Bearoid posted this about his video on Youtube:
“At Your Funeral” is a painful but moving song about the fear of losing a friend, it’s a soulful and ceremonious cut. I am still too young to get used to death around people I love that are close to my age. I recently saw how a friend got a series of experiences that could have killed him but lately we were distant to each other so I didn’t know how to say I was worried, and I was basically screaming at my studio trying to get out the steam”
And that inspired me to respond. I say life is a collection of incomplete perspectives and put together they paint a picture with only one hole punched in it. Here’s a perspective on the other side of the struggle he talks about. Realness like this should always be put in conversation. And this is a reality between so many people in my life and me. Song tie-in comes in surprising ways at end.
NOW THAT YOUR RIDE
LEAVING NOTHING INSIDE
YOU LIVE ONLY BY NIGHT,
ALL YOU NEED IS PILLS AND LINES
I never know your name. I promise I’m not Mariah Carey ‘I don’t know her’-ing you. Known you 9 seconds. Now 9 days. Now 90 weeks. Nein on the name, though. When your name came in my brain, it was noon. And my knees were not covered so the air conditioning blasted against them, which would be strange since it was a Wednesday when you announced it and I’m never without my dress slacks 9am Monday to 9pm Friday. Save for a 97 second shower each day. Even sleeping. But not on the 9th of January. No, not when I rolled them up to tell Jessa about the gnarly, dead but still 9mm tumor I’ve got nestled in my leg hair below my shin. 99% sure her name is Jessa because she’d stumbled out the sentences saying as much, drunkenly at a work meeting six weeks ago. On the 9th, we’d been riding in the company van 19 mins, knocked 8.5km off our route back to the office. And I know this because it didn’t matter if I’d been in the 10th seat from the front of the van like I was or 10cm away from her tympanic membrane talking up a 10 decibel storm, I knew she’d not heard a damn thing I said. Some seconds in, I saw the glaze-over; so, I had no reason to abuse myself by watching her pupils eye-fuck 8ft of empty space to the right and 37 degrees down from my right ear.
THESE ARE THE WORDS
THAT I DON’T WANT TO SAY
Crunched numbers outside the window instead. Let my tongue rattle off all the deets of the tumor with the accuracy of an oncologist. Knew the next thing I’d say would be to admonish no one but me that ‘You should’ve. No, you do know, no one cares about your cancer.’ I never learn because I’ve found pathology neato since I was nine. But I know. Oh, I know. I really know. ‘What’s that [obvious tumor] on your [arm/leg/neck]?’ is nicety. Like ‘how are you?’ no one gives a fuck. Not really. Next answer out my mouth’d better have been ‘Gee, I don’t know. What is tha8t?’ or ‘Probably tripped and had a scab I didn’t know about. I’m so clumsy. Thanks for telling me!’ otherwise you could see the ‘Shit! Shit! Shit! Why’d I ask that?’ scroll across their skin like a shivery scream. Even when they’re the one who brought it up. A good amount of sometimes I’d turn my head away for a split second to shield them from the emotion I was swimming in just saying my story, and I’d turn back to see them mouthing ‘save me’ to someone else in the room. Cool.
Sometimes I didn’t mind, a sixteenth of someone was ‘listening’ at least. I learned rapidly, with difficulty that life isn’t a Hollywood cancer-buddy flick. No one’s going to sit with you during treatment or help you sip chicken soup six seconds before it comes streaming back out your throat. You see those things in movies because that’s how people project how they believe they’d act. I’ve been in seven chemo group rooms around the globe. I can count on half a hand the amount of times I saw someone’s friend sit on the ally-chairs every room had. But that’s only after I ate two of those fingers out of frustration. So, once. And I swear that’s only because a woman’d held her car keys hostage so her friend couldn’t go get Jamba Juice. Her 27 year old friend was so bored every one of those 70 minutes. Because using all your strength to not scream obscenities and seek out promises from gods you don’t believe in as poison streams through your veins is exactly what I’d say is primo, grade A boredom. The woman and I’d play the world’s most non-warm and fuzzy game of catch with her keys every time her friend left the room because Instagram was ‘omg, so damn slow in this hospital room, you guys’.
LONG AGO, BUT I STILL REMEMBER
WHEN WE COULD TALK
Until I learned people tap dance around the truth so hard you have to surgically install a megaphone to your larynx to have some of your syllables sorta heard, life was hard. No point in getting sad emoji about it. Lykke Li had it all wrong and so did I. Sadness isn’t a blessing, it’s a privilege. In my hiearchy of needs it went sex, survival, yada yada yada with sadness being around 70th on the list. Sad emojis are shallow speak anyways, but I’d stopped feeling even a seventh of a sad emoji for so long my brain subconsciously knew to disassociate from the damage of no one giving a damn by doing calculations until I could look directly ahead of me again and not want to die. Was so normalized it did it pre-emptively. And it’d become such an accepted, generic, dry cereal of a way to chew on the scenery of my world/reality to me, that I wouldn’t even be telling you this except you decided to get bastardly about my brain drawing a blank on your name.
UNTIL THE END OF THE NIGHT
ABOUT OUR DREAMS OF A LIFE
6mm from my nose. That’s how close you were. Your shouts were so strong they felt like uppercuts. Six seconds in, I was expecting your arm to come to swinging next. You shouted and I stood silently my ground as you stripped me of my humanity by shooting 19 streams of air in 92 seconds out your mouth that let the entire 7th floor know how shitty a person I was for not getting yours–really, anyone’s–name in 6 months working there. As I watched a grown man scream his name in my face, I empathized. No one’d been listening to him for so long if these 92 seconds were how shit got real for him. We’re all a little collection of broken bones. Here’s how his fought back. He stopped, so I shook his hand. Gave him a hug and said ‘I hear you, Bryan.”
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO YOUR HEART DELUSION
THERE WAS A LIGHT, IT WILL NEVER COME BACK
After, I sat in the corner on the floor of the janitor’s closet on the 17th floor and barricaded my heart with the sound of Bearoid’s song. Sat with my forehead pressed against the wall and impressed upon my brain to keep breathing. On the 7th listen the lyrics lit a light in my head in that dark closet. Bryan was right, I should’ve known his name. I have an eidetic memory. I know all the small things about the 9th because I my memory leaks little. Knew then I stopped picking up names as a way to cope. Stabbed at their empty stares and see-no-evil smiles to all the sounds I made by cutting them out of my story. Struggle couldn’t be real if there were no proper nouns to act it out. How isolating that is. So I sat there in that darkness and started listing on the wall in chalk all the things people knew about me and my last year. Was maybe 3%. No one would have anything to say at my funeral unless I stopped this solo-sadness. Bryan is broken. I am broken. Maybe we’re all in need of a little rehab. I want to give people in my life narrative meaning again. Maybe not trust them yet–because, heyo–bridges too far and such. So I made a blood pact with me. Or at least wrote in red chalk on some concrete. But, I didn’t budge from the safety of Bearoid’s beats and barricade until at least the end of the next listen. Was going to sing until the pain was over.
BUT FOR NOW, I’LL SING UNTIL PAIN IS OVER