Those who know me are often known to get a glazed look in their eye as I bring up Pearl Jam. Some love my enthusiasm,some don’t get it. I’ve a friend who has often said he wished he had a passion like this in his life. Me,I’ve often wondered why they mean so much to me.
In November I’m Loving Myself Now in a big was as I’m going to the States to see them 5 times(assuming I get tickets for the shows I don’t have yet).
As I write this I can feel shivers of fear and shame break through my body. Fear that I’m going to be derided for being so into a band-it took me three years to mention this to my therapist. Shame for the reasons for the trip that I’m about to write. A small voice is pleading ‘don’t tell,don’t tell’. As I’m quickly learning this blog means telling to Love Me Now. To face my shame and vulnerability and throw my truth out there.
I’m from a family of addicts(alcohol,drugs,gambling the main addictions) and took up the baton early and knew I had a problem with alcohol by the time I was 20. I’d stop and start,switch to dope,go back to booze and by the time I was 28 I was in rehab having progressed nicely to injecting coke. After 7 months I left and for a little over 7 years I didn’t drink or use until I got involved with a woman who drank. Since I hadn’t any desire to drink I thought it wouldn’t hurt to drink with her. How wrong I was. The first few times it was ok then one night it was as if a switch had been hit and the same addict drive kicked in and I went through three years of absolute hell. Utterly crazy behaviour,not able to keep a job,cocaine overdose became habitual,living rough, and finally a little over seven years ago I overdosed on heroin and died. I didn’t even like heroin,I wanted to go up not down but it was all there was around and it meant I could use a needle which was a very deep love of mine. Self harm never felt so good. I was brought round by the total strangers I was using with and I got the message enough to stop that October.
I’ll be 46 in November and knew there would be a fall tour in the US and decided I’d try for tickets if a date fell on my birthday. There was,Oakland on the 26th. The next deal was if I won tickets in the fan club lottery I’d go. I put in for Oakland and for some reason Phoenix and won them both. That meant I now had to keep the deal I’d made with myself,keep my word with myself. But I’d need a lot of money. I work purely on commission fundraising for a charity so there were no certainties yet since I won the tickets I’ve raised far more than I’d expected so I’ve been able to buy flights,some dollars and 4 of my 13 nights in a hotel so far. And I trust I will have enough. Somehow I know all will work out just perfectly.
Then I found out about a road trip from Phoenix to San Diego for the show there and onto LA for the 2 shows there. Dirty Franking they’re calling the trip after a bus driver the band had in their early days. This sounds like great fun and for me really great because I’ve been a loner a lot of my life. My shame keeping me from connecting with people when I was younger to the drugs when I was older so I’d go to see bands,watch football etc alone only ever having enough courage to say hello if I was at least semi smashed and therefore the shame and fear buried enough. Also as a child with a lot of abandonment I’d recreate this as well so I was pretty much set on a life of exile as painful as this was.
So,aged 45 I’m going on my first road trip and will end up in Oakland on my birthday celebrating not so much my birth as my life. My second chance at life having been so close to never making it this far,just another tragic drug statistic.
Being alive has really started to mean something to me. One of the lyrics of Alive is-
Is something wrong ,she said
Well of course there is
You’re still alive she said
Oh,and do I deserve to be?
I kept listening to this a couple of months ago on the way to a Shamanic workshop,tears streaming down my face wondering what the hell is the point in not having died,of being alive if I’m so unhappy. If I’m not doing anything that enhances my life and the life of others around me. So I’m deciding to do something about this and live. Love Myself Now.
And to use another lyric,this time from Down
‘If hope could grow from dirt like me it can be done.’
Because that was the story my shame told me over and over. I’m dirt. Unlovable,worthless.
So I’m taking myself on a road trip to see my favourite band. To celebrate being alive. To close a volume of the story of my life and start a new one. One where I dream to live free-er, happier,with more joy,love,dancing,laughter,tears,pleasure.
I can’t wait. It’s so exciting though the shame gremlins want to trash it but I’m not letting them.
And on top of everything else I’ll get some winter sun,pancakes for breakfast,ribs…
It’s very powerful putting into words what I’m doing for me. It’s also really scary to value myself this much.
To Love Myself this much. This brings tears of joy. And confusion because the low self worth,stay in hiding place just can’t cope.
Oh,did I mention I’m going to see the greatest rock band in the world?