Dear Agony


Some people don’t get my attachment to music.  I was raised to be a vocalist.  My grandmother loved musicals, and I love her so much I think I just willed myself to become what she loved.  Growing up I was always the star.  I honestly thought I WAS Shirley Temple when I was 3.  Music has always been an escape for me.  The only instrument I ever learned to play was the piano and I only ever learned to play by ear.  I got away with that for years until one of my teachers picked up on the fact if she didn’t play it for me first, I couldn’t learn it.  All those years pretending I could read music ha.  I quickly switched to voice.

I’ve always sung.  Even before I could talk, I would sing to myself.  In chaos, music can be very soothing.  Singing was always very private to me when I was young.  I didn’t want anyone to hear me, even if they thought I was good.  Since I used music as an escape, it felt like an intrusion to have an audience.  I eventually grew out of that, but still prefer recording in a studio to performing on stage.

Still, I become deeply connected to music.  The first musical I ever memorized was one of my grandmother’s favorites: My Fair Lady.  The next was Funny Girl.  We would listen to the cassette tracks as we drove to and from my music lessons that she paid a pretty penny for I’m sure.  Musicals are my connection to her.

I’ve mentioned before I grew up in a very chaotic household.  When I was a teenager, I discovered Grunge rock.  It fit my angst perfectly and I had never quite heard guitar riffs like Nirvana, or the gravelly voice of someone like Eddie Vedder.  However, by my second listen of the Counting Crows “August and Everything After” I was in love.  I played that album over and over and felt every word of it.  All the symbolism in Adam Duritz lyrics moved me.  When I hear it, I’m 15 again.   When I hear their follow-up album, I’m 18 again.

The song I posted is a cover by Kevin Staudt of a Breaking Benjamin song written by Ben Burnley, the founder of the band in September 2009.  As many may know or have read that was the year I got divorced.  That was the year I lost everything.  That was the beginning.  I’ve listened to the original version many many times and cried deep salty tears over it.  I’m not sure what Ben felt when he wrote it, but I know how the lyrics always connected to me.

“Dear Agony, just let go of me/ suffer slowly/ is this the way it’s gotta be?/ don’t bury me/faceless enemy/ I’m so sorry/ Is this the way it’s gotta be?/ Dear Agony.”

September 2009 had been the month that my ex-husband refused to allow me to see our son anymore.  It’s weird how music becomes attached to a memory.

This cover is by Kevin Staudt and it’s absolutely breathtaking and hauntingly beautiful the way he covered it.

“Somewhere far beyond this world/I feel nothing anymore.”

People have often asked me or marveled at how I’ve been able to handle what happened with my son. He was snatched away and I’ve listened to him grow up over the phone.  It’s a pain I’ve learned to compartmentalize.  I’ve learned to compartmentalize a lot of trauma.  For the most part, I’m high functioning–but every space has its limit on how much you can fill it before it spills over.

You think about all the pain you’ve experienced in life.  All the wrongs.  All the wounds.  All the maliciousness.  All the hurt.  You can stuff it away in a closet, but you open the closet and it’s still there.  Hiding it away isn’t dealing with it.

“Don’t bury me/faceless enemy…I will end where I began

I recently watched a video of a woman who was a Mengele Twin.  Mengele was a Nazi who performed human experiments on Jews, and specifically twins (if anyone reading doesn’t know).  Her story of what happened to her was heartbreaking.  I think I wept through it at least 3 times. I cried not just for what happened to her but by what she did. She FORGAVE Mengele.  She forgave the one who hurt her the most in the world and took everything from her.  In that forgiveness, she found emotional freedom and peace in doing so.

I’ve decided I’m going to work on that.  It’s a long list of people to forgive, but I think the hardest one for me will be forgiving myself.

I graduate with my Masters degree in 3 weeks.  My initial plan had been to celebrate by going to the Breaking Benjamin concert in Atlanta that weekend since their music has been so influential to me this past decade.  I wanted to meet them again.  But…my “best friend” was supposed to go as well, and…well if you’ve read the previous posts you’ll understand why we aren’t going anymore.

Still, I am going to walk for my commencement.  Even if no one is there to see me do it, I’m going to keep going just as I always have.  I’m putting on my cap “Nevertheless, she persisted.”

And as with everything I persist in doing and put my mind to, I’m going to work on forgiving and letting go and moving forward.

“And I will find the enemy within
Cause I can feel it crawl beneath my skin”

Dear Agony, just let go of me- this is not the way it gotta be.


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