On the topic of loss, and what we think qualifies as loss — when it (the loss, itself) could’ve very well been just a brief moment of fine tuning offered in the form of someone who was never meant to stick around in the first place– I think we have no idea what the fuck we’re talking about. I mean, maybe you do…but I don’t. Do we really lose someone just because we’ve moved onto something else? Does it, in any way, discount the love we have for them? And when did we all become so dramatic?
I wonder what’s happened to a lot of people who have just disappeared from my life, not in a lose sleep make a facebook account pay for the find lost friends and everyone else in the world website type of way, but in a more innocent way. In the kind of way my dog gives me a confused look when I ask him, sincere as all hell, if he loves me and I actually expect an answer from him. And as for facebook, you’ll know I’ve gone off the deep-end if I ever create another account on that travesty of a cheapened excuse for social interaction site and show even an ounce of support for furthering the degradation of humanity as we know it. If you’re on it– whatever– I don’t care. You need to know what your aunt in Alabama is doing. I get it I’ve heard it. Still not for me.
But back to the wondering…I wonder what’s happened to a brilliant man I once met through a job, a man who gushed over my writing and all but begged me to send him my first chapter. A man whose opinion of it I would’ve valued more than most humans I’ve known practically my whole life. A man who had an answer for any tech on any job- be it lighting, audio, guitar world, video– it was as if he were espoused with the inherent knowledge of all that there ever was to know about the world that we live in. And he was humble. I mean, Really fucking humble. But now he’s just gone, and I’m left wondering if it was me or something I said, because that’s what we all do. Almost eight billion people on the planet, and most of us tend to overlook the most elementary fact that what other people do with their time, and the choices that they make, has nothing to do with us. Because eight billion people means eight billion lives that need living, and I mean– it’s not a collective effort. We’re on our own here, man.
My dad sent me a photograph the other day from when I was in the seventh grade. I was somewhere in the middle of my exploration of hippie ideals, as evidenced by my see-through purple cheesecloth smock and homemade necklaces. I was reading a lot of Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, and Noam Chomsky at the time. In retrospect, I’m not even sure how I got my hands on those books. The fact that punk rockers and hippies are actually the same thing hadn’t really occurred to me yet and a lot of the specifics in the writings were lost on me– probably due to the fact that I was twelve or thirteen– but the core beliefs stuck with me. Then I got angry about it all, heard black flag for the first time, and became a punk rocker for life. But my beliefs didn’t change because they didn’t need to.
I wonder about the people in the photo. There are five of us. One was called Pamela and she was the first woman (besides my mom) who I ever knew that smoked cigarettes. Unfortunately, she made it look goddam sexy. There’s only one man, called Bart. The only thing that I remember about Bart was that he was the first man to ever go down on me. I actually remember everything about the room that it happened in and what I was wearing and the time of year and everything. I don’t remember why we broke up, but I imagine it was either because one or both of us found someone prettier, or the fact that he insisted Mudhoney was better than Nirvana and I wasn’t fucking having it. There are also two sisters in the photo. The Ross sisters. They were Mormon and I had a crush on both of them. I knew they didn’t believe in sex before marriage so I was fairly certain that same sex anything was out. I don’t know who did the disappearing- me or them. I don’t know how to find any of them now.
Now- I’m pushing 41 and things have come full circle. It’s everything I can muster to make myself work the appropriate amount of days to pay my rent– because every sunny day and every spark of inspiration has me yearning to hop in the van to run naked through deserts with people half my age– people I’ve likely just met upon arrival. People who share with me their visions of creating Intentional Communities. People who think that because I am older than them I could possibly be wiser as well. I live in California, so ninety percent of my days are filled with sunshine and inspiration. And this is where the idea of anticipatory wondering comes in… Where will they go and will they take me with them? Or vice versa. Are we meant to share anything beyond some meals and outre conversation? Will we ever again feel like we can live inside of one another’s skin? Will we ever want to?
I know that I loved all of these people and that I still do. I don’t know or care if that’s a practical use of my energy or not, but I know that I love them and that’s what makes me still wonder about them. I knew that I loved them right away. “It was love at bomb site”– enter the title of this post- Barbed Wire Love by Stiff Little Fingers. The first time I saw Stiff Little Fingers, I was seventeen years old, and it was at the Knitting Factory in NYC. I remember drinking a forty out of a brown paper bag on the sidewalk before the show and being blown away that the cops didn’t care. I also remember who I was with, and this is how I know that love (all of it) is barbed at one point or another. I was with the boyfriend I wrote about in a former post (I Need You) on this page who beat the shit out of me as a teenager. I don’t wonder where he is now because I know where he is now. The scene that birthed me, that taught me to be autonomous so it could throw me to the wolves, taught me how to love but it didn’t tell me who to love. Like everyone else, I figured it out the hard way. The thorns worn by roses are not by coincidence.
That’s the fucked part of life and love. You run around for years searching for all of the good ones that you lost along the way when all of the bad ones never leave your sight. You wonder what happened to your first kiss so much that you forget the fact that there’s eight billion first kisses still waiting to happen– and one of them could be electric. There’s not a relationship on the planet that maintains the integrity it started out with. Everything is Fluid. The hippies taught me to Go with it. The punks taught me to Fight for it. Cuz in the end, “Barbed wire love snags my jeans”….
Listen Here – Barbed Wire Love
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LOVE this so much, I am hooked every time I start reading your prose. Thanks Beth