Music Soothes the Savage Beast

I’ve loved music for as long as I can remember.  I’ve loved to listen to it, to sing it, and back when I was a six-year old, loved to dance around the kitchen to it.  While I still enjoy Top 40 music from time to time, even when I was younger I was usually more interested in the lyrics and the message than in the beat or the bass.  Before I was able to express my emotions in writing, music provided catharsis.  I recognized this even when I was still in high school, as I literally wrote a list of songs that reminded me of different unrequited crushes I’d had.  Even now, certain songs will transport me back instantly, not just to general time periods in my life, but to exact moments in time.  Rod Stewart’s “Forever Young” puts me back on the school bus on my first day of middle school, in my fluorescent-splattered blouse and black pleather skirt. Poison’s “Every Rose has its Thorn” transports me to a classmate’s 12th birthday party, when I slow-danced with a boy for the very first time (granted, his girlfriend asked him to dance with me).  

It shouldn’t be surprising that my taste in music became extremely diverse, as no single genre could ever fully capture the depths of my emotions.  I may or may not be bipolar, but my iPod very definitely suffers from multiple personality disorder.  How else could you explain a playlist that includes all of the following artists:  Killswitch Engage, LL Cool J, Billy Joel, Miranda Lambert…

As I mentioned in my very first post (I Suppose I have to Start Somewhere), Tales from Sick and Twisted isn’t just an attempt at a catchy name for my blog.  It’s also the name of the novel that I conceptualized and started (very slowly) writing.  It almost goes without saying that as Tales from Sick and Twisted started to develop in my mind, an accompanying soundtrack also emerged.  I don’t want to share the full list today, because I don’t want to give away too much of the plot yet, but I wanted to highlight a few of the songs and why they’re important to me.

  • Christina Aguilera “Walk Away”

    I have no shame in admitting that, even a decade later, I am still a huge fan of Stripped, primarily because a number of the songs have an amazing vulnerability.  Although this song wasn’t officially released, I stumbled across it at a point when the lyrics rang true in my life.

  • Melissa Etheridge “An Unusual Kiss”                                                                                                     This is one of those songs where the lyrics don’t fit per se, but it happened to pop into my head when I was out with someone who eventually inspired one of the characters in my book

  • Jo Dee Messina and Tim McGraw “Bring on the Rain”

    I found this song during my last depressive episode, almost 4 years ago.  I took comfort in the lyrics and the idea that I was strong enough to face any challenge head-on.

  • Theory of a Deadman “Not Meant to Be”  

    This is one of a few different songs on my soundtrack/playlist that talk about the pain of realizing that you can’t force something that just isn’t right, which is something that has come up for me time and again.

  • Bonnie Raitt “Something to Talk About”

     I hated this song when it first came out.  I mean, I really hated this song.  Then my life circumstances started to reflect the lyrics of the song, and I “discovered” it for the first time, only about 20 years after the rest of the world… But this happens with me pretty regularly, where a song will suddenly fit my life and it’s like I’m hearing it for the first time, because it’s finally truly resonating within me.  

So, there you have it, a small sample of the songs that make up my personal Sick and Twisted soundtrack.  Thank you for allowing me to share.  And now it’s off to choir practice…

Yep, I Went There…

Like many other people, I have a Facebook account. I don’t post regularly, and when I do post, it’s usually song lyrics or something very vague (my mother hates it). As odd as it sounds now that I’m blogging, I’ve always preferred to keep my personal life private. There have been a few exception, of course. But the most notable exception was earlier this year, on February 10th, when I posted the following:

“In March of 1999, I was raped. It was about ten years before I could start to say that I was healing. During those early years, I did some things I’m not proud of, the worst being sabotaging a relationship with a man who loved me just because I didn’t know what else to do. As I look back on my relationships since then (one liar, two cheaters, and the very recent what-the-fuck-just-happened blindsiding), I can’t help but start to wonder if I’m doomed to spend the rest of my life paying for the actions of that person I once was.”

Well, no one could accuse me of being vague or cryptic then!

I bring this up for a number of reasons, and none of those reasons involve shock value.  The biggest reason that I’m writing about this is because it did have a huge impact on my life and there are things that have happened (and continue to happen) that really need to be explained in the context of this particular event in my life.  In fact, the original inspiration for Tales From Sick and Twisted (my novel-in-progress) came during those first few months when I realized that I was a different person because of this experience.  It was when I stopped trying to rationalize my trauma into nothing.  It was the sabotaging of that relationship.  So my novel would not have existed without this internal struggle.

While I will likely refer to this in a number of future posts, I will generally avoid detailing that night, mainly because it’s not the events themselves that are of consequence, but how I changed as a person, for better or worse, as a result.  In other words, the real story is found in the days, months and years that have passed since that night.  In general, here are the only things I consider relevant to any future posts or discussions:

  • It was date rape–I knew my attacker
  • While I did ultimately report it, I chose not to press charges
  • The Emergency Room visit was its own level of hell
  • It was the first and last time that I ignored my gut (generally referred to as the “Psychic Chick Sense”)
  • While I never thought I would post something on Facebook, I’ve never shied away from discussing it if the conversation was relevant (I consider this my personal form of advocacy)

I also want to add that I was humbled and felt immensely blessed by the outpouring of support that I received from my Facebook friends.  It was amazing because I didn’t expect anything.  It’s a tough topic and tough topics are hard to discuss.  In fact, my motivation for writing the post was a sudden need to put forth my own apology for some of my actions.  I know that I was dealing with my own pain, but even as I worked through my pain, I had never actually apologized for the pain I caused others during that time.  I expected my post to fade on the Facebook newsfeed, maybe seen by others, maybe just lost in the middle of other posts.  I wrote it for myself, to purge my own inner demons, and not for the purpose of eliciting any sort or response from others.  So when those responses flooded in, I was surprised, but I was (and I still remain) grateful.

So now that we’ve got that out there… how about those Orangemen?

I Suppose I Have to Start Somewhere

I’ve often contemplated starting a blog, but was never sure what I could possibly write about on a regular basis.  I’m still not entirely sure what this blog will ultimately become, but I figured I might as well give it a try.  I’m learning as I go, so I apologize in advance for the lack of really snazzy formatting or interesting pictures.

I guess I’ll start by answering a few questions you might have right now.  First, who am I?  I’m a woman in my mid-30s, who leads a mostly average existence.  I love to sing–I belong to two choirs and also enjoy karaoke (when I have time).  I have a black belt in Tang Soo Do.  I love to read and do some writing of my own.  I struggle with my weight and the body issues that come with it.  I probably know way more about hair care than I should.  I’ve been slowly morphing into a bit of a skincare/makeup addict.  I’m single and occasionally venture out into the dating world.  I was that nerd in school.  Last year I was diagnosed with ADD.  Two weeks ago I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, type 2.  I mention all of these things because I have a feeling I will write more extensively on all of them.

Your second question is probably about the title of my blog.  During my last semester of college (1999), my friend and I drew a map of a place we called Sick and Twisted.  The different regions were named for different dramas we had experienced, particularly when it came to dating.  I used to keep a copy of the map in my office with pushpins labeled with peoples’ names.  Based on whatever was going on, my friends and I were moved around on the map.

A few years after I graduated, I found myself on a bit of an emotional roller coaster.  Sick and Twisted was resurrected and became symbolic of my ups and downs during that time.  I also decided that a novel was in order, although it would be almost 10 years before I was ready to sit down and start writing.

So that’s the short version of my story.  I’m going to end here today, since I have to leave for choir practice soon (choir requires its own series of posts).

The original pencil sketch of Sick and Twisted:Sick and Twisted