Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Open Letter to Brandon Flowers of The Killers

 So I don’t know Brandon and have zero expectation that he’ll read this but it is on my heart so here goes:

Dear Brandon, hope it’s cool I address you so informally.  

So it hurts my heart to hear you have scrapped the new album.  "boy" and "Your Side of Town" are the start of a fun record but I get not feeling it.  As one of your fans who despised Pressure Machine, it really hurts my heart you want to do more music like that.  See it was done well but you did it at the height of lockdown and well it is depressing as fuck.  I can almost love some of the tracks from the abridged version.  "Runaway Horses" live just spoke to me in a way that it didn’t just listening to it on the album but actually that isn’t the point of this letter.

To the point: sir, you mention not wanting to be the “Somebody Told Me” guy.  I totally get that.  The song hit 20 years ago.  You aren’t that guy anymore but see here is the thing, we aren’t the same kids who fell in love with that song as it hit either.  Believe it or not, we have grown and aged with you.  We are in our 40s too!  We are parents.  We are married.  We have lived through some shit same as you.  

You are smart.  This is something you already know so back to finding the point here.  We have matured and we understand you and your music has to too.  While I am probably never going to listen to all of Pressure Machine again, I understand where it came from.  But you aren’t just the Hot Fuss guy.  The Killers are more than a few hits, for your fans The Killers are old memories and new memories.

Sometimes I do escape into Hot Fuss.  I remember listening to it when it first hit and then everything since.  To this day, Sam’s Town is my go to for study time because it was all I listened to as I worked on my Masters of Ed.  My doctorate application is Battle Born.  I still remember having a complete crying fit in the local coffeeshop listening to "Runaways."  My actual studies are your solo album, Flamingo.  I will never be able to think of the 2020 election week without hearing "Imploding the Mirage" in my mind.  Every time the news mentioned the implosion of the red wave, I could hear your voice holding Mirage.  Your voice has colored my life for the last 20 years.

So what is my ask?  Release new songs that show us you as the man you are today.  Even if that place is dark and uncomfortable because at times we are dark and uncomfortable too.  Show us how to survive the rough parts of our marriages.  Talk to us about raising boys.  Sing to us about your crumbling illusions of life and the joys of creating yourself into something new.

Why?  Because we are living those phases too.  Way back on Battle Born, you had a song “The Way it Was” and you talk about wanting to go back.  The new life you have isn’t what you wanted and you want to go back to the way it was.  I have always had a love/hate relationship with that song.  Yes, the beginning of a romance is beautiful but so is the middle and growing with someone.  That is what you are asking from us, to let go of the way it was and meet you here and now.  So let us meet you here and now.

Please tour smaller venues where we can see the whites of your eyes. Play in places where Ronny’s sweat will get all over us.  Be close to us and see that yes, we have all changed and honestly it is for the better.

Brandon, darling, you are in middle life.  It’s cool.  I am having hot flashes as I write.  We have both aged.  Now is the time to work on ourselves, to work at being parents and good life partners.  Now is the time to leave the literal arena for the metaphorical arena of middle age.  Listen to Brene Brown.  She has some fabulous thoughts on middle age.  Please don’t kill The Killers.  Let The Killers evolve and age.  Your true victims will be there to listen.

Signed a middle age fan girl from Texas

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Music is life so when . . .

Music is life so when a friendship ends, the soundtrack of that friendship leaves me with songs I can't listen to for a while.  The fresh ending of what I thought was a friendship but since I can be so easily removed tells me that I was probably closer to a therapist than a friend means I have a whole new list of songs that hurt to listen to.  While the wound on my soul is no longer bleeding, it is not yet a scar so listening to certain songs is akin to picking the scab off a cut.

If you actually know me then you have heard me sing.  Choirs, band, concerts and any variation there in will illicit singing from me.  If you have heard me sing a made-up on the spot song then you are part of my inner circle or witnessed one of the few times I was comfortable enough to just sing whatever.  Catch me in at the right time and you can hear me singing about inventory, shelf shifting, making bread, walking down the hallway, or whatever the hell I'm doing to whatever tune comes to mind.  The point is music is life.

So with music basically being my love language, people get a song assigned to them in my mind.  I lierally created a presentation for one of my doctoral classes where I took pictures of my cohort members with songs that remind me of them; I got a good grade.  I think there are 2 songs that really capture what I'm trying to say: Trisha Yearwood's The Song Remembers When and Neon Tree's Songs I Can't Listen To.  Moments and people cemented with sing.  (Both great songs so go give them a listen.) The concert we went to.  The concerts we played.  The song that we sung while driving down the road.  The song that was playing when we were skating, running, walking, laughing. Songs now prune-y in sorrow and tears, sometimes metaphorical and sometimes literal.  

It isn't your fault I can't listen to them.  Honestly by in large, it isn't your fault my heart is broken.  I know I'll heal and I'll be able to listen to them again and smile at the memories. I'm not there yet.

One day, like the other day when That's Not My Name came on, I'll smile and sing at the top of my lungs and whoever is with me will hear me say "Hey, that songs always reminds me of so and so."  That's Not My Name no longer belongs to Soul Sister.  I have claimed it back and now it belongs to me and my memories of learning to play it and performing it.  The song helps me smile when I think back on those days but it did take years.  

I know the songs will be mine again.  The muzak version will no longer stop me and feel like a gut punch.  I know healing is around the corner but I'm not there yet.

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

The Invitations that never came

 So we are about 20 days after by birthday and I'm still all pruney in the hurt.  So I took some deep breaths and tried to work my mind through the hurt.  I need to find the base otherwise I'll stay stuck in the moment.  

A couple of days ago, a former student and now Facebook friend posted a graphic about getting okay with the invitation that never come and understanding that you were never part of their plans.  It resonated with me immediately.  This whole birthday thing really reminds me that these friends of mine aren't actually my friends but somewhat close acquaintances that I forgot were acquaintances.  I have to remember that not everyone who calls you a friend actually means it.

So this is not a new lesson.  Yesterday, I was almost on the other side of the hurt and then I saw a fucking video.  Oh, so you are back in town.  Then a post, oh so you are making big plans.  To her credit, the other one is keeping her plans secret as they seem to involve a secret so at least I don't have to see it yet.  Anyways, my feels got all hurt again.  So that leads to this morning; why am I still so in this hurt?  Why can't I let go of the rope that is clearly cutting my hands?

The NPR station started going in and out, which I hate, so I turned on my Bluetooth and basically played playlist roulette.  I couldn't remember what I had been listening to the last time I was listening to Spotify so it could be anything.  This is of course when the universe steps in: Cycles by Jonathan McReynolds featuring DOE.  If you don't know the song, it is a Christian song reminding us we have to break the bad cycles in our life.  We continue to repeat them unless we acknowledge them.  

Okay universe, let's turn inward and really dig.  What is bothering me?  Seriously, it's not like this is the first time "friends" have been asshats to me.  What is my issue?  My 44th birthday, really?!  A little deep breathing and boom: being in elementary school and not being invited to birthday parties but hearing all about how much fun they had the previous weekend.  Concerts my college "friends" would go to and tell me about it afterward.  The trips my work "friends" would go on during the summer and I would get to hear about later.  The invitations that never came.  

It is less that I'm not invited but that I'm forgotten or really my feelings disregarded. I understand why I didn't get invited to the parties, my parents treated us like my brothers and I were triples so you weren't just inviting me, you were inviting the whole family.  I get it, I didn't know the band or have the money for the concert and the car was full.  We aren't trip-taking friends just folks that work together.  So I do understand I don't count in those situations; why consider my feelings?  I'm not a consideration at all.  That doesn't mean it didn't hurt my feelings or that it wasn't until that moment that I hadn't realized I didn't have friends.  

So the hurt isn't 44-year-old Martha but 8-year-old Martha and 20-year-old Martha and 30-year-old Martha.  I keep letting myself get hurt and the worst part is I court it!  One of these "friends" once told me that he was going to join me at a drag show but then decided I wasn't the drive or effort so he didn't bother.  I still speak to this person.  Y'all why am I allowing myself to be hurt by someone who so obviously do not care about me?  He has his head so far up his own ass that this isn't a special statement about forgetting me, it is just who he is.  The one "friend" I have known the longest has always dropped me faster than fast whenever she gets a "better" offer.  The newest of these "friends" is just a workout partner.  I have to remember that she will never be more than that so why am I placing any blame at her feet?  The sharing ends at the end of the run, period.  When I had that straight in my mind, everything was cool.

So I am feeling better as I write this.  Finding the root of the hurt and finally putting everyone in their place in my life is what I needed to do back on May 28th.  I wasted a lot of energy on being hurt.  How do I fix this nasty pattern?  That is a much longer project and currently, I have no plan.  The easy flippant answer is to say I'll never speak to those people again and find actual friends but I know that this is a strong life pattern rooted deep inside of me.  I'll just do it all over again and again.  Pattern breaking is so much hard work but I know I'm worth my effort so step one: recognize the pattern.  Step two, I'm not sure yet.