I wrote most of this thought a few years ago. As much as I’m a ‘living in my head’ kind of person, once I’m over something I do my best to close the book. How do you continue on with your story if you’re stuck re-reading old chapters? I didn’t see it as revisiting the past as much as writing down a short story and giving it a solid ending. People often dwell on closure, but I think closure comes from within, especially when you get to write your own story.
Memories are tricky and nostalgia is often times a liar. Nostalgia has a tendency to remember the best parts and forget the not-so-great moments. Like when you run into an old friend and maybe wonder “why’d we ever stop talking”, followed by a quick conversation that quickly wakes up an old conclusion you had of that person which caused you to keep your distance in the first place. Maybe an old crush that never realized into a relationship, but after a short while you’ll see the red flags that kept you away the first time around.
My memories are often affixed to scents, the strongest memory trigger, and music. I’ve had songs hijacked by exes, some that I’ve managed to take back by replaying until new moments overwrite the old ones like a memory cassette tape. I’m not so lucky with smells, curse you ‘Curve’ cologne.
In my teenage years I had gatekeeper tendencies around my favorite music. I’d make unlabeled mix cds and relished in finding B-Sides by my most beloved artists. There are many songs near and dear to me that I didn’t easily share with anyone unless we were at that point in our friendship. Anyone who claimed “I listen to everything” never made it past my gate. Listening to all the radio stations doesn’t mean you listen to everything. Just be specific dude, there’s nothing wrong with liking what you like. My range isn’t very wide: on the daily I toggle between alternative rock/pop, 80’s and 90s, and some folk rock.
I found Radiohead by complete accident, when I was 13 years old my mom brought home a sleeve of cds from the airport lost and found and I popped them into my iMac one by one. ‘The Bends’ is pretty much unmarked when you look at only the cd, it blew my mind and I had no idea who I was listening to for months. It wasn’t until one fateful day I happened to watch MTV2 and they’d played the Fake Plastic Trees video and I put it all together. I also had ‘Ok Computer’ in that cd case, it was treasure for sure. I became a superfan pretty fast, I loved things with so much intensity at that age.
In the early 2000’s days of Limewire, you could end up accidentally downloading a lot of random junk. Every once in a while, however, the music gods would shine down on us. In my hunt for obtaining all the special Radiohead releases (they had a lot of Japanese EPs that included rare b-sides) I struck gold, I found their entire b-side collection. One of my favorite songs of all time was Cuttooth, it’s a simple song but I loved the line “a little bit of knowledge will destroy you”.
I shared that song with my boyfriend when I was 15, we’d been going out for a week or so but he’d already proven to have incredible music taste and so he’d made it across the gate. He kissed me for the first time to that song, it was very sweet in a tender teenage way. He was the first boyfriend I’d brought home to meet my parents, we’d eventually lose our virginities to each other, and he was my first love.
Some 3 years later, once we were adults on paper and high school was a memory in our rear view mirror, we sat in a car parked in a burger place parking lot in the middle of the day. He’d recently been kicked out of his parents house. I was waking him up every day to drive him to work at 5am because he’d also lost his car to his parents in the process. He was awful with money. He didn’t show any direction of where he wanted to go with life. He did everything so. fucking. slow. He dressed sloppy and had to be reminded to get a haircut. Somewhere along the way I’d learned everything about him but I felt like I was going forward with my life while pulling him behind me. I didn’t want any of it anymore and I told him so.
He played ‘Cuttooth’ for me in the car that day. I knew what he was doing. It felt like a manipulation tactic although he probably meant well, maybe trying to remind me of the beginning of our relationship. The beginning felt so far away, it was nothing but a memory. We were no longer kids in school without real life responsibilities. We were no longer those kids, period. I knew what I wanted in my life, an equal partner with goals and ambition. I knew that he wasn’t it. I knew too much.
A little bit of knowledge will destroy you. It was over.