It’s not really snowing that much here today, but it is snowing, and mostly I just love that Louis Wain illustration. It just cracks me up. So there we go!
Yes, it’s another one of those mornings. Taking me forever to plant myself in front of the computer and get started.
Before I forget, there was another one of those really funny, extremely short promotional clips on Instagram today to promote Nick Cave’s upcoming art exhibition in Copenhagen. God, I wish I could go! I was on the Black Diamond site, reading about it last evening and it sounded just so cool. (Actually, I think the link I have there to the Nick Cave website has the same information that’s on the Black Diamond site. But for some reason, reading it on my phone, late in the evening, on another site, made it seem like I hadn’t read it before.)
Anyway. It sounds so cool. And even with my unfortunate marital-memories of Copenhagen (meaning my decision to get a divorce), I do love Copenhagen.
Actually, Wayne & I had a nice time in Copenhagen, all things considered. I had gotten a really nice book advance from a publisher in London and so I was able to surprise Wayne with that entire trip at the last minute — it was my gift to him for Valentine’s Day that year. We always traveled really well together because we were always good friends. We didn’t work well together as married people, but we were always good friends.
And at that specific juncture in my life, I felt like I had totally lost my mojo, you know? It’s a distinct feeling — when the magic is just gone. And I don’t mean from the marriage, I mean the magic was gone from myself. I couldn’t function as a married person. I couldn’t figure out who the fuck I was. My career had taken over everything.
Of course, now I have swung my pendulum in the other direction and my career is all that there is. I’ve been extremely careful to weed out as many actual people from my life as I possibly could. I’m only being partially sarcastic, really. I mean, I did it for a reason. I had just so much toxic stuff going on in my life because of things I was refusing to look at involving my adoptive family. And when my adoptive mother finally disowned me, I had no choice but to finally look at it.
And then, of course, you see the patterns — the other toxic relationships you’ve maybe created because it seems to be the only thing you know how to do. Narcissistic mothers are a real trip — the damage they do to your ability to know how to be loved.
I was lucky in that I conveniently had this other mother — my birth mom; who doesn’t have a narcissistic bone in her body, and just loves me no matter what. Like, all I have to do is wake up in the morning and she loves me. However, unfortunately, that doesn’t mean I actually know how to be loved yet. I’m working on it, though. It’s taking me a while.
I don’t actually define myself through my work, my writing. But I do love doing it and it’s the only thing I will leave behind, since I have no kids or anything.
This morning, I was lying in bed in the dark, thinking about marriage — what it means, technically. How it went from a strictly legal arrangement — to join property, and to create heirs to the property, to whatever wealth might have been involved. And then it morphed slightly when the church got involved. And the church only got involved because the priest in any given town was usually the most educated person around, often the only person who could even read, or help anyone navigate the legal documents. The legal arrangements of marriage were overseen by the priest in the church’s front portico — a structural part of churches that was meant specifically for doing business in.
(And churches aside, it used to be that part of the wedding ceremony, after the legal documents were signed, was that the wedding guests accompanied the bride and groom to the conjugal bed, to witness if the bride was actually a virgin, and to witness the loss of virginity thing that sealed the whole deal.) (I’m really glad we don’t do that anymore. I didn’t even know half the people at my wedding to Wayne.) (Not that I was anything close to a virgin at either of my weddings. But I’m just saying.)
It wasn’t until the Romantic era came in, in the late 1700s, that people got that notion that they wanted to be married in the eyes of God, and to even include love in a marriage. At that point, marriages took on a separate non-legal ceremony, deeper inside the actual church. And to have a church wedding became a really big deal. And to marry for love became a very popular idea.
So there you have it. Marriage. But I was thinking of it specifically because the part of Ken Burns’ Jazz documentary that I watched last night was just so sad — about Charlie Parker’s little 2-year-old daughter, dying suddenly from pneumonia in NYC while he was away doing some gigs in LA. His wife was alone when their little girl died. He got back to NY as quickly as he could but the whole thing just devastated him. And he, himself, died soon after that. He couldn’t cope with his grief. His body just gave out. The coroner thought he was examining the corpse of a 50 year-old, but Charlie Parker was only 34 when he died. A lifetime of heroin addiction and serious alcohol abuse.
This morning, I was thinking about his poor wife — they had a little boy, too, that she had to raise alone. But to survive the death of her little girl, and then the death of her husband? How did she do that? (They interviewed her in the documentary.) And he didn’t have any money, ever. Because of the heroin addiction — it took everything. (Like that old John Prine song, “Sam Stone” — There’s a hole in daddy’s arm/ where all the money goes…)
Anyway. I was thinking about marriage this morning and trying to understand why I have always just been so opposed to it, you know? Because I’m not opposed to loving someone until the cows come home or to fidelity or to romance or to the idea that I could, seriously, love a man for a lifetime. It’s just the marriage idea itself that confounds me. (And also, even though a lot of men asked me to marry them in my lifetime, the two proposals I accepted were the weirdest ones, ever. In entirely different ways. I guess that because I was so taken aback, I decided to say yes because it seemed really interesting — like, the marriage was going to be interesting. Who the fuck knows what I was thinking because I was wrong both times. That much I do know. They were “interesting” in just really bad ways.)
I know that part of my inability to know how to be loved has been really damaging to me, and I’ve been working on trying to fix that for a couple of years now. But in the whole act of trying to process it, I’ve shifted almost my entire focus into my work. And this morning, I was just wondering there in the dark: is this really all I’m going to do with my life? Just work, and never trust anybody to love me at all?
I like to think “no” but I just don’t really understand anything, when you get right down to it. Nothing at all.
But on that note — guess what I’m gonna do??? I’m gonna get to work over here!!
I hope you have a really great Thursday, wherever you are in the world! Thanks for visiting, gang. I leave you with my breakfast-listening music from this morning — a record that was definitely part of my wee bonny girlhood! (I don’t think my parents ever took me to see Dave Brubeck, but I do remember that a couple of times, when I was a really little girl, they took me and my brother with them to see Stan Getz and Chet Baker.) Anyway, I leave you with “Take Five” from their seminal album from 1959, Time Out. Enjoy. I love you guys. See ya!