Dec 262016
 

“Toxic.” Yeah you can talk all you want about how pop music is artless, soulless tripe. I’d have probably sneered sanguinely along with you until late 2007. By then, I was as tired of that fucking song as anyone. I was also newly sober, deeply concerned for my mental health and running away from a job that had kicked my ass…a failure unlike any I’d previously experienced. I was having a solo supper, pondering the wreckage of my life, maybe 9 months of sobriety under my belt and the shadow of the demon that was my alcoholism perpetually snapping at my heels. Then this fucking song comes on. I tune it out but Spears’ autotuned forced breathiness skewered my consciousness.

 

Baby, can’t you see
I’m calling
A guy like you should wear a warning
It’s dangerous
I’m falling

I sighed, trying to tune it out but some facet of my consciousless sparked to life.

There’s no escape
I can’t wait
I need a hit
Baby, give me it
You’re dangerous
I’m loving it

Too high
Can’t come down
Losin’ my head
Spinnin’ ’round and ’round
Do you feel me now?

I could only relate on a limited basis to this song about feeling so hooked on someone…perhaps once in my life, OK, maybe…but that shit doesn’t last and wasn’t what drew me in.

The taste of your lips
I’m on a ride
You’re toxic I’m slippin’ under
With a taste of a poison paradise

I’m addicted to you
Don’t you know that you’re toxic?
And I love what you do
Don’t you know that you’re toxic?

Then it twisted my stomach like nausea…this wasn’t about a lover. Not a real one, anyway. Not a human one, anyway. This was the deconstruction of an analogy back to its origin…a song about being addicted to a human as though they were a drug was clearly also about being addicted to…well…a chemical. In my case, ethyl alcohol.

It’s getting late
To give you up
I took a sip
From my devil’s cup
Slowly, it’s taking over me

Too high
Can’t come down
It’s in the air and it’s all around
Can you feel me now?

Yeah, I could feel it. Aching. Rageful. Denied but alwys hoping to make a comeback. Every day praying for relapse. I’d been struggling to fight my own demon for months now and some days were harder than others. It was hard to live with the idea that I was so self-destructive, that a beast in the form of a hyena was the essence of my soul and boy was she Ugly, Mean and strong. So strong. How could you ever come to terms with that?

…I’m addicted to you
Don’t you know that you’re toxic?
And I love what you do
Don’t you know that you’re toxic?
Don’t you know that you’re toxic?

Taste of your lips

Taste of your lips
I’m on a ride
You’re toxic I’m slippin’ under
With a taste of a poison paradise

I’m addicted to you
Don’t you know that you’re toxic?

This was, without a doubt, the most toxic relationship I’d ever had….and I was having it with myself. I was my own destructive lover. And I hated myself for it.

But I would need to learn, I realised, how to love myself for it.

As soon as though through rose clawing to the surface I slammed it back down again with the same club I’d been using to beat the shadow demon for these long, long months. That wasn’t possible. No way to love that screaming, filthy rage. It needs excision, removal. It needs to die.

I wasn’t able to see her for what she was…a jilted lover, lashing out in pain.

But I would. And I did. And this stupid, tripe pop bullshit was the first stone in the bottom of a well that would eventually become a second stone. And a third…enough, eventually, to build myself a ladder out of that hole and back into life.

SO, yeah. I don’t ever mock the pop pablum. That song helped me stay sober, prodded my brain into a thought proces that, to this day, keeps me alive.

Plus, it is one of my Demon’s favorites. I owe her the respect to listen to it now and again.

This is why I cringe whenever I see people snickering at the loss of a pop star.

Every time a celebrity dies or a tragedy strikes I see people sniping at those mourning because they “should really be more worried about [INSERT “REAL” TRAGEDY] than about some silly [INSERT PERCEIVED “TRIVIALITY”].”

Look here, buddy.

You don’t know. You have no idea how people live their emotional lives. Blah blah blah. Who cares that another singer/actor/celebutante died? Who gives a fucking fuck about them? All this energy should be directed to save the world, slacker.

You bloody forget that people can have multiple layers of emotional reality. You damn well don’t know how impactful these celebs have been on individual lives. You are dead wrong if you think what you see on your Facebook feed expresses the depth and reality of the people posting. Laugh all you want at someone crying over the death of someone they never met…you can’t know that this one song by that one singer helped that person stay alive for one more day. You’ll never see that the personal fear of succumbing to the struggle with mental illness is what drives a person to obsess over the very public breakdown of another celebrity. That person who selectively posts about tragedy might be callous…or they may have very stringent filters in place as they strive to avoid being overwhelmed. You don’t know if the person who posts about some bullshit that *you* feel is pointless is actually profoundly motivated, inspired, galvanized by that which seems a triviality to you.

I put this challenge out there, and I’m taking it up myself…next time you’re mocking someone’s slacktivism, angst, grief, whatever as trivial or lament aloud about where that energy SHOULD go, according to YOUR judgement about what is or isn’t important, take three deep breaths and think about how much you cannot and will never know about the struggles each of us quietly and loudly engage in every day. And maybe, just maybe? Consider that the BS you see as a steaming pile of crap is the fertiliser that feeds someone else’s secret garden.

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