can you tell? I was not comforted and covered in your opaque veil; you didn’t lull me into a dreamless sleep. One hour is not enough to recover, and yet I had the best day of my week so far. Did well at work, did well in my private life too.
But now I am tired, and my mind plays tricks on me. Is this real or just a dream? What does it all mean? But I am too tired to overthink, to happy to make my ship sink.
Unusual me… People prefer me to be brooding and dark, but the future holds bright promises that I intend to meet. Women in need.
Manic phase? you ask, and I say no. Just too happy to sleep the night away, too preoccupied to waste my time on dreams.
Hello darkness, claim me now. My eyes hurt, and my mind is tired. My head is pounding, but my heart is racing toward happiness.
Who would have known, and who would have guessed?
*Life is good, and I am glad that I stayed alive to experience these unique feelings.
*my best friend sent a book to me about mindfulness. 💜 There are valuable lessons to learn.
*Super awesome people and specific plans are coming together
*I did not listen to Anathema today, at all. Not even a song. And that realisation felt weird.
*I’ve sent two applications for a new job yesterday and sent another one today. I am passionate about my work, but I have no intention to stay at my current workplace for longer than necessary.
*considerate people who treat me with respect – why does that feel so new?
Tonight, news came that the British band Anathema decided to go on an indefinite hiatus (aka split up) after the challenging year that 2020 was.
I admit it makes me sad. The band and their music mean/meant a lot to me.
I was young, barely 16 years old, when I heard my first Anathema song. It was on the free CD Rom that came with a music magazine; it was called “UP”. The first listen was in passing and without much interest, but then my ears perked up, and I listened again and watched the video. Again. And again. On repeat for days.
Later I learned that it was a promo shot for their upcoming album “Judgement” released in 1999.
Imagine Cathy practically running to her record dealer to buy the entire back catalog, only to find that they only had one album in stock. I had no idea that they had been around for years and that their music had evolved considerably. No one I knew had ever heard of them. I had discovered a gem.
The first album I finally bought was called “Alternative 4”. It had been released in 1998, and the melancholy gripped me right away. But there was more, there were guitar riffs, piano, lyrics…
I was hooked on the music. I didn’t know nor cared about the people making the music. But I cared about the lyrics that touched me right in the feels.
From there on out, Anathema had a song for every feeling; they had lyrics that reflected my emotions. I felt understood; I felt home. And wow, was that a powerful feeling for a young starving mind as mine.
In the year 2000, I visited Paris for the first time, and of course, we had to visit the Virgin Mega Store. It was heaven on earth. I was in paradise. It was where I bought the older Anathema albums. Very different from what I knew by then: still melodic, still meaningful lyrics, but growling, screaming vocals. Not really my cup of tea.
“Sunset of Age” from the album “A Silent Enigma” (1995)
And the band kept releasing fantastic album after fantastic album. Year after year, they released songs and albums that became classics. And even when their record company dropped them, they continued to create and breathe music.
Between the albums “A natural disaster” (2003) and “We’re here because we’re here” (2010), seven almost silent years passed; at least for me, who was not interested in any band drama. In 2008, a compilation with new versions of old songs was released: “Hindsight”
The silent period was a period of change, and the band toured a lot and all over the world. The quality of their playing benefitted of it, definitely.
In 2012, the masterpiece “Weather Systems” was released. I squealed when I noticed that Anathema would tour Luxembourg with this album. For me, they reached their creative peak with this one. Maybe it is also their most commercially accessible album, even if the style is more progressive.
A live album followed. “Universal”. It’s not a perfect album by far, the first minutes are filled with little slips, and the nervousness of the band is palpable. But it is also one of the few live albums that let me feel the energy even though I was not there in Bulgaria.
The sound evolved further. More electronic elements found their way into the music of Anathema. On the album “Distant Satellites” (2014), other new classics can be found. The entire album did not appeal to me, but several songs and their stories caught me off guard too.
“Anathema” is a song for and about the band; at the same time, it is very universal too. In 2014, I saw the band for the second time. It was at that gig that I planned my memorable trip to Brussels to see Her Name is Calla. So many memories are related to Anathema and their music. They are intensely attached to my life.
And when they release their 2017 album “The Optimist,” they kind of lost me. Maybe I had grown? Maybe too much happened. But I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to see them live again. This time, I went all by myself. I wrote a post about that gig. I was in the middle of a depressive episode; maybe that played an essential part in how I perceived that night too.
In 2014/2015, Daniel Cavanagh, founding member, songwriter/multi-instrumentalist of Anathema, launched a crowdfunding campaign for a solo album. It consisted of cover versions that held memories and meaning for the artist, hence the name “Memory and Meaning”. Of course, I supported one of the people who influenced most of my life. I ordered a handwritten lyric sheet for the song “Everything”.
It is framed and has a special place in my home. A funny one too: it hangs on the wall of my guest bathroom. As a surprise, the father of my kids ordered a personalised song that was sung just for me. It was “Forgotten Hopes”. And although it is not the best and it sounds as if he was sitting in a tank, I adore the personal dedication and the way Dan said my name. I sent an email to thank him for the note written in red on the lyric sheet, and wouldn’t you know, he replied. I was over the moon. And I also realized that, even though I had adored his mind for almost 20 years by then, he was just as human, as damaged, and fragile as me.
A long post just to say that I am sad today. I can’t imagine a musical world without Anathema in it. And I seriously hope that every member of the band will find happiness, love, (mental) health, hope, and new ways to be creative. I am sure a decision like this was not made lightly and impulsively. And who knows, maybe they will reunite in a couple of years. Every member of the band has music in their veins, and I am convinced that there is more to come.
Thank you, Anathema, for decades of making me feel understood and at home. I owe a lot to this band. Without them, I would not be a poet; without them, half of my poems would never have been written. Without them, their dedication and passion, I would not be the person I am right now.
This is actually a sentiment I don’t share too often, but I am okay. I am well. Close to happy.
I don’t sleep well or a lot these days, I keep having these vivid dreams that wake me up often. And I keep tossing and turning until the sheets are knotted around my legs – as if it was trying to tie me to the bed.
In the mornings, I wake up early and don’t feel rested at all. But apart from yesterday and this afternoon, I am in an okay mood. I am not growling and biting off heads, I just go about my business.
My creative writing is suffering a great deal, and I am focussing on listening to music and reading. But I am not inspired to wrap anything into a poem or a short story. It is as if my mind decided that it is okay to just exist for a moment without taking control or doing stuff.
And it feels as if I am more balanced right now—just a tiny bit.
I still wish that I was invisible and yet, that I would like to be seen. I don’t like attention, and I value my privacy, and at the same time, I am bleeding onto pages in a book and screens in your hands. Which again, is okay.
I evolved a lot these last weeks. Thank you to everyone who was a tiny part of these changing times.
In 1996, I saw a boy for the first time. I had an immediate crush on him. A crush that lasted for years. My knees shook when I saw him, my mouth couldn’t speak. My schoolbooks were filled with doodles – hearts that framed his name. I noticed every little change in him and was jealous when he had a girlfriend. I wanted to make him jealous by kissing other boys. But between 1996 and 1999, we only spoke two sentences. I had pictures of him, his home address, and phone number; I knew the name of his sister and the name of his best friend. I knew his schedules… I was obsessed. And then, I forgot about Paulo. He became a distant memory, a name, and a fond smile, but nothing more. Today, Facebook sent me down memory lane by suggesting him as a friend.
I took a look at his profile, but it is as secretive as mine. But it was unmistakably him on the profile picture. I would never send a friend request to that man, but the memory was nice.
He is still good looking – better than I thought he would look by now. I almost took a screenshot of his picture to show my sister… But then I thought better of it. It would be very creepy to do so.
I’ll let him live his life, and I will continue to live mine. But I won’t deny it; it was pleasant – this run in with the past.
No words. No music. Only silence and an irritated mood.
This is the version from the live album “A Sort of Homecoming” released on KScope in 2015. The concert was recorded in Liverpool Cathedral in March 2015.
I have been listening to this band for more than twenty years. On and off. And at one time, I also considered them my favourite band. I still say it when asked because I never had an other favourite band. And there will probably never be one that I will call it. I feel as if I outgrew any of that fangirling stuff.
Five years ago, you entered my life and changed everything. Months of euphoria and months of suicidal depression followed you. I don’t give you credit. Not for the good and not for the bad. It was all in me from the start. We haven’t been in touch since last May, but I never forgot or forget you. You are still under my skin, and that is where you belong.
I am not as influenced by your presence or lack thereof as I once was.
In hindsight, I think I made peace with you when you said I should use cocaine to lose weight, and once achieved, you would make love to me on your piano.
The fantasy of this is beautiful to be honest, but there is one hitch: I am not willing to change for anyone. Not anymore. I will not bend backwards to become something or someone I am not. Love me for the person I am. That was all I ever asked. But I was never enough… And now, I think, finally, I moved on. I still care about you and your well-being but not enough to wait for you.
And so, dear stranger, on our fifth anniversary, I will tell you one last time how much you mean to me and how much I love you. But I will also tell you: goodbye. See you in another life.
When I was a child, I was told that I am not worth the breathing air that keeps filling my lungs. When I was a teenager, I was told that I am a waste of skin. When I was an adult, I was told that I was selfish.
Why? Because I am my father’s child, a father who left his sick wife to fight for a better life for himself. Because I defended myself, and because I wanted to build a life for myself without having to care for anyone else.
The hostility I experienced as a child and young adult still weigh heavily on me. I was neglected and abandoned; at the same time, I was emotionally blackmailed into doing things I didn’t want to do for a sliver of affection. Everything I ever did was negatively criticized and belittled.
It turned me into a starving adult—a doubting person. And I don’t trust. I don’t trust that love is free, that people like me just for me. I wasn’t taught that I don’t need to bend backwards to be liked. And I also wasn’t taught that it is okay not to be liked.
The better part of my adult life, I was a people pleaser. I said yes when I wanted to say no. I did things I didn’t want to do, and I never had the guts to stand up for myself.
It took a lot of work, and I am still not there every day of the week, but I am learning to say no and accept that some people will not like it. I am learning to like myself (my needs, and wants, and wishes) first – even if that means that others need to wait. And I am learning that I have to stand up for myself because no one else ever will…
Am I loveable? Yes I am.
Am I beautiful? I have my moments – even being chubby and overweight.
I am unique – everyone is. I am me.
The older I get (and I am only thirty-seven), the easier it is to say ‘fuck them all’ I am living my own life, the way I want to live it. But… It is hard for someone who is riddled with self-doubt and low self-esteem.
Last night, I was looking at the fading self-harm scars on my arm. I am not sure if they are apparent and visible for people or if I see them because I know they are there. Feeling them with the fingertips of my right hand, I remembered reasons, moods, and triggers. And I wanted to hug the young woman who never learned how to deal with emotional pain. I want to tell her to be free and disregard others. I want to tell her to live her life, without fear of not being loved. Everything will be okay.
But… No matter how much I change and how much I open up I will always stay a guarded and abused child. I was spoiled for anyone trying to love me…