Monthly Archives: February 2017

Pictures of You – The Cure

I almost cried today and it is Robert Smith’s fault.

Let me set the scene for you.  I was driving about 60 mph down the two lane highway that connects my home to my work.  The monotony of the drive sometimes gets the better of me.  The droning of public radio and the sprawling farmland can almost lull me back to sleep.  This was the case this morning so I resorted to scrolling through the radio to keep me awake.

I recently picked up a satellite radio and I will say that I love the variety of music that is available. But on a day like today my tolerance and attention are at a low point. I need to find that perfect song to get through what is left of my commute.

Credence Clearwater Revival , Nope.

Grateful Dead, Nope.

Bruno Mars, Nope.

Zac Brown Band, Not today.

That is where I finally come across the 80s alternative rock station. Often times I can pick up a song on this station that stimulates something within me, and that was definitely the case this morning.  The band was The Cure and the song playing was “Pictures of You”. This 1989 release is perhaps one of the most depressing songs I have ever heard.

Back in the late 80s I didn’t really like The Cure. I guess I thought their music was too emotional and too soft for me.  I was a punk rock fan. My bands were Minor Threat, Sex Pistols, Gang Green, and most other garage bands that were popular in the northeast.

Move forward 30 years and I have softened a little.  Although, I will still rock out to The Misfits version of “Where Eagles Dare”on the way to work, I often land on classic or alternative rock stations.  This morning, however, was a little different than most. I didn’t just find I song that I was able to connect to for a few minutes.  This song, “Pictures of You”, captured my full attention and began to stir emotions I didn’t even know existed.

Now have you ever listened to this song? The lyrics are truly poetic and scream of loss and depression.  Here is a quick sample

If only I’d thought of the right words
I could have held on to your heart
If only I’d thought of the rights words
I wouldn’t be breaking apart
My pictures of you

I don’t know what triggered me.  Was it the lyrics, or was it the way in which Robert Smith sings as if he just had his heart ripped out of his chest.  Maybe it was my ongoing self-diagnosed Seasonal Affective Disorder, or the right combination of events that tapped into some unresolved PTSD, or just overly sensitive nerves due to lack of sleep.  But as I listened to this song, I felt truly sad.

Back in the 1989 I was just 15 years old.  I remember that back then everything was alive.  Every day was a true adventure. Every experience was new, and the world was just starting to unfold.  To say I lived in angst would be an understatement.  Angst was the undercurrent of my life.  At times it was painful.  At other times it couldn’t get any better.  Life was electric and I was just playing in the current.  The Cure wasn’t the soundtrack to my life back then. In fact, The Cure didn’t even get a place in the intermissions of my personal movie.   But now The Cure provided the background music to my personal flashback scene.

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

These lyrics triggered memories of all those friends I have lost.  Those that have died from accidents, drug overdoses, or natural causes, their images come rushing to mind.  Those friends that I have never said good-bye to because I didn’t have to strength to stand in front of their graves.

The lyrics made me think of old girlfriends. Memories of promises that I never kept crept back to me.  We were going to be so strong and stay together for ever.  That all changed when I was easily swayed by the opinions of others, or when my own neurosis convinced me that what we had was built on lies and that it could never work.   These thoughts hurt the most.

I am almost a weeping mess as I approach the edge of town.  Merging into traffic it takes everything I have to stay focused on traffic signals.  The red light at the McDonald’s allows the song to come to its end.  I now have 5 more minutes to pull myself together.  Switching the radio back to pop radio station, I listen to a little John Mayer and pull into the parking lot behind work.   I turn the car off, step out into the parking lot, and let the memories of years past get taken away with a brisk morning breeze.

Damn You Robert Smith!  Or maybe I should say Thank You.

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I Just Had A Birthday . . .

I just had a birthday and I realized that my life is a mess.

Well maybe that is a little harsh, but I did just turn 43. That in itself is a soul shaking event.  Most people talk about how turning 50 is a big deal, but how about 40?  Then it keeps going, 41, 42, and now 43.  I feel as lost and unfulfilled as I did 3 years ago.  Except now I am staring down that slippery slope of “it’s too late”. 

The bright side of this horrible revelation brought on by the aging process is that my professional life is good.   I have two jobs and I like them both.  I make enough money to not have to worry about food and can pay the utilities.  The people I work with are decent and sometimes even fun to be around.  It is that other part of life that is a struggle for me. That side of life that is supposed to bring you joy and happiness: the personal side.

My marriage has become stale laced with undercurrents of animosity. My social life has dried up and is almost non-existent.  Any hobbies of mine have all but disappeared.  My goal of being able to write and travel has faded into the background.  And I am 43.

Maybe it’s just a midlife crisis.

I remember when I had my quarter-life crisis.  That was an upheaval.  I quit drinking (been sober ever since), broke up with my girlfriend, and got a new job.  I moved into this little one bedroom apartment with my dog.  The rent was cheap and I still think I paid too much.  The walls were drafty, I fell through the bathroom floor, and my neighbor was a seriously strange character.  I had two spoons, two forks, two plates, two bowls, and two glasses.  I stopped by the grocery store on the way home most nights to pick up dinner and sat on the porch during the summer eating TV dinners and watching the world pass me by.  Ahh, the good old days!

I am not sure if this is what I want now.  But I have decided that I am not going to go quietly into the second half of my life.  I have declared that this year I am going to take back my life.  I am going to recreate my world.  I am going to reestablish my sense of self.  I am going to renew my life and find the joy and happiness that I have been missing.  Now I am sure I will run into road blocks and fits of depression, but I have set some goals and created a personal manifesto of change.

  • I will exercise and run more. (Today I ran 4.5 miles in 29 degree weather. It was a little cold and well worth it.)
  • I will join a running club. (Done! I ordered my shirt today.)
  • I will write more. (Started writing again last week and gave the blog a face lift.  I can’t believe it has been 4 years since I last wrote anything here.)
  • I will stay connect with friends. (I finally joined Facebook. Thinking this might help me keep in touch with those old friends.)
  • I will stand up for myself and take back my time. (This will probably be the hardest thing to do because it will cause conflict.  I don’t really like conflict.)

I know it sounds like I have just made a list of New Year’s Resolutions, and maybe I have. The challenge with these, and all resolutions, is sticking with them.  Every year the nightly news does several pieces on how all our resolutions fail and that we are really looking at change in the wrong way.  We should be making little changes that we can incorporate into our lives and not disrupt our patterns of behavior.  I get that.  But I want to go big.  I want to be the person who says, “The best decision of my life was to follow my dreams and everything else just fell into place.”  Now that would make for an epic 43rd year.