Soundtrack of my Life: “Hope There’s Someone” by Antony and the Johnsons

I had also started this piece in the last couple of months, but I’ve had a hard time writing it. But I’ve started again, and will complete it so I don’t think about it anymore.

All I’ve ever wanted in life was to matter to someone. To be considered worthy of someone’s love and attention. Instead I’ve chosen to exist alone because the only men who have ever asked me out were abusive, controlling figures.  I settled for them because they were the only ones who came for me.

I wanted love, but I never met anyone who inspired me to try to get for myself. Until I met the Guy. The first year of being in love with him from a far was wonderful. I had hope that maybe this person, who seemed interested in me and my story and my life, was the exception to the rule. As the year progressed and I stopped being deluded in the fact that he was, in fact, that person, I was talked into saying something. But even then, I couldn’t pull the trigger until I lost hope in him looking at me and saying “Sure. Let’s give it a go.” The results were soul crushing. So I tried to walk away before I could do anymore damage. He talked me into staying and being his friend. Desperate for anything, I agreed. And that point, as my therapist recently told me, is the point everything went pear-shaped.

I’m not angry at The Guy. He’s dealing with his own pain.  I have nothing he really wants, as I have nothing to offer him. I get that. He still remains the only happiness in my life. He brightens my day in those brief moments, where his humour and brains dazzle me. He’s too good for me, far better a person, far smarter, far kinder. I hinder him. I can’t speak to him on his level, and I can’t understand the Marcus Aurelius he has asked me to read. But I keep trying because he asked me to and I love him, so I try again. And again. And again. Because he matters to me and I want to impress him always. And I fail at that.

God and I have played this game for my entire life. I feel like maybe something great is around the corner. I try to make it happen. God slaps me down and reminds me of my place in the universe. I have failed at everything I have tried to do to find something resembling happiness. My friends tell me, God only gives you the life you can handle. I’ve always been convinced God hates me because- well, I’ve been told he does by people (because I was always a horrible person in their eyes) and I don’t see much evidence in my life that they are wrong about that. Still, I go to church, pray, confess, and ask for forgiveness. I still believe if I do that, eventually something wonderful will be granted to me by God, even if it’s only heaven after death. This is the very definition of faith.

The second half of my friends internet quote is “Because God thinks I’m a badass.” I don’t feel like a badass. My brain is broken, but I’ve worked so hard at maintaining a level of survival because I’m afraid of the ultimate treatment for bipolar disorder that doesn’t respond to medication. Sheer determination keeps me alive, the knowledge of where my kids would end up and with who also a fine motivation. I survive in spite of my illness.

Which leads to Antony and the Johnsons “Hope There’s Someone”. It’s possibly the saddest song ever written. As I sit here and realize the pointlessness of my entire existence, I still want to matter, to be someone’s choice. I’m not asking to change the world, I’m too old for that shit. I just want to love somebody who accepts that love, and maybe loved me in return. I just want to sit beside someone in silence but feel at ease. We all hope for someone who will take care of us at the end of life. Most of us have children we expect to do that. But my mother died young, so I know the importance of a loving spouse. My father did much wrong both before and after my mother’s death, but he never wavered in his devotion to her, and never left her side in those ten years when she was so sick. He did one thing very right. He loved my mother.

I spent the last month in terror. I am now the same age my mother was when she was first diagnosed with cancer, and my paranoia about sucumbing to the same fate was fueled when I discovered a painful lump. It turned out be nothing of consequence, but I went home every night to an empty bed. I talked to no one. I was afraid to talk to family and friends and alarm them. I know they worry that I might meet that fate as well. I felt helpless and alone. And I thought of my father, a man I cannot sustain a relationship with because of everything that went on between us as I grew up, and how for all his faults as a father, he loved my mother, and the pain of knowing no man will ever look at me the way he looked at her…

There is a spot in “Hope There’s Someone” that really gets me (and Anohni, based on her reaction in the video when she gets there. She stops and has to start again). Christianity’s obsession with good and evil, and purgatory- “I’m scared of the middle place between light and nowhere. I don’t want to be the one left in there.” The fire and brimstone teachings that are meant to scare children into compliance lay to a fear of the afterlife. Does God, as Lutheranism declares, allow the faithful into heaven based on his grace alone? What is required to obtain this grace? In Lutheranism, good works have little impact on whether you will be accepted into heaven. It’s by faith alone. We don’t believe in purgatory as a concept as it violates that concept. There is heaven and there is hell. But there is still that streak of long ago Catholicism that my mother’s family once believed in generations before that leaves the thought in my head. Heaven is a blessing. Hell is a nightmare. Purgatory is nothingness. You are forgotten, even by God and Satan. It’s what tortured me as a child. If, like people were telling me, I was not worthy of God’s grace, but not bad enough to enter hell because I attempt to live a life based on the tenets of my faith but fail- what happens to me?

I cry every time I’ve heard this song over the last several months, because the rejection hurts so much, and far differently than all previous rejection I’ve felt before. I cry because I’m scared that the person God actually intended for me to spend my life with was a liar, a cheater, and an abusive asshole. At least he at least asked me out and kept me around. I didn’t love him, but at least he was somebody. I cry because I can’t convince The Guy he isn’t what he thinks he is, and I’m angry at the people who let him believe that about himself. I’m frustrated because I want him to talk to me instead of rendering platitudes and vague spirituality, which can only work so much. I want to help but don’t know how, and he won’t let me into his world. I want to believe him when he tells me he’s a horrible human being, but he has yet to actually prove to me anything that would cause me to think he is one. And mostly, I cry because I afraid he may be right, that love is pointless, happiness is nothing to try to achieve, and it is better to be alone in the world. Which means everything I’ve believed about life is a lie.

My mother once said that I would meet someone and they will change my entire inner life. That is the person you love. And she always told me the person you love will love you in return and your life will make sense. I cry because she might have been lying to me.

Love is supposed to be magical and life affirming. It was. Until I realized I was alone in that as well. I know I can’t make him love me. And I know I can’t be his friend as long as I want more. And I’m scared to pull away. And I’m scared I can’t stop how I feel about him like he asked and just be friends with no expectations of more. I’m scared to keep him in my life. I’m scared to lose him.

There are days I wish it was two years ago and we had never met. There are days I wish it was six months ago and I never said anything at all. I spend my days desperately trying to figure out how to fix things but knowing as long as there is the emotion imbalance between the two of us there can never be a resolution except never seeing or talking to each other again. I wish I could take it all back. But I can’t. I fucked up everything because of one thread of hope.

Lesson learned from 2016: trust my first instinct and don’t people. People-ing is bad. Attempting to change my love life is bad. Love isn’t worth it. It really isn’t. And the world without David Bowie is bleak and unforgiving.

Oh, Anohni. Sing one more time.