Everybody has that handful of songs that takes them back to that awful feeling of being twelve and in love with someone who doesn’t feel the same way. Is there anything more powerful than the emotions those bring up?
I was in seventh grade and in love with Loretta Wiltgen – or what I thought was love. We had been going together for about six months and she broke up with me.
About three months into our going out, spring break arrived and my dad thought it would be good to still not show an interest in the family but do it in a station wagon in Wyoming. I didn’t get to see her or talk to her for ten days. If we had had texting, I would have come home with bloody thumbs. I remember being so “in love” with her I would scan the highway for the same GMC truck that her family had. When I would see one, my heart would pound. At dinner I would take her picture out of my wallet and sigh.
I came home even more “in love” with her than ever. A couple days later, I’m minding my own business, getting ready to tear into my lunch, extra excited that I had managed to trade Carole Ferraro her Hostess Ding Dong for my banana (what the fuck was she thinking?) I had the still-wrapped Ding Dong in my hand. Loretta’s best friend Jackie walked up to me.
“Paul, Loretta wants to break up with you.”
I couldn’t speak. I just stared into space and squeezed the Ding Dong.
I cried for days and the songs that were popular then were forever etched in my memory, paired with those feelings. Loving You by Minnie Ripperton, When Will I See You Again by Three Degrees, If You Leave Me Now by Chicago, Dream Weaver by Gary Wright, You are So Beautiful by Joe Cocker, I’m Not in Love by 10cc, the list goes on and on.
What’s the point of all this? Loretta is a whore. Sorry the wound is still a little fresh. The point is I can know intellectually that it was just a silly, typical, adolescent event, but why do the emotions feel so REAL when I hear those songs? And worse, why do I play them over and over while I masturbate through tears? Okay maybe that second part isn’t true, but there is something in me that likes to relive that pain. Why?
I think one of the side effects of depression is feeling nothing. And subconsciously we would rather feel something shitty than nothing.
For a long time I thought that I was SUPPOSED to feel that feeling; I deserved it. But after doing a lot of work on myself I realized I sought it out because it was better than feeling nothing. It was sick in its reassurance that I wasn’t enough. I was getting an answer,
The real problem was that I was stuck in my head obsessing about myself and I wasn’t treating my depression. Those songs don’t hit me today with the impact they used to because I know that message is false. I feel the feeling come up, and start to take hold and then I see it for what it is and its power lessens and if I’m having a good day, I chuckle.
But I also couldn’t guarantee if I was in a roller rink having trouble finding someone for couple’s skate and they played Dancing Queen, I wouldn’t cry.