Say what? “The GIFT of being torn to shreds?” Yes, IT’S AN ACTUAL THING! And, I might add, very important. Let me explain …
If you’ve been reading this Diary and have really gotten to know me, you know I’m a Spartan mental wealth advocate, especially where music therapy is concerned. I truly believe that music is an actual gift from Heaven, the “soul” purpose of which is to not only help us feel alive, but in some cases, to keep us alive!
Let’s back up! Raise your hand if you also know that I’m a Knucklehead, and that 5FDP is my band. Ahh, good, now where were we? Their music has been one of the best parts of my story, especially as I’ve started that bittersweet journey not every widow survives … “Crossing Over“. I follow each the band member faithfully on social media, not only because it’s fun, but also because it’s RIGHT! (“To whom much is given” works both ways, so always keep this in mind: If you favor an artist who’s craft brings treasure to your life … SUPPORT THEM! I’m certainly no rock star, nor am I anyone “famous”, but even in the small, but growing arena where I’m trying to shine my Light, it is SO good to feel valued. And dare I say there’s a better than not chance that most artists are true empaths, and thus tend to become emotionally and physically VANQUISHED while sharing their souls with the world? They deserve our support! But I’ve digressed …
Indeed I follow 5FDP faithfully, who recently named a new lead guitarist, Andy James. Two days ago I found him on Instagram, heard some of his solo work, and lo and behold, I had to message him:
Hello Mr. James. I’m not going to blow liar-face smoke up your ass and say “I’ve been following you allllll this time – love your stuff”. Because, that would be a liar face LIE! But, I’m following you now, and your music is awesome. One of my favorite treats in this realm has been my incessant search for “guitar that can make me cry”. Its actually been a huge part of my mental health battle and recovery. This year I’m “fifty-one-derful”, lol (51), and so far there are just under a handful of guitarists that have been able to take that crown – “shred her up and made her cry”. You’re now number 5! Well anyway, I just wanted to drop a line and say thank you. Music is how I survive. It’s like, “emotional cutting” without the scars or blood. I love to fucking hate it, so, THANKS MAN! You are a very talented, not that unfortunate looking razor blade!
The coolest part?
HE WROTE ME BACK!
AJ is extremely talented, and the first solo I heard did make me cry. It was so fucking awesome and so fucking tragic at the very same time! Especially in that what I’d written him was true … in my entire life of 51 years there had only been four guitars that literally “tore me to shreds”. (One of them, ironically, being the rift at :09 in Def Leppard’s “Torn To Shreds“.) I heard him play and found my number five! THIS GUYS GOT IT! He’s a magnificent beast and I’ve already downloaded all his albums. With that being said, have you ever heard of “emotional cutting”? The Urban Dictionary says this:
I’m an “emotional cutter”! But not in the clinical sense. I don’t enjoy injuring myself or being a victim. (At least not anymore.) My kind of “cutting” will heretofore only ever be referred to as “SHREDDING”, meaning, I hear certain music that makes me feel some way that I either was previously or am currently unable to connect with, the floodgates open, I run an emotional gauntlet, then it’s over, and I’m just better! Kind of like that “Real Life” thing in April 2008, that “Brighter Side Of Grey” thing in March, or that “Hold Her” thing in the parking lot. Some music just breaks me down! It’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s probably one of the BEST and HEALTHIEST tools I’ve managed to acquire in the quest to fortify my emotional wealth.
Rare is the guitar that evokes the shredding of all shreds of me, and at this point it’s my funnest game. Kind of like “Where’s Waldo”, where you search high and low through puzzle book insanity for this one little guy in a hat, but in my game it’s: “Where’s That ONE Guitar That Will Cut My Heart Out Like An Angel Blade Slicing A Hellhound, Only To Slip It Back As Softly Into My Chest As A Mother Nursing Her Child”. Yup. IT’S LIKE THAT! On a scale of all the music I’ve heard in my life? I suppose you could call it my Astatine … the rarest, darkest, most lustrous and mysterious semi-conducting element of them all. The first time a guitar ever happened to me this way:
I remember it vividly! I’d been out running errands and was approaching the house in which I dwelled that was certainly not a home when it availed itself on my cue. From that first solemn chord, the forlorn guitar began cutting me like a knife as I pulled into the garage. I couldn’t shut my car off and was compelled to sit and listen as the words began to play. Then, out of nowhere, a barrage of tears washed over me, literally and metaphorically. I was so numb and paralyzed in the moment that I couldn’t even lift my arms to wipe my eyes. I could neither breathe nor feel my fingertips as the music began manifesting a truly physical aching inside my heart.
It was “The Gift” I never saw coming, yet I needed so fucking badly, and one of the most significant crossroads of my life. Now then, back to today. There I was in a Costco parking lot after schlepping 200 pounds of stuff I didn’t need into my car. Meanwhile, I don’t know what your Costco parking lot looks like on Saturdays, but mine is like a 7am freeway on a Monday – jam packed with everyone and their mothers. I’m trying to back out, foot upon the brake, arm resting behind the passenger seat and head twisted all the way around waiting patiently for someone who’s not a selfish asshole to let me jump in line, because GOD FORBID someone gets in front of them IT COULD RUIN THEIR ENTIRE LIFE! You know what I’m sayin’, right? Anyhooo … SO, there I am waiting for what seemed like an actual eternity … and then … it happened again … when this found its way to my cue …
So, with that, I leave you with this:
“Emotional SHREDDING” …
It’s what’s for breakfast …
… or maybe even lunch …
… and sometimes in a Costco parking lot!
If you’re lucky enough to have been “shred” by a guitar, BE THANKFUL TO YOUR CREATOR! These moments? These artists? THEY’RE GIVEN FROM THE HAND ABOVE TO HELP US FIND OUR LIFE PULSE! To force us to “feel something”. Feel anything. FEEL ALL OF IT! It’s the best kind of medicine, totally free of charge, sometimes better than sex, and much less dangerous than getting drunk, high, tattooed, arrested, or worse yet, blowing your fucking brains out! Sorry, not sorry, to drop that last bomb, but have you read the story of my King? Do you know the TRUE beginning of his end? It was that moment by the window in our kitchen, a single tear falling from his eye: “Catherine, I can’t feel anything.”
If you’ve never experienced this true phenomenon, let me tell you how: Grab one of his albums (or even just this song), turn off the lights, put in the earphones, close your eyes, deep breathe in, slow breathe out, then just, press, play. It’s that simple! Inhale it. Absorb it. Run in to it like a fire! LET IT SEVER YOUR PSYCHE LIKE A SURGEON OPENING HIS PATIENT SO YOUR MIND CAN “FEEL” WHAT IT NEEDS TO HEAL! Let it crawl under your skin: Surreal. FANTASTICAL! If you bleed? You need to bleed. If you cry? You need to cry. Get pissed off? YOU NEED THAT TOO! It’s called self-validation, and I’m telling you people – IT’S EVERYTHING! Just let it all fucking go! (SEE ALSO: “Knives“, another one of “my five”.)
Now, I have an appointment with a brand new surgeon tonight, “Doctor James”. I’ll be sitting alone in this fortress I call home with all the space and freedom I need to let his hands bleed me to nothing so that if I’m lucky enough to wake up again tomorrow, I’ll be able to feel EVERYTHING!