Tuesday, 24 August 2010

All Time Low

Sometimes song lyrics filter into our awareness and hook into something that we feel or think.
I guess I'm not alone in this experience as I know it's something that has, in itself, been sung about in the "strumming my pain with his fingers" song... Y'know the one... (Frustratingly, I can only think of The Fugees - with their irritating 'one time' spin on it- though I first knew the original version by __________fill in the blank_____).
THAT song tells of someone's shock and disbelief at hearing a young boy singing their "whole life with his words". The narrator (do songs HAVE narrators?) feels that his or her secret pain has been exposed, as though the boy has opened up her letters and "read each one aloud".
Interesting that the song expresses a sense of the agony that can come from being 'known' in an intimate way, of being revealed. The narrator prays that the boy will finish, suggesting that it is absolutely unbearable.
I wonder if the agony was in being known or in being faced with his/her own pain.
Perhaps a mixture.

I digress. I actually wanted to write about the very opposite reaction to the one I've just discussed.

I wasn't listening to the radio I had on as I was driving today but somehow the words of a song I've never heard, pushed their way into my head.
As lyrics sometimes do (and despite the fact I'm not completely sold on the song as a whole) they made something in me feel a little bit heard and understood and realised.
It's odd how a part of you can suddenly and unexpectedly be given a voice through a medium which has no knowledge of your existence, let alone experience.
I guess it's a testimony to the human condition and to the fact that in ways we don't necessarily ever get to experience wholly, we are never quite alone.

Praying won't do it
Hating won't do it
Drinking won't do it
Fighting won't knock you out
Of my head

Hiding won't hide it
Smiling won't hide it
Like I ain't tried it
Everyone's tried it now
And failed somehow

So when you gonna let me
When you gonna let me out - Out

And if you know
How do you get up from an all time low
I'm in pieces
Seems like peace is
The only thing I'll never know
How do you get up
Get up

‘Cos driving won't do it
Flying won't do it
Denying won't do it
Crying won't drown it out

Not really a song of hope or anything, but there may be something ever so slightly comforting in hearing another pose the questions that you have so often asked in the dead of night.


  1. Wow – how do you manage to give such reassuring responses while you are experiencing such distress? Thank you. Your expression of feeling so low does not me feel worse. It makes me feel more, which is both exciting and distressing at the same time, like I am in some way coming to life although terrified of it. It’s easy for me to become wrapped up in your expressions of your experience .You speak for me and to me in so many ways, it’s scary. Literally. I often feel like I have to take a little break from your blog, to find for myself a safe distance. Or the appropriate distance; how a person is supposed to mentally interact in an amorphous inter-relational forum like this. And then I read again, with that same fear I feel while failing to be able to really talk to my therapist. You really do ask questions I think in the dead of night. You are very, very brave.

    About using people, you know we all come to this site for our own reasons. Most people who visit and especially those who comment certainly genuinely care about you, your story, and your thoughts. I don’t think that diminishes, or is diminished by, the personal reasons that led us to this encounter. People can both want to give, and just want, at the same time. What do you want from this blog? Both the process of writing it, and from any resulting interactions? Or what do you wish it would do, versus what it actually does for you? Has that changed over time? Just curious, because I wish I could express myself as you do.

  2. So sad. So very, veru sad.
    This post has touched me deeply.

    That's all.
    Thinking of you, and still praying, even if it's pointless.

  3. I was in that place for about six years. You feel as if there's no way out, nothing to be done, nowhere to go and nothing you can do to make it better. Or in my case make it stop. Oh boy, I remember it well... hard as I try not to. It was awful and I hope never to go back there again because I have no confidence whatsoever that I would survive it a second time. Just awful.

    It was Roberta Flack. The original artist and she might have written the tune.

  4. HI LOVE_

    Oh my, you so capture the essence of struggle and despair and beyond there IS hope, you, on some level know this is true - scream it with me, ok?

    love to you
    peace and hope....

  5. Thanks for your commment, I think this inner child work is pretty much a mandatory for anyone who has been born.

    I never thought of those lyrics (to killing me softly) in such a way until now, though its totally obvious when you think about it. I imagine her walking into a bar and wondering who this stranger is. Part of what she might feel is anger that her suffering is not unique to her.

  6. just want you to know I'm here listening.

  7. WS, I am hear listening, partly hearing you. I cannot relate to all you went through, yet like Elan said, inner child work near all of us have to do and I gave my little angel her very first birthday recently. I agree with Faith, you souls expresses itself in words I never would have thought of! For myself I struggle with the relaity that various feelings may exist side by side at the same time. SIGH, not sure how to deal with it. Love you. sister in pain, sister in recovery.

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  9. Oddly, I think I have always read and addressed you as "Wandering Soul." I just realized today you designated yourself a wonderer, not a wanderer. I don't know if that says more about me and what I see when I read your blog, or more about you, and how your reflections perhaps lend themselves to a slight mis-read of your name.

    I laugh a bit at myself for the error, and remember you noting your chagrin about realizing something similar with respect to the spelling of your blog address. Here we both are, well-educated, great vocabularies, the power not just of prose, but more than that, real expression. I wish you could ghost-write my massive writing project for me :)

    What compels me to write to you again is not funny at all, though. I'm thinking about your sister, and you and your sister. It sounds as though you in fact have at least two sisters, and as difficult as circumstances are with the anorexic sister, things aren't great with the other sister either.

    I have three sisters. The oldest has always been “special.” Undiagnosed autism or something along those lines, probably, and life has been difficult for her. Hell, really. In a dramatic gesture, ten years ago, she tied a rope around her waist and jumped off a bridge over a highway. She was physically unhurt, was hospitalized for months, and in many ways has come so far from that point. In other ways, she, and all of us, are worse; not because of that moment, but everything that led up to it, and what has transpired since. I was angry with her; I honestly wished she had jumped without the rope. I thought she was trying to get attention. I feel horrible about this now, as I begin to understand. My own cuts, burns, weight loss, etc. And her issues from so early on were all of our issues. Like you, nothing particularly awful. But the relational complexities of young sisters for us, at least have become that much more complicated, and magnified, especially as they have had children. Like you, I feel like I’ve lost my one sister, years ago. Another, I’ve realized, never really was my sister, although we share the same parents and grew up together. I usually can’t feel this grief, although tonight I do.

    I feel for you, and your sisters, as well as for me and mine.

  10. I tried to post here and lost it. I'm out of energy now, suffice to say thay I so appreciate your comments but feel quite overwhelmed at the moment. I'm about to attempt to install a wireless printervthat wrecked my connection and may do so again so please font be offended if I don't reply for a bit...

  11. Ok.. So. Replies before my time is overwhelmed by my return to work...

    Faith. Wow! I have so much I could say and yet I don't know where to start!
    I find it really strange to imagine that my blog is, in any way, helpful to anyone, and yet it sounds as though it has been, at least, a little bit of a catalyst for somthing inside you. I love it that it feels as though something in you has been brought to life.. I love it because I understand it. I too have hd that amazing experience of reading someone else's words and feeling as though each one is speaking directly to some very unknown and unexpresed part of you which has been in pain for a long time. I too have felt the pain stir when reading another's descriptions and I know how exciting and terribl it can feel.
    I hope that you can, in some way, find some hope... I often feel that this blog must be the most miserable place on the web... but it's nice to think it might not be THAT awful.

    I am so sorry to hear about your sister. Her pain is, and has been, very much your pain and you must trynot to feel bad about the feelings you have about her bridge jumping escapade. Trauma like that has a profound effect on those who are left to watch, and the ongoing nature of it, the helplessness and the agony of watching other's suffer, are enough to destroy a huge part of you.
    I hear the pain and the grief behind your words and my heart goes out to you.
    It's a wordless agony this relational chaos between siblings... I'm so sorry you have suffered it.

    How have you other 2 sisters responded to it I wonder?
    I am one of three.

    Thank you for your words, Faith.
    They are a privilege to hear.

    S - I didn't mean to sadden you. There is some hope in the fact that I am not alone in the feelings I have...
    I hope that you can hear that, a bit...
    Thank you so much for thinking of me and praying. Despite the fact that my faith is not always as in tact as it should be (if I was a 'proper / good' Christian, I dn't think I'd ever dare say that praying is pointless.
    Thank you for your kind words. x

    JSS - Roberta Flack! Yes!
    As I mentioned to you before, I really apreciate your comment and gain some degree of consolation from the idea that someone has been through this and lived to tell the tale. It is so good to hear from people who have been in this dark place, believe therefore, that it DOES exist, and have come out the other side.
    one of my main fears (and it really is an old, old fear) is that nobody will believe me if I tell them about the darkness and the pain. It's souch a relief then, when Ihear that it really does exist (that is, for others...which verifies my truth... makes me feel real).
    Thanks. x

  12. Gail - Yes. Ok. I will and am...
    Some minutes if some days I can feel hope on some level.
    Others, not at all.
    Thank you for being here Gail.
    Hoping you are ok. x

    Elan - Hi. Wow. Your comment really interested me because I had to think long and hard about the concept that the girl in the song may have been angered by the fact that her suffering wasn't unique to her! It's something that hadn't occured to me.
    I tend to find it more comforting (as in, less isolating) to hear someone who suffers in similar ways, but perhaps others feel... angry? I don't know!
    Thanks for making me think!!

    Sarah - Thank you for letting me know. AND, it's mutual y'know. x

    Paula - I know how much you have battled and yes, I very much understand that you have problems with the fct that these two, very distinct, sides can exist alongside each other. you would think tat one would give up and die but... it doesn't seem to work like that!
    Thank you for understanding. xx

  13. Elan's comment interested me too because I'm one of those who feels a certain anger (well, I guess you could call it anger - maybe it's really something else) at the idea that my suffering isn't unique. I start to think, "Even my craziness isn't anything special."

    But maybe that's not it at all - maybe it's that the anger (or whatever it is) comes from the realization that I'm not as alone in my nuttiness as I've been led to believe - like I've been fooled into thinking that I'm more different from other people than I actually am. And I've lived my whole life with that belief at its core - all because most people won't tell the truth.

  14. WS, the thought you obviously put into your responses to comments is really touching, always appreciated, but never obligatory. Ok? I’m very, very tentatively starting my own blog, so I have a way to express things I’ve felt I could express here, without dominating your comments section. We can talk about you here, and me on my site :) The community here seems accepting, so I am adjusting to the idea of several people seeing my page – it’s http://humanuniversality.blogspot.com/

    Does your therapist know about your blog? If so, do you discuss it with her? My therapist knows about your blog; I mentioned it in an email to him. Now I worry he seems my comments to you, and will see my own blog. But I’m trying to be ok with that (unlikely) possibility.

    I honestly don’t know how my other sisters (2, 3) reacted to the other sister’s (1) most dramatic enactment. Mostly like I did, I think, with confusion and anger. 2 raised 1’s daughter for some time; that has now become a twisted situation in which the daughter has made allegations of inappropriate touching, 2 believes it is malicious, and no longer speaks to 1 nor lets her young son see his favorite cousin, whom he always knew as his sister. Etc., etc. We didn’t grow up this way. I instinctively disagree each time my therapist refers to my family as dysfunctional – we were always just the typical small town family. School, church, etc. I’m visiting them for a few days this weekend, for 1’s 40th birthday. 3 thought we should make a big deal of it, but the surrounding dynamics make it difficult. I return to civilization next Tuesday, fortunately :)

    And last but not least, your blog is not awful at all, it is beautiful. Thank you for sharing yourself this way. It's clearly very difficult sometimes, but much appreciated. I wish I could meet you, then think that is the beauty of this medium, that it has that ultimate safety net/barrier/enforced structure.