Musical Delusion

almost-paradise-mike-reno-ann-wilsonIn Neither One of Us, I wrote about how I created a destructive delusion with a Gladys Knight song.  I’d like to explore this a little more.  This is something I do a lot. I hear or sing a song and I want to feel it deeply, so much so that I begin to create an alternative reality.  Sometimes it becomes reality.

I can remember doing this as early as elementary school.  There was a song in the 80s called Almost Paradise by Loverboy.

O Almost Paradise.
We’re knocking on heaven’s door.
Almost Paradise.
How could we ask for more?
I swear that I could see forever, in your eyes.

One day, there was a carnival at the park near my house.  There were lots of kids from school there and there was one particular girl who I had a little crush on.  I had 4 or 5 crushes running at the same time and always have.  It was a hot day, so I took a break in across the street in my room to cool off.  I turned on the radio to my favorite station and there was the Loverboy song.

As I lay there listening, I fantasized about that girl; that we were singing this song together and that we were in love.  My fantasy was so intense that it made my heart hurt.  That fantasy never became a reality, and neither did most.  This is normal.  We all have a fantasy life.  It might even be healthy, but when bipolar began presenting myself 7 years ago it became unhealthy.  My fantasies with songs began to seep over into my reality.

I believe it comes from my desire to feel deep, intense emotion. When I’m not feeling it, I feel that my life is boring.  That might be a bipolar thing or just a me thing.  It’s why I like to act on stage.  I love assuming another identity with another life and other feelings.  But the problem is, I begin to take on the identity of the characters in my regular life, and I rarely play nice characters.  The last two characters I played before my breakdown were total douchebags. I really think that was part of what triggered it.

Before my final string of affairs, I had played a  douchey, bad boy, lady’s man, and that’s what I became.  Some ladies like bad boys, and those were the kind of ladies I attracted.  In good health, I’m not a bad boy at all.  I don’t dress that way, act that way, drive that way, or make love that way.  I wear kackis and button down shirts to work.  I always say yes ma’am.  I drive an economy car, and I am a relatively gentle lover.  Nothing exciting about me, and that’s the way my wife prefers it…at least to the alternative.

I don’t think this will ever change about me.  I’m a musician and a music lover.  I listen to songs obsessively because I want to learn how to sing them well, and part of singing well is that emotional core of expression.  And when I feel that, the song becomes real to me.  All good musicians and actors do this, but when they walk away, they are themselves.  Not me.  I live it.

I have to be very careful about the music I listen to.  It can trigger depression and mania if I feel it deeply enough and frequently enough.  I have certain artists which are off limits to me if my health is compromised.

Sometimes I wish I was normal.  I think it would make my life easy.  It might please my wife at first.  But she married me knowing that I was not normal in the sense that I process and live life in such unique and complex ways.  I think she would miss it eventually.  There are lots of normal guys who earn a living, come home, drink 2 beers, watch sports, and make uncomplicated love.  If you’ve read half a dozen of my posts, you know that this is not me.  I do earn living, but it’s three jobs;  software engineering, choir director, private voice teaching, and on-and-off musician in a band playing a couple of gigs a week.  I come home and cook dinner and I drink nothing because I’m an alcoholic.  2 beers would become 6 or 7 glasses of whisky or guzzling out of the bottle every night.    I never watch sports.  I am much more of an opera fan and perpetual fiction reader.  And my wife and I have totally lost our way with sex.

But I wouldn’t trade my manic eccentricity for blah blah blah let me spend an hour talking about my fantasy football team.  There’s a billion guys like that.  Do we really need another?  The feeling of intense feeling most men get from touchdowns, is what I get in music and fantasy and delusion.  The difference is that most men don’t start thinking they are star quarterbacks after the game.



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