!  Scientologists process their trauma by comprehensively auditing their electodermal levels with a tool called an E-Meter.  (Just roll with it, Dana – and don’t you dare ask any follow-up questions.  TRUST ME, I WILL NOT HAVE THE ANSWERS.)

Here’s a pic of what one of these E-Meters look like:

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Sike!  That’s just a pic of some dude holding onto two aluminum cans.  Here’s a pic of the real bad boy in action:

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The E-Meter is a self-professed, crude lie detector.  While the Church of Scientology open declares that an E-Meter “by itself does nothing” (and, better yet, that an E-Meter’s usage is reserved “for spiritual purpose only”), the general belief is that if you hold onto each of the metal canisters, the E-Meter will measure how your spiritual self reacts to an electric current that the E-Machine produces.  See, it all hinges on this little, pointy plastic needle.  When the needle spikes, it denotes a distinct negativity in your spiritual aura, usually either a loss, lie, or rift that’s causing an energetic disagreement with reality.

JUST KEEP ON ROLLIN’ WITH IT, DANA…

A Church-sponsored Auditor (counselor) utilizes the E-Meter to drill down to your core trauma via a series of planned questions, ultimately giving you a true vision of the memory that’s directly attached to your trauma.  Essentially,  the Auditor asks you to recall the memory in question.  If during your recollections, the E-Meter’s needle spikes, you have hidden, negative issues that need to be revealed.  The Auditor then asks you to start the story over from the beginning.  This happens every time the needle spikes.  You restart the memory over and over and over again…’til you can complete a full recollection of your trauma without any negative E-Meter spikes.

In short, the underlying belief here is that trauma births a caustic energy inside us all…and the E-Meter’s end goal is to release that energy from our inner spirit.

That’s all I got for you tonight when it comes to blogging, Dana – oh wait, I totally forgot!  We can’t have a post without any pithy morals!

The morals of this story are two-fold.

  1. TO APPROPRIATELY HEAL, WE NEED TO GET OUR PAWS ON AN E-METER STAT.
  2. There is no correct methodology to dealing with emotional trauma.  Dana, you’re stuck in the middle right now, longing to let go of all of the agony in your life.  All those horrid thoughts and feelings, blocking you from moving on to a better mental state…  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it may take months, it may take years…just do whatever it takes to drag yourself, kicking and screaming, into the next chapter of your life.   Even if it’s totally weird, like getting a legit audit of your electodermal levels, THEN DO IT.   The people who don’t understand will naturally judge you as a big, giant weirdo, but who gives a damn what anyone else really thinks?  There is no right and wrong here.  There is just a singular goal: your happiness.

Remember, even when life feels like it’s not okay, it’s totally okay to feel that way.  Be whomever you need to be right now…and when you’re done bearing the brunt of your pain, see if you can plan a way to carefully let it all go.  It may not happen sooner than later, but your aura will swing back towards the light.  That fact, in and of itself, is one of the universal, cyclical Truths of Life.

Take it from someone who’s had his reality completely shattered less than a year ago.  The only good thing about being at rock bottom?  There’s no other way to go but up…

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Waves
Wanna let it go!

Waves will bring you down
Backwards to the ground
And waves will guide you home,
When you feel you’re far too grown
You know it when you’re head over heels
And it hits, these kids always steal my thunder

Wanna let it go!

Waves, they go break it down,
When you’re lost, you can’t be found
But it’s been getting harder to move on with other things
And I don’t give a damn what anybody really thinks
I spend my allowance on all these pretty things
It’s been getting harder, surely so much harder to let go
Let it go, let go

All these conversations…

Wanna let it go!

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings – 100 Days, 100 Nights

And so it has come to pass.  100 days.  

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In life, anniversaries are normally reserved for celebrations of love, achievement, partnership, and progress.

  • Marriages
  • Birthdays
  • Graduations
  • Holidays
  • Revolutions
  • Jubilees

The one, fundamental talking point shared among all these occasions is that they allow us to honor and commemorate the most distinguished moments of our lives.  This is true of nearly all anniversaries across the board – so much so, that it’s incredibly rare for an anniversary to canonize anything unfavorable.  There are only two unearthly moments that come to my mind: Death & Divorce (Which I’m beginning to think would’ve been a more appropriate title for this blog).

Death & Divorce are darkened beacons; they signal us back to points in our lives that we’d sincerely prefer to forget.  Who wants to remember the final days of despair?  I surely don’t.  Yes, there’s beauty in every waking moment but, come on…endings are the worst.  If I was forced to choose a significant moment in my marriage to memorialize,  I’m relatively certain it would not be that one time I publicly broke my heart in front of a courtroom of greased-up divorce attorneys and an unmoved judge.  I won’t speculate about Death, but I assume it holds similar notions…

Today is 101 days from Brad’s passing, but for me, it marks 100 days of tribute and remembrance, birthed from one of the most cathartic violences of my life: The destruction of my next-door neighbors 50″ flat screen TV (surrounded by a cascade of outdated, plastic electronics and ceramics, lest we never forget…)

The prior week had been such a long, harrowing pathway of unlettered emotions.  The frustrations…the suffering…the pain…  I could sense the darkness building in all of us.    I must admit, when you and Margo first brought up the idea of destroying a TV, I deemed you both mildly insane.  100 days later, in retrospect, a Monday night of mild insanity (soundtracked by Zach de la Rocha and the rest of the Rage clan) was exactly what the doctor ordered.  For me, it signaled the end of an era, but it also called upon new beginnings.  That night was the beginning of honoring Brad’s legacy.  It was also the first day we slowly and brutally allowed ourselves to start healing.

Do you remember much of that night?  Man oh man, your pack of wild and unruly lasses laid waste to my alley!  It definitely was a sight to see.  I’d never witnessed such anger from you all.  It was a righteous and comforting fury, but nothing I’d ever seen before in my lifetime.  When the dust cleared, my roommate and I marveled at how much destruction five tiny ladies could levy in such a short period of time.  There were a few large pieces of plastic remaining, but aside from the TV, everything else was fiercely smashed to smithereens.

That night, I made a vow to leave that half-smashed TV on my front porch for 100 days.  Partially it was to mourn, but mainly it was to pay tribute to my great friend and peer, Frosted.  Every time I’d come home, I’d see that TV (which took on different forms over the winter as the glass decomposed into itself) and be reminded of Brad…my Love for him…or the very cleansing memory of that first night, when we all huddled together and tried not go absolutely insane without him in our lives.

Today marks the end of those 100 days.  During that time, I’ve had varied interpretations of my porch.  Some called it art.  Others called it blight.  Some came by weekly and took pictures.  Others made jokes.  Most encouraged me and only one semi-threatened me over it (I nearly hatchet’ed him for physically removing it from its sanctioned perch).  Honestly, I could care less what anyone else thought about that television.  It wasn’t for them.  It was for me and Brad…and for anyone else who was forced to remember and pay tribute to the first 100 days of being robbed of his life.

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It will be hard to take this bad boy down tomorrow.  Endings truly are the worst.

100 Days, 100 Nights
100 days, 100 nights
To know a man’s heart
100 days, 100 nights
To know a man’s heart
And a little more
Before he knows his own

You know a man
Can play the part
Of a saint
Just so long
For a day comes
When his true, his true self unfolds

Yes it does
He maybe mellow
He maybe kind
Treat you good
All the time

But there’s something just beyond what he’s told

100 days, 100 nights
To know a man’s heart
100 days, 100 nights
To know a man’s heart
And a little more
Before he knows his own

Wait a minute
Maybe I need to slow it down just a little
Take my time

I had a man
Tell me things
Made me feel
Just like a queen
And I thought
He was the one
I would hold
Oh yes I did
But one day
I looked around
That old man
Was nowhere to be found
100 days for this heart to unfold

100 days, 100 nights
To know a man’s heart
100 days, 100 nights
To know a man’s heart
And a little more
Before he knows his own

Jeremy Enigk – Been Here Before

I can’t tell you how hypnagogic this past month has been, rummaging through the bowels of my music library, searching for only the most appropriate Dana Ditty of the day.  Some of these songs are surreal blasts from the past…

Back in my more-angsty days, I jammed out to Jeremy Enigk’s emo-anthem Been Here Before with a fervor that bordered on obsessive.  For a solid two years, this was one of those rock ballads I’d hunt down on my MP3 Player…and then just press “repeat”.  It’s embarrassing to openly admit this on the Internet, but there’s a good probability I’ve listened to this song well over three thousand times.

That being said, while re-reading the lyrics tonight for the first time in over a decade, I found the words transforming before my eyes, bursting with new meaning and context.  It seems I interpreted this song much differently in my twenties than I do today.   I wonder, is this because I never truly listened to the lyrics or is it because I’ve finally lived through enough loss to actually get it?  Maybe it’s both…

Any way you slice it, Been There Before now reads like a haughty Emily Dickinson poem; a tender ode to personal loss that focuses on what happens when grief and lack of direction drives one to inconsolably spin their wheels.

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Been Here Before
Been here before.
Though there’s something in the air this time.
Don’t wanna give away what I’ve taken back,
Run away with you toward the night.

A thousand names.
Though there’s something in me cannot smile,
Don’t wanna spend the day retracing steps.
Run away with you toward the light.

I can’t stay long in the morning.
Another one went wrong,
It’s okay…

Now that you’re gone…
Only in your eyes – a sudden need denied.
I sympathize.

A diamond daze
A thousand strands of sunlight in your eyes.
Now I wanna give away what I’ve taken back.
Step away with you toward the night.

I can’t stay long in the morning.
Another one went wrong
It’s okay…

Now that you’re gone…
Only in your eyes –  a sudden need denied,
I empathize.

Now that you’re gone…
Hurry up and sleep,
To the night you go.

DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – Parents Just Don’t Understand

On tender days like these, when frustrations rise and true patience gets tested, try and find solace in this solitary fact:  Even the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air had to put up with an overbearing, under-sympathetic mother.  

Mr. Smith’s final analysis?  There’s no need to argue with them, parent’s just don’t understand.

Good luck and godspeed.  You’re going to need it.

Parents Just Don’t Understand
You know parents are the same no matter time nor place
They don’t understand that us kids are gonna make some mistakes
So to you, all the kids all across the land
There’s no need to argue, parents just don’t understand

I remember one year
My mom took me school shopping
It was me, my brother, my mom, oh, my pop, and my little sister
All hopped in the car
We headed downtown to the Gallery Mall
MY mom started bugging with the clothes she chose
I didn’t say nothing at first
I just turned up my nose
She said, “What’s wrong? This shirt cost $20”
I said, “Mom, this shirt is plaid with a butterfly collar!”
The next half hour was the same old thing
My mother buying me clothes from 1963
And then she lost her mind and did the ultimate
I asked her for Adidas and she bought me Zips!
I said, “Mom, what are you doing, you’re ruining my rep”
She said, “You’re only sixteen, you don’t have a rep yet”
I said, “Mom, let’s put these clothes back, please”
She said “no, you go to school to learn not for a fashion show”
I said, “This isn’t Sha Na Na, come on Mom, I’m not Bowzer
Mom, please put back the bell-bottom Brady Bunch trousers
But if you don’t want to I can live with that but
You gotta put back the double-knit reversible slacks”
She wasn’t moved – everything stayed the same
Inevitably the first day of school came
I thought I could get over, I tried to play sick
But my mom said, “No, no way, uh-uh, forget it”
There was nothing I could do, I tried to relax
I got dressed up in those ancient artifacts
And when I walked into school, it was just as I thought
The kids were cracking up laughing at the clothes Mom bought
And those who weren’t laughing still had a ball
Because they were pointing and whispering
As I walked down the hall
I got home and told my Mom how my day went
She said, “If they were laughing you don’t need them,
Cause they’re not good friends”
For the next six hours I tried to explain to my Mom
That I was gonna have to go through this about 200 more times
So to you all the kids all across the land
There’s no need to argue
Parents just don’t understand

Oh-kay, here’s the situation
My parents went away on a week’s vacation and
They left the keys to the brand new Porsche
Would they mind?
Umm, well, of course not
I’ll just take it for a little spin
And maybe show it off to a couple of friends
I’ll just cruise it around the neighborhood
Well, maybe I shouldn’t
Yeah, of course I should
Pay attention, here’s the thick of the plot
I pulled up to the corner at the end of my block
That’s when I saw this beautiful girlie girl walking
I picked up my car phone to perpetrate like I was talking
You should’ve seen this girl’s bodily dimensions
I honked my horn just to get her attention
She said, “Was that for me?”
I said, “Yeah”
She said, “Why?”
I said, “Come on and take a ride with a helluva guy”
She said, “How do I know you’re not sick?
You could be some deranged lunatic”
I said, “C’mon toots – my name is the Prince =
Beside, would a lunatic have a Porsche like this?”
She agreed and we were on our way
She was looking very good and so was I, I must say – word
We hit McDonald’s, pulled into the drive
We ordered two Big Macs and two large fries with Cokes
She kicked her shoes off onto the floor
She said, “Drive fast, speed turns me on”
She put her hand on my knee, I put my foot on the gas
We almost got whiplash, I took off so fast
The sun roof was open , the music was high
And this girl’s hand was steadily moving up my thigh
She had opened up three buttons on her shirt so far
I guess that’s why I didn’t notice that police car
We’re doing ninety in my Mom’s new Porsche
And to make this long story short – short
When the cop pulled me over I was scared as hell
I said, “I don’t have a license but I drive very well, officer”
I almost had a heart attack that day
Come to find out the girl was a twelve-year-old runaway
I was arrested, the car was impounded
There was no way for me to avoid being grounded
My parents had to come off from vacation to get me
I’d rather be in jail than to have my father hit me
My parents walked in
I got my grip, I said, “Ah, Mom, Dad, how was your trip?”
They didn’t speak – I said, “I want to plead my case”
But my father just shoved me in the car by my face
That was a hard ride home, I don’t know how I survived
They took turns – one would beat me while the other was driving
I can’t believe it, I just made a mistake
Well parents are the same no matter time nor place
So to you all the kids all across the land
Take it from me, parents just don’t understand

!!! – Get That Rhythm Right

In its natural state, heavy emotional trauma begets four horsemen:  Pain…Depression…Anxiety…and Stress.  Each are cunning demons in their own right; each must be conquered if one ever expects to fully heal.

—————

When Melanie first moved out, I blinded myself to my new reality.  The final months of our relationship had been so exceedingly brutal and absent the fundamental tenets of Love, that when we finally threw in the towel, I downright relished not being forced to juggle all the jagged lil’ conflicts of our marital discord.  I’m a Problem Solver at my very core.  When I realized that I didn’t have to keep banging my head against the wall, contemplating all the ways I couldn’t solve an already-insolvent marriage…well, it felt like the concrete shoes cast around my feet had finally been shattered.  I was completely alone for the first time in a decade…but weird enough, I started humming to myself again.  And singing to the cat.   There was an extra spring in my step.  It was a surreal period in my life; the first round of waves to wash over my fragile form were that of bliss and gratitude.

As it goes with the tide, those initial highs were temporary in nature…and swiftly followed by larger, more menacing waves, those of Pain…Depression…Anxiety…and Stress.

After the good times dissipated, I stumbled through the Fall of 2016 feeling like I was a stranger to myself.  It’s hard to describe, but I often found myself outside my own body, peeking in and wondering if my life had entirely mutated into that of a muted crisis.

Now that I think about it, my crisis may not have been that muted; I distinctly remember getting a few concerned phone calls, inquiring how I was handling being in crisis mode.  In customary Suneil fashion, I gave those inquiring minds the ol’ wink & nod, retorting back that I considered my entire life to be one big existential crisis.  All sarcasm aside, the truth still remained….Melanie and I had spent nine incredible years, loving one another from a shared foundation of belief, passion, and joy.  For most of our relationship, our hearts aligned to beat as one.  Once a couple gets that rhythm right, it’s a tiny slice of Hell accepting that you have to say good night to it all.   Pain…Depression…Anxiety…and Stress.  There could be no other way.

—————-

Emotional trauma rearranges the way your brain operates.  It creates a chemical imbalance so severe that it neurologically affects the way we perceive reality:

Crisis mode can easily become a way of life.   Processes are set in motion that establish a constant state of agitation. The persistence of these symptoms, occurring separately or together, shut down the brain’s self-soothing responses. The ability to detect conflict, problem-solve, and respond appropriately are lost. The brain’s ability to make decisions based upon order of importance is diminished. Choices are made out of a sense of desperation. The wisdom of experience becomes inaccessible. The brain releases more glutamate, the main excitatory neurotransmitter. When more glutamate is released into mood and pain pathways, the brain becomes too excited.  The person experiencing these changes feels unrelenting pain and a constant state of dread. Expectations of more pain and more depression take over.

It’s a vicious little cycle, is it not?

  1. Trauma causes crisis.
  2. Crisis causes us to operate from a fear-based platform.
  3. Fear amplifies the trauma.
  4. Rinse and repeat.

—————-

Society consistently lauds self-awareness as a vital component to human growth, but being aware of your problems blows when you have no clue how to solve them.  Once again, it feels like I’m outside of myself looking in, except this time, I’m all like: Oh, good for you, Suneil.  You can recognize your pain and anxiety?  You can analyze your stress and your depressive mood?  Great, now that those exercises in futility are over, how’s your life feeling?  Oh, EXACTLY the same?  Awesome.

And then there’s the weight of our guilt, which I assume is solely reserved for people like Dana and Suneil.  Most folk waddle through severe emotional crises by being utterly selfish and focusing on the only thing that matters: the safeguarding of their own mental health.  And that’s how it should be…but for insufferable fools like ourselves, we get the added benevolence of feeling guilty over that selfishness.  Our trauma causes us to act out in dysfunctional ways that are totally predictable and understandable…but we like to make ourselves feel bad about it.  I know I’ve had several hard internal debates, where I savagely berate myself saying,  It’s okay to feel all the feelings, Suneil…but seriously, there are plenty of others who have it much worse than you…so. grow. the. fuck. up.

—————-

Once again, let me preface this next part by saying, I’ve no idea if this is healthy or not, but one of the ways I’ve been able to find peace within all this madness is by actually embracing my lifelong existential crisis.  And it goes a little something like this…

I can be consumed by my Pain…Depression…Anxiety…or Stress.  I can be self-aware.  I can even be encumbered by my own weird guilt.  I can be and feel whatever I want.  In the end, none of it matters for the universe remains indifferent.

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I know, it’s a dark universal truth to stand behind, but honestly, it’s helped make me feel at ease with my own loss…without minimizing it either, which I think is an important distinction to note.  There’s a certain beauty and condolence in knowing that, while my entire world may feel consumed by trauma at times, the only one who’s constructed that reality is myself.  Nobody else is in charge of my feelings but me.

Of course, soaking your freshly freed feet in a hot, steaming tub of nihilism isn’t going to solve anything.  I truly believe that we’re born into a fear-based world…and the only way to combat this determent is by building love-based relationships.  It’s just…I don’t want to keep sitting in neutral, grinding all my gears.   Sometimes I need to be pushed forward, one step at a time, whether I like it or not.  And sure, everyone has their own personal cocktails for processing grief, but for me, sometimes that means swallowing my pride, remembering how truly insignificant I am, and letting that simple truth propel me past the demons that temporarily plague my waking days.

On that note, here’s a song I jam out to when I want to get slapped in the face, told to get up, and keep on moving.

Get That Rhythm Right
There are those who wear regrets
Like some kind of badge
So proud of what we all had
But I don’t cry about the could’ves
Worry bout the would’ves
And I sure don’t give a shit about the should’ves

So you think you’ve had it tough
Had it tougher than the rest of us
You just couldn’t take it when it got too much
Should’ve known then you would end up
Just like every other coulda been a contender
Telling boring stories how you’d rather remember

Once you get that rhythm right
Baby it’s hard to say good night
Once you get that rhythm right
Who’s asking?

I suppose it’s never enough
You get what you want, then you want what was
But I’d rather worry about my existential crisis
Laying on a beach where the sun sets the nicest

Once you get that rhythm right
Baby it’s hard to say good night
Once you get that rhythm right
It’s hard to live another life
Who’s asking?

Pushed aside, but he didn’t fight back
It’s your life, you shouldn’t treat it like that

Iamamiwhoami – Chasing Kites

Bust out your favorite drum machine and your moodiest pair of dancing shoes! Tonight calls for yet another rousing installment of Synthpop Saturday!

Let us swallow every bitter wrong that’s befallen our lives this past year, bury our heads in the sand, and wait out these storms.  Sometimes one just needs to bide their time until the air clears and gentler winds start to blow…

Chasing Kites
It’s a thin thin line and I’ve walked both sides of it
Seen the other side appear so tempting worth dying for it
And your limbs aching out of want
Absorbing your every thought
Worth risking it all for working its wonders, now for you

Over the ocean, outcast, with nowhere to go (nowhere to go, nowhere to go)
A brighter forecast, new winds will blow (we let go, let it go)
The storm that’s drawing near, will calm and the air will clear
Waste my youth chasing kites, I know will blow out of my hands

Push our heads in the sand, there is nothing here to seek
No discovery of mine will be safe in these seas
You feel that bitter taste on your tongue
Swallow your every wrong
Let your sins fill your lungs
Ending all worries now for you

Over the ocean, outcast, with nowhere to go (nowhere to go, nowhere to go)
A brighter forecast, new winds will blow (we let go, let it go)
The storm that’s drawing near, will calm and the air will clear
Waste my youth chasing kites I know will blow out of my hands

Overlooking our past letting it go
A brighter forecast, new winds will blow
The storm that’s drawing near, will calm when the air is cleared
Waste my youth chasing kites I know will blow

The Cure – Pictures of You

Grief is an astonishingly personal affliction.  It interacts with each of us on such a unique and intimate level that it pushes us to separately process our pain in ways only we can discern.

Pictures.  I just don’t know how you can look at all the pictures of you and Brad.  I mean, I get why you do it, I just don’t know how you can mentally handle it without succumbing to that cimmerian shade.  I try my best to stay away from Frosted’s FB page, because it reminds me too much of the loss of his light – so much so, it engenders a misery that often frightens me to my core.

Not so ironically, a pattern emerges, ’cause ever since the divorce, I’ve avoided nearly all photos of Melanie and I.  (Yes, yes, this is not a healthy way to exist – but really, is there anything healthy about processing loss?  Every angle is ugly and flawed.)  In the end, regardless of it being Melanie or Brad, the images remind me of the enchantment we shared and the Love we fostered…the Love that’s now disappeared to some far, unreachable place.

This is what I do when confronted with agony.  I ignore.  I run away.  I make jokes.  I try to forget.  I AVOID.

Ha!  The stilted paradox here is that it’s impossible to avoid pain.  Pain is real and true…and it’s part of what we sign up for when we agree to dedicate ourselves to Love-based relationships.  So, as much as I try to overlook the memories – and the pictures that capture those memories oh so vividly – it’s absurd for me to attempt to erase them from my heart.  They’re destined to sit there, forever ruminating back and forth, round and round.

All that being said, ’tis is a season for forced growth…and I’m trying to be better at facing the pictures of my past.   I have a couple favorites of Brad and I that sit on my computer’s desktop.  This one always makes me smile/cry:

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This bad boy’s a double whammy, ’cause not only is it a killer snapshot of us both fat and happy, it’s also from Melanie and my Sangeet, literally the day before we professed our undying Love for one another in front of all our family and friends.  Melanie and I opted to have the Sangeet primarily to appease my parents’ needs.  They wanted to share and celebrate our upcoming nuptials with all hundred kabillion of their closest friends…and since we didn’t want a clusterfuck of a jammed wedding, we obliged and let them have their party.  To be honest, half the attendees were literal strangers to me that night.  Still, there were a select few of our allies who got to participate in the festivities…and that made the experience momentous.  You, Ashley, Brad, and Daniel were naturally expected to attend.

I don’t really need to see the above picture every day, it’s one of those classic portraits that’s seared into my brain.  Nonetheless, every time I force myself to take an actual gander, for the slightest of seconds it feels like he’s not gone and just a phone call away.

Is that what you feel when you pour over all your pictures?  You don’t need to answer that one, this song does a good enough job of fielding that query for the both of us…

Pictures of You
I’ve been looking so long at these pictures of you
That I almost believe that they’re real
I’ve been living so long with my pictures of you
That I almost believe that the pictures are all I can feel

Remembering you
Standing quiet in the rain
As I ran to your heart to be near
And we kissed as the sky fell in
Holding you close
How I always held close in your fear

Remembering you
Running soft through the night
You were bigger and brighter and whiter than snow
Screamed at the make-believe
Screamed at the sky
And you finally found all your courage
To let it all go

Remembering you
Fallen into my arms
Crying for the death of your heart
You were stone white
So delicate and lost in the cold
You were always so lost in the dark

Remembering you
How you used to be
Slow drowned
You were angels
So much more than everything
Hold for the last time then slip away quietly
I’d open my eyes, but I never see anything

If only I’d thought of the right words
I could have held onto your heart
If only I’d thought of the right words
I wouldn’t be breaking apart all my pictures of you

Looking so long at these pictures of you
But I never hold on to your heart
Looking so long for the words to be true
But always just breaking apart
My pictures of you

There was nothing in the world
That I ever wanted more
Than to feel you deep in my heart
There was nothing in the world
That I ever wanted more
Than to never feel the breaking apart
All my pictures of you

Andrew Bird – Sifters

I don’t claim to know much about Love.

I think Love comes from a higher source, a silky provenience that no science or religion has yet to sufficiently explain…but honestly, the court’s out on that one.  I assume the only way we get to experience Love is by openly permitting it into our hearts – but who knows, maybe there are other ways to breathe in that level of peace and harmony.

Maybe we grow Love inside our souls like timid lil’ chemists…and our life’s mission is to consistently give it away to all we know and see.  Maybe Love isn’t grown within, maybe it touches every part of this universe…and our core nature is to soak in as much of it before we’re not allowed to go any further.

Maybe time is relative and there no beginning or end to Love.  Maybe it exists in infinity form and we can only appreciate the dimensions of Love that our ever-so-limited minds can comprehend.

Maybe we haven’t evolved enough to accurately interpret that sacred bond that emits from Love.  Maybe it’s so complicated and abstruse that Love is truly indescribable, only to be written about in the abstract and seen through eyes of wanton wonder.

Like I said, I don’t claim to know much about Love.  I’m just here for the ride…

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The Sifters
If sound is a wave – like a wave on the ocean,
And the moon plays the ocean like a violin,
Pushing and pulling from shore to shore,
Biggest melody you never heard before.
What if I were the night sky?
Here’s my lullaby to leave by…

What if we hadn’t been born at the same time?
What if you were 75 and I were 9?
Would I come visit you?
Bring you cookies in an old folks home?
Would you be there alone?

And when the late summer lightning fires off in your arms…
will I remember to breathe – no I never will!
And if I could convince you that I mean you no harm,
Just want to show you how not to need.
What if I were the night sky?
Here’s my lullaby to leave by…

What if we hadn’t been each other at the same time?
Would you tell me all the stories from when you were young and in your prime?
Would I rock you to sleep?
Would you tell all the secrets you don’t need to keep?
Would I still miss you?
And would you then have been mine?

If sound is a wave – like a wave on the ocean,
And the moon plays the ocean like a violin,
Pushing and pulling from shore to shore,
Biggest melody you never heard before.
What if I were the night sky?
Here’s my lullaby to leave by.

Shins – Sleeping Lessons

For most people, internal change is usually met with the darkest shade of resistance.  Nobody likes changing who they are.  “Change” usually means “different”…and “different” means “strange”, “uncomfortable”, and “scary”. (Ironically, in the dictionary, “different” doesn’t maintain any of those definitions.  It’s one of those fun words that we humans like to unleash all our quirky fears upon.)

As a result of our attitudes towards change, most folk choose to constantly surround themselves with people/places/things they deem familiar.  I find that a little weird, because while I love my creature comforts just like the next guy, this past decade I’ve fallen madly in love with reinvention.  For me, “change” means “growth”…and growth normally fosters a better sense of purpose and understanding.

But, please…just because I openly boast a fetish towards reinvention, doesn’t mean I like getting tossed into the flames and being forced to change.  Growth is wonderful when you’re in control and can set your own terms.  But when you’re spiraling out of control –  which is exactly the case when one’s heart has been broken by heavy trauma –  ugh, change can be the worst.  Instinct usually kicks in, and on some guttural level, we adapt into these vile, sad creatures we’ve never seen before.  And that transformation is far from wonderful…it’s actually quite painful.

Dana, this past year you’ve been dragged against your will into a personal crossroad…and like all crossroads, you will have the rest of your waking life to make two decisions.  First will be:  Do you want to remain in the past or do you want to move forward?  Unless you’re either a genius or cold-hearted prick, you pretty much will make this first decision over and over and over again, until you realize…Hey!  Sitting here in the middle of this road isn’t really making me very happy…and then you’ll be granted the second decision:  Okay, now that you want to move forward, where do you want to go?

You’re coming home soon…and while I imagine you long to be back in your own comfort zone, I also imagine you’ll get a sense that things over here aren’t the same since you left.  Trust me on this one, ain’t shit going on over here – we’re all the same we ever were.  The only thing that’s radically changed – and that’s continuing to radically change – is that disconsolate lil’ girl in the middle of the Utah desert, who’s busy letting her grief eviscerate her over and over again.

What will come out of your rebirth?  Fuck if I know.  I’ve no idea what my future holds, what would ever possess me to know yours?  Just know that your life, while miserable and vacant without Brad, is far from over.  The darkness may loom over your broken heart like a flock of unrelenting vultures, eager to feast off your ever-flowing sorrow…but just because that’s the mental state where you currently reside, doesn’t mean that’s where you shall live out the rest of your existence.  Trust me, you broke from the mold ages ago and you’re going to do a million and one amazing things with the rest of your life, as long as you continue to ignore the noise and focus on what brings you true happiness.

And, agreed, you’re evolving at a million miles a minute right now, what could you possibly know about your new, true happiness?  Don’t worry about that part – it’ll come with enough time, reflection, and self-growth.  Just feel this in your bones: you owe nothing to the past or present.   Your obligations are now yours and yours alone – and while that has to make you feel terrified and alone – if it’s at all possible, try and examine the wonder and endless possibilities that accompany your new reality.  This is still your life…and though you’re at rock bottom, you get to choose how you rise from your ashes and dictate the next chapter of your life.

shins

George Bernard Shaw was right.  Life isn’t about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself.

Sleeping Lessons
Go without, ’til the need seeps in, you low animal
Collect your novel petals for the stem

And glow, glow, melt and flow
Eviscerate your fragile frame and spill it out on the ragged floor
A thousand different versions of yourself

And if the old God’s still offend
They got nothing left on which you depend
So enlist every ounce of your bright blood
And off with their heads!
Jump from that hook –  you’re not obliged to swallow anything you despise
See, those unrepenting buzzards want your life – and they got no right!
As sure as you have eyes, they got no right!

Just put yourself in my new shoes
And see that I do what I do, because the old God’s still defend

(petty guards with shiny hands)
We got nothing left on which we depend
So enlist every ounce of your bright blood
And off with their heads
Jump from that hook –  you’re not obliged to swallow anything you despise

Built to Spill – Strange

You know I love you, right?

I preface this post with that statement, because while I’m always here for you during your time of mourning…today, I’m going to write about one of the more selfish reasons I’ve grown so close to you this past year…

me2

Nobody completely knows another human being.  In our lifetime, we build and maintain hundreds, maybe even thousands of basic connections with others.  On rare occasions, with guided and guarded approval, we even allow a special set of loved ones to peer deep into our soul, so much so that they understand and accept us more than everyone else on this planet combined.  Alas, the truth remains that our consciousnesses is ours and ours alone.  The best we can do is communicate how we interpret reality to those around us…and hope nobody locks us away in a loony bin because of it.  It’s as close as we’re allowed to touch upon true unity.

———————-

The number one question I’ve been asked in 2017 is: How are you?  On the cover, it’s a normal surface question…but after getting lobbed that query an unimaginable amount of times in just a few months, I finally recognized what everyone’s really asking me is: How are you…dealing with your pain?

When I’m being lazy, I say EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!  With closer friends, I try and paint a picture of some various complexity that begets one’s life when they no longer can rely on the one person they’ve grown to completely rely upon.  Sometimes I speak of the loss, other times I speak of the confusion.  There’s grief, anger, guilt, uncertainty, joy, fear – the list goes on and on.  Sometimes I’ll even whisper of the sticky layer of relationship-based pessimism that’s hardening within me.  But really, none of it matters.  Mostly, when the words spill from my mouth, people just nod their heads and say whatever the fuck they’re supposed to say when faced with the uncomfortable truth of someone else’s devastation…

  • I’m sorry.
  • I don’t know what to say.
  • You’ll get through it.
  • You’re in my thoughts and prayers.
  • I know how you feel.
  • You’re handling this better than I thought.
  • It gets better.
  • God has a plan for you still.
  • There’s a reason for everything.
  • Let me know if there’s anything I can do for you. (Anything, Steve?  Do tell…)

Whether they’re not listening or I’m not saying it right, the fact remains that very few understand my plight.

That doesn’t mean I’m completely alone.  Even though they don’t understand what I’m going through, I still have a bunch of friends who profoundly love and care for me – and that’s incredibly meaningful and valuable!  Equally as valuable, I’ve one friend in particular, that every time I peer into her eyes, I know she gets it.  I don’t even have to explain it to her, because I know her loss, while remarkably different than mine, still holds many of the same grueling, indescribable characteristics.  Sometimes, when I hear her articulate her grief, I’m all like, Yup, that’s me.  I don’t have to speak a word about my pain, because like it or not, even though I’m comparing apples and oranges here…they’re both freakin’ fruits and that’s close enough for me.

The best answer I can come up with that somewhat explains “How am I dealing with my pain?” is this:  

For me, the pain and loss that came from divorce is weird.  You pretty much just float through your days, which do not resemble anything you’ve ever seen before.  Some days you cry.  Others, you laugh.  Some days, you make concrete plans for your future, even though you know you’ve no control over your life.  Some days, you decide, nope, it’s 6pm on Monday, I’m pretty intoxicated, and screw it, I’m calling it a day and heading to bed (whether that happened yesterday…my lips are sealed).  Some days you hate both everybody you love and everything beautiful this life has given you.  Some days you feel guilty about that hate.  And some days you don’t even feel that guilt at all.

And that’s just scratching the surface.  There’s so much more…but it’s way too complicated and thorny to accurately explain, verbally or in written form.   All I really can explain with 100% surety is that getting divorced feels strange.  I’ve felt loss before.  I’ve felt grief.  But I’ve never felt anything like this.  It truly feels unfamiliar…and as a result, all I’m really doing is just stumbling around in the shadows, trying to figure out how to touch upon true happiness again (or in the beginning months of it all, just learn how to exist).

Eight years ago, who would’ve figured that these two babies would be forced to grow up, face their our own personal insanity’s, and be bonded together forever by the ugliest of circumstances?  They had no idea what was coming, did they?

friends

You may or may not know this, so let me write it out so you can have it in perpetuity.  Having you by my side these past three months has made me feel more at ease in my strange new skin than I ever felt during the second half of 2016.  Dana, I don’t understand why any of this happened the way it did, but I’m grateful for you being my friend, my white-sister, my Party Boat Captain, and my grief-buddy.  I don’t know where I’d be without your support…and most importantly, learning who you truly are as a human being – and loving you for it – has been one of the strangest, yet greatest gifts of 2017.

Strange
This strange plan is random at best
This strange…how much more can I take?

This strange change in atmosphere
And in gravity too…and it’s severity

This strange day is almost over
I just started to get sick of it

And it’s strange, but not all that strange that it’s strange…
But what’s so strange about that?
Yeah it’s strange – but why is it strange that it’s strange?
But oh, well…

This strange plan is random at best
This strange…how much more can I take?
This strange sound you said I said…
You’re not listening or I’m not saying it right

This strange war of promises
Let’s call us a truce…and call it the truth

And it’s strange, but not all that strange that it’s strange…
But what’s so strange about that?
Yeah it’s strange – but why is it strange that it’s strange?
But oh, well…

Grimes – Oblivion

Music can be such an enigma sometimes.  To the best of my knowledge, a song is the only form of intentional creativity where a consumer like myself can dance to it for over five years…without realizing how somber or lugubrious it truly is.

Due to its electro-poppy, ethereal nature, I used to bust loose and groove it up to Oblivion every time it showed up on any of my I-Tunes playlists…well, until I read this interview from Grimes yesterday:

The song is about being violently assaulted and it made me crazy for a few years. I got really paranoid walking around at night and started feeling really unsafe. The song is more about empowering myself physically amongst a masculine power, and the hate of feeling powerless, making light of masculine physical power, making it jovial and non-threatening. I took a typically violent cultural situation and made it pop and happy.

Your assault may be infinitely different than Grimes, but it’s equally as violent.  And I suppose, on some level, even through you’re constantly being overwhelmed with fear, confusion, and a lack of control…these past three months have been simultaneously empowering, whether you want them to be or not.  You strike me as a person who doesn’t like reinventing herself at all, so I’m sure you’re dragging your feet, kicking and screaming into this new reality.  That being said, I can sense this much…when you come back to Detroit, you’ll be fundamentally different than when we last saw you.  You’ll be stronger, wiser, and maybe a little more cagey to boot.   You may not see or even internally feel any of that right now, but take it from someone who’s done this a couple times before: nobody that physically leaves their comfort zone for two whole months doesn’t grow as a person – it’s virtually impossible.

Okay, I’m going to shut up now, let you read the lyrics, and listen to the song.

Oblivion
I never walk about after dark
It’s my point of view
Cause someone could break your neck
Coming up behind you
Always coming and you’d never have a clue
And now I look behind all the time
I will wait forever
Always looking straight
Thinking counting all the hours you wait

See you on a dark night

And no, I’m not a jerk
I would ask if you could help me out
It’s hard to understand
Cause when you’re running by yourself
It’s hard to find someone to hold your hand
You know it’s good to be tough like me
But I will wait forever
I need someone else
To look into my eyes and tell me
“Girl, you know you’ve got to watch your health”

La la la la la
See you on a dark night

Band of Horses – No One’s Gonna Love You

Nothing can prepare your synapses for the jolt that occurs when you finally realize that something beautiful in your life is swiftly coming to an end.  Initially, the truth of it all is so vicious that it temporarily blinds you, forcing you to stumble around town, surface-living your life to the best of your abilities.  The metaphors about fogs, dazes, and life running in slo-mo ring especially true here.

But as if that wasn’t insane enough, after you finally shake off that initial gut punch, you’re hit with a series of caustic emotional afterschocks, each one hastily reminding you how sad you should be…how pissed you should be…how resentful you should be…how depressed you should…

Dana, did I ever mention that divorce is the worst?  Trust me, I DO NOT recommend it for anyone who’s lookin’ to have a good time.  

I don’t know…despite all that sadness and pain, I still stand committed to this set of aesthetics:  Just because a final chapter is filled with horrible considerations, it doesn’t mean the rest of the book is barren of beauty.  Or that the story wasn’t worth telling in the first place.  I won’t venture into the more-happier times of your relationship with Brad…but in mine with Melanie, I saw myself loving and growing with a passion, unrivaled.  I guess when push comes to shove, I just refuse to let the darkness taint the entire experience, that’s all.

Some people think this is the saddest song in the world, but between you and me, I see a gentle duality hidden within the lyrics, one that helped me honor and appreciate both sides of saying goodbye…

No One’s Gonna Love You
It’s looking like a limb torn off
Or altogether just taken apart
We’re reeling through an endless fall
We are the ever-living ghost of what once was

But no one is ever gonna love you more than I do
No one’s gonna love you more than I do

And anything to make you smile
It is my better side of you to admire
But they should never take so long
Just to be over then back to another one

But no one is ever gonna love you more than I do
No one’s gonna love you more than I do

But someone,
They could have warned you
When things start splitting at the seams and now
The whole thing’s tumbling down
Things start splitting at the seams and now
If things start splitting at the seams and now,
It’s tumbling down
Hard.

Anything to make you smile
You are the ever-living ghost of what once was
I never want to hear you say
That you’d be better off
Or you liked it that way

But no one is ever gonna love you more than I do
No one’s gonna love you more than I do

But someone
They should have warned you
When things start splitting at the seams and now
The whole thing’s tumbling down
Things start splitting at the seams and now
If things start splitting at the seams and now,
It’s tumbling down
Hard

Hercules & The Love Affair – Blind

It’s Synthpop Saturday…and you know what that means!  It’s time to put on those blinders and momentarily dance all your sorrows away to upbeat house music that’s secretly depressing as hell!

Blind
As a child, I knew
That the stars could only get brighter
And we would get closer
Get closer

As a child, I knew
That the stars could only get brighter
That we would get closer
Leaving this darkness behind

Now that I’m older
The stars should lie upon my face
But when I find myself alone
When I find myself alone…

Now that I’m older
The stars should lie upon my face
But when I find myself alone
I feel like I…I am blind

Feel it
Feel it
Feel it
Feel it
Like I am blind

I wish the stars could shine now
For they are closer, they are near
But they will not present my present
They will not present my present

I wish the light could shine now
For it is closer, it is near
But it will not present my present
And it makes my past and future painfully clear

To hear you now
To see you now
I can look outside myself
And I must examine my breath and look inside

To see you now
To hear you now
I can look outside myself
And I must examine my breath and look inside
Because I feel blind
Because I feel blind