“Daddy, I have a cool idea for a story.”
“What is it?”
“So you know how people live in shacks and it's just one room?”
“Well, I want to write a story about a homeless girl who can't find a place to stay, so she finds an empty garbage can, cleans it, and makes a home out of it with electricity and everything! She has friends, and she goes to see them but each time she sees them she's a little bit different and that's 'cause the garbage can is eating her soul, and she's transforming into garbage.”
“That's... very dark, sweetie.”
“It's very... macabre.”
“Y'know, like relating to death.”
I stopped walking with him and looked at my feet. Thinking about what was wrong with what I said. I looked up and around and saw a few other people near us eyeing me through their peripheral. I was 10 or so and lost sense of my “inside voice” when I was excited. I guess I couldn't talk about my stories in the grocery store anymore.
Not too long after this, he gave me my first MP3 player and a pair of earphones. It was an all-black ZEN X-Fi Style. I used that thing every day and night until it broke.
I have a wide array of artists that I've come to listen to since my MP3 days, but I rarely really listen to the whole gamut of genres I like within a short period. Rather, I go through cycles with each genre or artists, spending days to months listening to songs and albums on repeat and discovering new ones. I've circled back to the Pixies recently. I was listening to Ed Is Dead, actually. Earlier today, it clicked in my head that their songs have a tendency to be pretty morbid or wild. I've always understood that about them, but I had never thought about this in the context of my transition into adolescence.
I'd like to think my father was conscious in steering me toward the Pixies. Even though I wouldn't understand some lyrics and themes in their music until I was much older, I'd like to think he nudged me toward them in hopes I'd identify with their storytelling and morbid imagery.
I'd like to give my dad the benefit of the doubt too because I often think back to when I told him I was suicidal for the first time. It had to be at least the third mental breakdown of my sophomore year. I missed the bus home because I fell apart not being able to complete all of an assignment on time because for a reason I can't recall. Because of this, he had to pick me up and leave work early. I know he'd be upset because he didn't like us interrupting his workday. He was a single dad with four kids and a dog to support. I was scared he'd be angry.
I sat talking out all my feelings with my school's high school counselor in her office. I did my late work while she called my dad to pick me up. She wanted to talk with him about my frequent breakdowns. I was not part of their talk.
The walk to his car was quiet, and it was quiet for most of the ride home.
“Dad, I want to die,” I whispered. My head was against the window, but in my peripheral, I could see him turn his head slightly toward me.
“Sweetie, what you're feeling — all teenagers go through this. You'll be okay.”
I wanted to say, “But dad...” and tell him I'd felt this way for a long time since I was little little and playing with dolls. But no parent wants to hear that. But maybe he was right. I was 14. Maybe all this would go away, eventually.
The optimist in me wants to believe that every suicidal person gets to a point eventually of, “Suicide is not an option.” But that's not how people work.
I'd like to think he consciously raised me to seek solace in music. But even if he didn't, who knows where I'd be without the Pixies. I can't say that I've ever listened to any of their songs while I was on the brink of trying to decide my fate, but they are featured one way or another throughout the soundtrack of my life. They are the unmoving pillar of my music foundation.
I remember talking with someone a few years back. I think it might've been a co-worker or a regular customer; I don't remember exactly. We were talking music. I'm not one of those people that's huge into music history and culture, seeing as how I never really fit into any group or culture anyway.
We were talking about alt-rock bands in 80s and 90s. I mentioned my love for the Pixies. The person I was talking with didn't really care for them. I wasn't offended, but me being curious, I asked why.
“I just don't. They're weird.”
“Yeah, but they're weird.”
I remember raising and scrunching my eyebrows, trying to understand what they really meant. I shrugged it off, and we started talking about something else. I still tried to pin down what they thought was weird in my head.
Suffice to say, I get it now.
“Cease to resist, giving my goodbye
Drive my car into the ocean
You think I'm dead, but I sail away
On a wave of mutilation”
#Monologue #Personal #Music