04 May 2005

Love and Music


I own up that my childhood was grey and bland and I harboured a bitterness for most of my adult life. How can you show love if you feel unloved? It has taken me to age forty seven to figure out that expressing love is a beautiful thing.

Parents should raise children with loving discipline. Teach them right from wrong, correct them, reward them but never ever ignore them. Tell them you love them and ask their opinions. Make them matter. I grew up in my parents’ house, they never told me if they loved me. I still don't know and guess what, I don't care any more. My mum died and I never heard her use the word 'love' in any context. My dad remains insular and unresponsive.

I married in 1978 but off and on from 1982 to 1986 I had an intense affair. My up-bringing had left me ill-equipped to handle the emotional battering it dealt out. I relied on alcohol to numb me so I could live under the weight of the dilemma. I could not resist the pull of my mistress because I believed I was experiencing the fullest love I ever had or would. When I knew that destruction of my life and my family was near, I chose to follow my head not my heart. Yet even then I couldn't accept the decision I had made and regressed into a world of denial, rewarding myself for giving up love by drinking every day until I passed out.

In 1986 I bought "Brothers in Arms" by Dire Straits. It turned out to be my last purchase until 1995. I drank, I shunned family and friends and I saw no point in music. I adopted a position of suspended animation. The world saw me walking and talking but I was angry, lost and bitter. I carried a hollow core in my belly. So you see in the words of Pete Doherty of the late and (by me) desperately lamented 'Libertines,' I had "lost my faith in love and music."
 
*****
 
For nine years I sloped around in a kind of living death. I was in Rigor Mortis. Love and music seemed irretrievably lost. I barely opened my mouth to my family and offered them grim company. My life was devoid of love because I wouldn't let my wife and boys break through my stone wall. Eventually I stopped the yearning for my mistress. I ceased drinking in 1993 and over several years I learned to love my family a little. With sobriety came clear thinking and music edged its way back into my routines. I sifted through the years of releases I had ignored, discovering new bands who were already history. It was a start. Radiohead attracted my attention and I fell under the spell of their first three albums (forget the subsequent rubbish they released.)

There are now only two things that matter to me, Love and Music. Today music plays a vital part in my life. My admiration for the sweet simplicity of favourite lyrics is matched by the gut-wrenching pull of a pure melody. I listen to music several times each day picking songs to match my mood.

The morning commute is a time for fresh new indie rock and I am reminded that the worries and fears of the new generation are the same as my own. At lunchtime I close my eyes to the heartbreak of Counting Crows or Hope of the States. Going home I nudge up the volume on Kings of Leon or The Stills. If I get an evening alone I pull off the shelves whatever the fuck I want and play it loud. Immersion in the experience has to be absolute. I need to feel the sound-waves shaking my insides. The volume must drown out all distractions.

My tiny real world circle is now rich in love. I have two adult sons and my wife. But equally I have two deep personal friends who love me and I love them. But I am full of grief that there may be so little time left to enjoy them. I yearn for many more decades because I have regained my faith in love and music.

"If you've lost your faith in love and music
The end won't be long."

Libertines - The Good Old Days

18 comments:

Marjory said...

Maybe that's what's so amazing about our lives - the fragility of it all. Decent music is created from the cutting edge - no wonder it's so dynamic. Rock on - Love on. None of us knows what may happen tomorrow. Love is THE force - we must use it wisely.

yours truly said...

This was so much I got full reading it. That's the good part of life, I think. (If one can handle it.)

The Flea said...

Beautiful post Virgo -- seriously. I can identify with so much of wht you said, even if my circumstances were completely different.

I'm glad, for your sake, that you eventually found "love". Because, in my case, I lost love.

And I'm still looking for it.

Perfect Virgo said...

Reeves - well said. I take nothing for granted now. If I speak with an unnatural intensity then now you know why. I feel super-sensitive and sometimes that's hard to deal with other times it fills me with euphoria.

YT - Maybe a bit too much and somewhat introspective. It reads like a partly digested lump of raw emotion. There is a ton of additional detail in my head but it's too personal for you guys to be interested in (and I'm shy!)

I've covered 3 or 4 subjects here but my excuse is they overlap. I might go on about one or more of them on it's own later, or I might already have done so!

This lot may add credibility to some of the other posts I put up. Re-reading it I think I even down-played how bad I felt. Yes handling it is so tough, I know you know that. Anyway YT, don't get too full up, you're not supposed to be eating!!

Flea - you need to reach a plateau of maturity and get some distance in order to properly assess your thoughts on these issues, don't you think?

I have written privately about some of these matters before (and there are a couple of people who know the full story) but this is the first time I have stuck the bare bones of it right out there. As I said to YT, it reveals more about my other posts.

If you can find real love inside or outside of marriage then it is a stunningly precious discovery, believe me I know. Glad you could relate to this, I hope you rediscover your "faith in love and music." Love particularly in your case. (Try my "Remembering Green Eyes" post, that covers part of this territory)

Grace said...

Hmm, fantastic post, I can relate so well. When destruction of my life and family were near for the same reason, I followed heart and not my head. The lover didnt stick around either! I then regressed into a world of and denial guilt and drank myself through the next few years. Neither route is easy. I think part of it all is chasing the love that was never given in childhood. When you get it you realize it isnt what you were searching for.

Perfect Virgo said...

Grace - we chose different routes yet ended up the same, that's fascinating! The denial and guilt are mind-bending. No love as a child hits the nail on the head.

Shade said...

That is probably one of the most beautiful things I've ever read. I am weepy at work now, but it's in a good way.

Perfect Virgo said...

Shade - thank you for your very kind comment. In real life I consider myself a truly lucky man with my tiny little circle of people. So much more fulfilling and meaningful than a host of so-called acquaintances. And in the blog world - well you see the good friends I have here.

I'm so glad your tears are of the happy kind. It is great to be able to show emotion, I know that.

4005 N 24th said...

I can relate to the entire message and multiple times in my life. I am 57. There are some who can never love because of fundamental genetic disfunction. I believe I may be such a person. I applaud you for being so open and so honest. As long as you have that ability and with your support system which I see on this blog you will never lose it all and recovery will be always possible. The poem by Robert Frost - 'The Road Less Travelled' is pertinent in that it explains that life is quite random and even undeniably fair to each of us.

My question to you is as follows: How did you manage to hold on to your job through all of this trauma?? It is so great that you did and are you able to partition your mind as many of us males tend to do??

Perfect Virgo said...

Denis - I honestly don't know how I held my job down. At the time I was selling financial services, you know pensions, life assurance and investments. I think it would finish me if I was trying to cope with it all at 47.

Work paid for the alcohol and the alcohol numbed the pain of walking away from my mistress and the hell of the very work itself. I would not recommend sales to anyone of a sensitive disposition! I remember ploughing a pretty lonely furrow at the time. Blinkered to everything and almost waiting for the end to come and bring relief, which I suppose it did.

You can read from my new posts that I took time away from work at the point of quitting drink, but otherwise I was in harness throughout - morning, afternoon and evening. You may like to know I returned to work in an administrative capacity. Less hassle.

Jen said...

You are really working through it right now, aren't you? Interesting, when I had my head planted in the sand with my marriage, I lost my love, my music, my writing, my photography and I numbed out. Once I got out of my marriage, those things are slowly coming back to me. I feel music the same way you do, you know. Music touches us intensely if only we will allow it.

Perfect Virgo said...

Jen - yes I sure am. I'm sitting here writing reams of this stuff most of which will probably not see the light of day. But the process is therapeutic.

Music is my saviour and yours too I know. I let it pour all over me like a healing balm. Your marriage break up could have sent you the same way as me I guess. Thank heaven it did not but you still suffered the anger, bitterness and sadness. So you know about this. In fact I'm responding here even as you are dropping more comments!

doughgirl said...

Great post perfect.

Im sure it was hard to write, to get it out brings back some old memories and feelings.

I grew up in total disfunction. I didnt know it then, I thought everyone grew up that way...but then why did I feel so different than my friends. I know now that everyone did not grow up that way. I also know how I want my kids to grow up :)

Perfect Virgo said...

DG - nice to hear from you. Give those kids of yours all the love you can, it will stand them in good stead for the life they are yet to live.

Yes the memories came back but then I don't necessarily want to lose them. I can handle them much better these days.

finnegan said...

"For 9 years I sloped around in a kind of living death. I was in Rigor Mortis. Love and music seemed irretrievably lost. I barely opened my mouth to my family and offered them grim company. My life was devoid of love because I wouldn't let my wife and boys break through my stone wall."

I hope that you've managed to talk (in whatever way possible) about those 9 years your boys certainly suffered through.

I've had to feel the blowback from my son's pain, and am still picking up the pieces with him. Fortunately talking and showing him in every way possible that he means everything to me has healed a whole lot of pain.

As you so succinctly put it: "Tell them you love them and ask their opinions. Make them matter".

Perfect Virgo said...

Finnegan - I talk to them about depression and alcoholism but in a slightly detached way. It's as if we are talking about a third party, not about me. But then 12 years ago I was a somewhat different person.

They all know they matter to me and they have become used to the fact that I don't necessarily express that every day.

Perfect Virgo said...

31st July 2006
By the way, I ditched my female friend many months ago - when my depression lifted I realised she was not a friend but a leech. She and her selfish ways have themselves for company.

I want care and love and tender understanding. Slowly I saw a planetary alignment grinding inexorably into position. Then suddenly there was an eclipse and two worlds collided in the darkness. Now I am filled with uncontollable light. :)

Michelle B said...

Have I read this before? I'm not sure I have, but I thought I read all your posts at one time or another. Nevertheless, it is beautiful and I'm glad to have found it again. It is deeply personal and meaningful.