Narrative Mostly Freewriting #5

Sitting on the couch, listening to Birdland, Weather Report style. Low key dancing because I want to write, not move around.

Widowhood Season #6 is coming to a close. It’s the time I allow myself to be a little more pensive about Kevin and that era of my life.

Ah, Goodbye Pork Pie Hat is on. I haven’t heard a lot of Jeff Beck, but I’ve loved what I’ve heard. Something about talented musicians getting into a recording studio and having fun makes for delicious music.

So yeah, the Season. It hasn’t been too bad. I’ve accepted that I’m gonna be a little moody and certain songs may prompt anxiety or tears. That happens when one spent nearly half her life with someone and ended up being the only surviving being from that time. I know that’s a big deal, but then I look over to my Sweetie, who’s shown me what true love is, and I shrug. Kevin didn’t want me to dwell on my life with him. Now that I have a full time job and an apartment, there’s less time to dwell on memories.

Sweetie and I decided to go for a drive in my Miata with the top down. Be it ever so native SoCal resident, we went through the local In-N-Out drive through. There’s so many ways to get anywhere around here, so I drove a completely different way home. Was a bit surprised to find a sobriety checkpoint, but those are easy when one is sober. 🙂

I do miss Kevin still. I’ve found myself wanting to share stuff with him and Golden Ears lately. I decided to watch the Hash episode of Barney Miller again because I missed them both. Sometimes it’s still hard to believe they’re both gone, along with too many others. Did Devo call it? “The lucky ones are gonna be the first to go.”

And yes, the world is going to remember Robin Williams on Tuesday. I felt it fitting that I ended my Widowhood Season on his death day, because of how it felt to watch the world mourn his loss while I was mourning a similar loss. So cruel for him to get a brutal type of dementia. He never said good-bye to us, and that sucks. I think it would have been easier if he said that he was no longer the Robin we all love and he was going to quietly fade away from the public eye. I think we would have given him that. I would have. The jokes about karma alone would have been brilliant!

Surviving Amour Fou #3: Amour without Fou

Kevin’s birthday is August 10th. Made plans to visit a friend, as I requested the day off.

Some may find it hard to believe that I still see Kevin as my soulmate. Well, he was. It was a bond like no other. When it was good, it was really really good, and when it was bad, it was horrendous. I knew that a few years into it, and yet I couldn’t walk away. My soul called out to this man. I’m not gonna deny it. It’s like that old Jackson 5 song, “Never Can Say Goodbye.”

Were the last 7 years hard? Hell yes. It’s over and I can’t change those years. I’ve allowed myself to grieve and feel all the complicated emotions that resulted from those 18 years of my life. So yeah, he was my soulmate, and I can miss him deeply at times even though he hurt me on levels no other person has. Ya gotta take the Fou with the Amour sometimes. But it’s a choice, and I’m glad I had those years with Kevin even though they really sucked sometimes.

Am I in a way healthier relationship now? Yes. By leaps and bounds and in ways beyond my wildest dreams. We’ve got an apartment now! To be where we can be our better selves in our own controlled environment that isn’t shared with any outsiders. This is a huge thing, and it’s wonderful! We’ve got a couple of fish tanks. I finally have a small school of neon tetras. Some of the housewifey stuff has definitely kicked back into gear, but it’s not much in the grand scheme of things, and I’m not doing everything. I love doing dishes in the morning before work. I love being able to blast music while taking a shower in the morning. I haven’t been this autonomous in a very long time.

It’s a little odd to have all of these pieces of furniture in the same place: One piece of the bedroom set I used to have as a kid, the Ikea coffee table Kevin got right after we met, a couch that my Mom got from my Aunt, a table from my Mom, and a footlocker from my Dad. Good, though, because all of this is who I’ve been up until this point. We’re starting from scratch, really, so we might as well use what we have or other people don’t need. Besides, my strengths in the relationship have more to do with numbers than aesthetics.

Having this new home is a wonderful thing. I feel so much more relaxed generally. I have a lot more space and freedom to do what I want and not feel like I have to censor parts of myself. But it was a necessary tradeoff to start working towards the present day, and I was fortunate to even have the opportunity in the first place.

Queer Eye has rubbed off on me–I took advantage of a great deal and got new clothes for thrift store prices. It enabled me to have a better work wardrobe. I’m so happy, though I need to set up a good ironing station or get better with the steam iron.

Started watching Avatar: The Last Airbender. I wasn’t the target audience when it first aired, so I missed it completely. I’ve seen Korra before, but it’s been so long that I’m going to have to watch it again. Great universe done very well by good ol’ Nickelodeon.

Oh, what a lucky nerd I am. 🙂

Black Hole Sun: The Song That Changed My Life

Picture it, 1994: Southern California

I hear this song on the radio, and I saw the video. Immediately loved it. It was soothing at a rough time in my life. 1994 was not an easy year for a whole number of reasons. This song was like a drug–it would take me away from my problems for 5 minutes and 18 seconds. I actually bought an import CD single of it. I think I ended up selling it on ebay or it’s hidden in a box somewhere in storage.

On March 1, 1996, the band The Moog Cookbook was shooting a video for their synth version of the song “Black Hole Sun.” Kevin was “location manager” for the day, as the locations were at Remote Control Studios, in front of a very large Moog modular synthesizer he’d spent the past few years assembling; and Mutato Muzika, the lime green building on Sunset Blvd. The original plan was to film in front of the legendary TONTO system, which was housed at Mutato at the time. That didn’t work out, but the building was a decent alternative for two guys wearing space suits.

After all that shooting was done, Kevin went home, fired up his computer, and logged into AOL. He found a message board for the band Devo, and made a post about his visit. I saw it and looked up his profile. His quote was “Fighting for peace is like fucking for virginity.” I was into quotes back then, so I emailed him and simply said “I like your quote.” He replied, and he became a big part of my life for the next 18 years.

In August 1996, I went to Lollapalooza at Irvine Meadows. Chris Cornell stood alone on stage and performed “Black Hole Sun.” I only watched him a little bit because I was too busy dancing like a hippie on acid, happy that I got the chance to dance to this song live.

It’s always been, and will remain, one of my favorite songs ever.

Surviving Amor Fou, #2: Music

I’m sitting here listening to The Beatles album Let It Be. Much like Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of The Moon, The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, and Suzanne Vega’s 9 Objects of Desire, this album reminds me so much of Kevin that I’ve actively refrained from listening to it until now. I don’t know what changed my mind.

In this case, we listened to this on the way down for me to meet his father and his stepmother (technically–the marriage happened when Kevin was in his 30’s), a month after I moved in with Kevin. We had little jokes that involved this album. You know, those jokes you develop over time with someone you’re close to. That stuff you can never quite convey properly to the rest of humanity. The little things that start to become painful once that person dies.

This album reminds me of so many good memories, which are a bit on the bittersweet side right now. It’s hard to think of what we used to have because it’s gone. I picture so many things in my mind’s eye while listening to this album. The apartment where we lived, his ’67 Mustang Fastback, the cats. . . So much laughter, so many very early Internet videos, hanging out with friends. . . I was so young back then. I had no idea how long I’d have with Kevin. I knew back then we’d lose all the cats, but I thought we’d start a new group of them in my 40’s. I could never have guessed that he would be dead six months after losing the last one.

That life has been over for 6 years. The good life was pretty much done six years before that. Yet listening to this album still evokes memories of that time. I’m quite happy that it’s not emotionally painful. It’s still great music and I may try to slowly put some of these songs into playlists.

The one song that I have been able to listen to is For You Blue. It reminds me of my Sweetie. But we don’t have Amour Fou, thankfully.

Relationship Red Flag Journal Entry #1

I had a boyfriend from 1990 to 1995 that I used to call Dearie. I didn’t realize how abusive it was until just before we broke up, when a good friend kept pointing out that I shouldn’t tolerate Dearie’s behavior.

I recently found my journal from the last year or so of that relationship. Here’s an example of a Relationship Red Flag

January 13, 1994

I’m confused! I’m not too sure if I wanted to have sex with Dearie today. I mean it was nice and everything, but I don’t know whether or not I really wanted to. I feel bad about that & I hope Dearie doesn’t think he pressured me into anything. I wasn’t planning on having sex today. I guess that’s why I feel this way.

If you’ve ever felt this way about your partner, it’s a huge fucking red flag and you either should bring it up with the person or ditch the manipulative asshole already. Obviously I know this is easier said than done, but trust me, you should never have to be talked into having sex. No matter who you are.

Surviving Amor Fou, #1: Panic Attacks

a·mour fou/ˌämo͝or ˈfo͞o/noun

  1. uncontrollable or obsessive passion.

I was first introduced to this concept when watching The Sopranos with Kevin. Tony Soprano fell in love with one of Dr. Melfi’s other patients and had quite a tumultuous time of it.

I kind of had a feeling at the time I watched those episodes that my marriage was like that on a different level (we never threw food at each other). No matter how angry I was with Kevin, I couldn’t live without him. He felt the same way. Almost six years into widowhood, I know for certain it was Amour Fou.

When we were alike, we were perfectly in sync. Butter and garlic. When we were dissimilar, we were oil and vinegar. We didn’t want to be around each other or we didn’t want to leave each other’s sight. With some variations on the scale sprinkled in for good measure. 18 years of that was quite a ride.

As I’ve stated many times, sense memory sucks. The other day, I heard a song I hadn’t heard in a long time. It was one of the songs Kevin used to taunt me with if he was angry at me (or angry in general and I was the only other human around). I went right back to being in front of his room, knocking and begging to be let in while the song blasted. All those dark days mixed into one and back came that empty feeling I used to get when he would get mad at me. It’s like I’d lost a part of me and the person who had the missing part wouldn’t give it back.

I turned off the song because I was panicking and it was emotionally painful. I’ve felt grief a lot when listening to music. I wipe away the tears and go on with my day. But this feeling stuck to me and suddenly the prospect of finishing my work day seemed impossible. So, I asked for the rest of the day off because I wasn’t feeling well, and I was granted it.

I talked a bit to those I discuss these things with, and pretty much stared at the TV for the rest of the day, trying to lose myself in familiar worlds. I did my best to cope. Only lamented the lack of access to benzos a tiny bit. (They have their purposes, but highly addictive, therefore difficult to obtain. Thankfully I had something that works just as well.)

That damned panic attack poked at many feelings and memories that I do my best to forget. In my mind’s eye, I had a montage of the worst of it. I couldn’t get it to stop. I hate every single one of those fights. I know a lot of them were the result of recurring bouts of failing to find fulfillment in the life I was told I wanted–combo housewife and office manager.

I can’t change any of it, therefore I don’t like to think about it. Who the hell wants to dwell on all that? Certainly not I. Yet it happens because it’s only been about three years since I began to understand the dynamics of that relationship. 20/20 hindsight, indeed. But I don’t know what knowing then what I know now would have helped all that much. Maybe avoided some arguments? But with Amour Fou, wouldn’t we have just found something else to argue about?

So, when you find yourself in a relationship that is one of those “Can’t live with you, can’t live without you” type things, be careful. As much as you think you can’t leave, you can. Then again, I’ll bet you know that but can’t bring yourself to leave. Believe me, I get it. It’s the nature of the beast, really. Just try to be honest with yourself in the “amour phase” and know that the shit’s gonna hit the fan again.

Also know that love doesn’t mean having to endure that kind of dynamic. It’s totally possible to love someone without having shouting matches on a regular basis.