The Music Of Abuse

I first met Monster #2–the domestic violence monster, not the pedophile–when we were in high school. I had two female best friends in high school. We joked that we were like Charlie’s Angels since there was a redhead, a blonde and a brunette.

I was Farrah Fawcett.
I was Farrah Fawcett.

Anyway, it was time for the senior prom. Brunette was going with a guy from another school she was sort of dating. Redhead was going with one of his friends. And I wasn’t planning to go at all since I was entirely done with this thing called school and couldn’t be arsed to spend one half second more with those people. Brunette and redhead protested. This is the SENIOR PROM. We have to go. Who the hell cares? If I find you a date, will you go? God, no. I’ll find my own date, thank you. My redhead friend was awfully good at reverse psychology.

So, I set forth to find a date. I didn’t care who. There was a junior who had a crush on me. I asked him. He wholeheartedly agreed. I don’t even remember his name. The night before prom, he came to my house with a corsage. But prom isn’t until tomorrow! I know. My mom said I can’t go. She said it will ruin my own prom next year. I’m awfully sorry. Gee, thanks for all the advance notice. Tell your mom to get bent.

I called up redhead, secretly pleased that I couldn’t go. Well, now I really will have to find a date for you. No, please, don’t. I don’t want to go. I never did. But you have a ticket, a dress and everything! Let me see what I can do. Sigh.

The next day, Redhead told me to get ready and they would pick me up at such and such time. You found me a date? You’ll see! I put on my prom dress with my combat boots, re-shaved the parts of my head that were shaved and touched up the color; I believe it was blue then. At the appointed time, a car pulled into my driveway containing redhead and her date, and brunette and her date. Well, where’s mine? You’ll see.

We arrived at the prom, and when they asked seating for two or four, redhead and her date shouted THREE in unison. What. The. Fuck. Redhead knew that I wouldn’t come if she told me that she couldn’t find a date, which is entirely true, so she talked to her date and he agreed to escort us both.

Her date ended up being Monster #2. That’s how we met.

Eight years and several hundred miles later, he would try to kill me and I would call the police on his ass. He would skip town and avoid charges, leaving me with a mess of bills that I couldn’t prove weren’t mine.

In between though, there was a life.

I’m an audiophile. Music is probably the most important thing in my life. If you asked me to give up either movies or music, I would give up movies. Between books and music, I think I would still choose music, although it would be a tough call. After Monster #2, I lost eight years worth of music from the early 1990s on up to nearly 2000. I couldn’t own any of it anymore. I couldn’t listen to it because it would remind me.

I lost Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails, Soundgarden and The Smashing Pumpkins. I lost Ministry, The Stone Roses, Faith No More, and Social Distortion. I lost Tool, Suicidal Tendencies, The Beastie Boys and Public Enemy. I lost Jane’s Addiction, Alice In Chains, R.E.M. and Primus. Some of them I refused to give up. Some of them, like The Beasties, were mine before I met him. Some of them I refused to let him take from me.

Still, most of them were gone. It’s not like I made a conscious decision to get rid of them. Well, in some cases, when an album really reminded me of him, I did consciously and deliberately smash it and that felt damn good, but most of them just faded away. They sat on my CD shelf, when CDs were still a thing, and I just never listened to them again. I never even imported them into mp3 format. They remain CDs forever.

I wake up with a song in my head every day. Something has been going on in my subconscious mind recently. A lot of the songs I wake up with are songs I listened to in the 90s. I had Bauhaus’ Telegram Sam stuck in my head a few weeks back. The next week, it was The Stone Roses. I’ve had a lot going on lately, so I’ve been bad about writing them down, but this morning, it was Soundgarden singing Full On Kevin’s Mom:

I disregarded it; I wrote all this 90s business off as random brain weirdness and forgot about it. Then this morning, with Soundgarden rattling around in my brain, I read a post at Clown On Fire, where The Smashing Pumpkins are mentioned, and somehow, I felt it was imperative that I listen to their first album Gish immediately. I acquired it and listened and it all came back. I remembered this song:

And these lyrics:

All that you suffer is all that you are
All that you smother is all that you are
And you’re saying you’re seeing, you’re saying who you are
What takes meaning is cleaning the meaning of who you are

All may say
I will dream
All may say

All your struggles beneath your disguise
Drink from the reasons that hold you alive
‘Til we’re safe from the wounds of desire and pain
You must rise from the mounds of desire and change

Too late to discover peace of mind
Too late to recover me

All you see and all you breathe and all you cease to be
Taken down your only son and what he means to me
Your dream will be
To dream with me

Will you wait? Yes I will, I will wait for you
To cleanse your life takes more than time
Take what you want
Take all of it

Too late to discover peace of mind (have no peace of mind)
Too late to recover

And how I listened to that album, that song over and over when he was beating and demeaning and destroying me little by little. I clung to it as if it was an island.

All that you suffer is all that you are.

And then I listened to it again and I let it go. I let a deep breath invade and escape. I took it and made it mine again. And when I am all moved into my new home, I will consciously take all of those dusty CDs out and make them mine again. He will not take the music. He will never have any more power over me.