Every so often, I like to go to a therapist for a sanity tune-up. Having my mental oil changed assures me that there is no brain sludge built up that will cause me to suddenly and inexplicably stab a passing stranger and pan roast his toe knuckles for a snack.
The last therapist I had was a wonderful woman who mostly listened to me blather and on occasion, would utter some pearl of wisdom. Like this:
“I have to tell you… sometimes your thinking is kind of extreme and maudlin.”
After I stopped keening and rending my garments, I did what anyone would do when handed this mental report card: look for someone to blame.
Most would blame their parents, religion, environment, television, high fructose corn syrup.
I came of age in the 70’s. Those songs, those insidious lyrics about death, and teen pregnancy that led to death, and bloody morning-after death, and the public school bullying of half-Cherokee women, and how you could cause a black-out in the entire state of Georgia because you entrusted your soul to a backwoods Southern lawyer became a part of me.
Sometimes you don’t even realize what is taking root in the fertile ground of your psyche until much later. I mean, seriously, I think back and I was a really happy and hopeful kid. I remember a lot of joy and fun. Well, at least in the summer. Not so much in the winter. Which makes me wonder if I had Seasonal In The Sun Affective Disorder. Or maybe my growing depression was because I learned far too early in life that any stars I could reach were just starfish on the beach.
I’ll be honest with you; I have never been mellow. Not once. Can you blame me? When girls were learning the truth at seventeen that love was meant for beauty queens?
And let’s not even talk about the fact that makin’ love was NOT just for fun because that kind of irresponsible sexual behavior not only left you all by yourself but could get you shot by your daddy even though you begged him “don’t” and you even said “please”.
But where could I go for solace? Every single state in the US was tainted. Chicago was dead, California was one big creepy hotel that you could never leave, Nebraska was haunted by Wildfire the ghost pony, Arizona had the suicidal Tallahatchie bridge, and Texas had Delta Dawn and all her flower-wearing, wandering-aimlessly-through-town-because-you-promised-to-marry-me-at-16-and-I’m-still-a-virgin-at-41 emotional baggage.
Man, oh, Mandy, this is a depressing article. I’m sorry if I’ve strummed your pain with my fingers.
But seriously, thanks a lot, 1970’s.
You killed me softly with your songs.