The Hurting

            I
was attending a new school after having gotten kicked out of my sophomore year
at Ben Lippen High School. Long story.
            I
was hanging out at the empty house of my girlfriend’s best friend. Even longer
story.
            Even
though she lived in Mars Hill, North Carolina, she didn’t look or act like she
lived around there. I remember her putting on an album that spoke to me in
every single way. Yeah, I’d heard of Tears For Fears by then. Everybody who
listened to the radio had. “Shout” and “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” were
huge hits they played over and over. But she put on their first album and I
remember the moment on the couch in her house listening to it blasted on
massive speakers.
            The
first song was “The Hurting”. Forget the stuff on the radio—this was way better. Way deeper.
            Then
the second song came on and it was haunting. Absolutely haunting.
            “I
find it kinda funny, I find it kinda sad. The dreams in which I’m dying are the
best I ever had.”
            Wow.
            Yeah,
this sort of pop depression summed up my life very nicely. I loved it.
            “Went
to school and I was very nervous. No one knew me. No one knew me.”
            Had
this singer been reading my mind or seeing my life? I went from having lots of
friends to having nobody. Nobody but three girls who didn’t fit in and singled
me out to be their new found friend.
            I
was grounded for like forever and
everybody in the school seemed to hate me. But I made things worse because I
refused to give in to them, wearing The Smiths t-shirts and orange Converse
high-tops and my grandfather’s overcoat. Yeah, they wanted to pound me. Some of
them even did.
            That
moment in the living room, and other small moments, were the small graces I had
during that period. I was an outcast and yet I kept thinking to myself I
shouldn’t be an outcast and there’s no real reason I’m one but here I am
nonetheless.
            Love kept me going. Teen love, sure, but love
nonetheless.
            The
music kept me going too. The Smiths and The Cure and New Order and Depeche
Mode. And gems like The Hurting by Tears
For Fears.
            They
say memories fade. Yeah, I guess they do. But sometimes, I can still smell
those hallways of Madison High. I can still feel the isolation of walking
through them. I can still see myself as this solitary figure in a crowded high
school. I can feel myself wondering when I’d ever get out of this prison and
this hole.
            “I
cannot grow. I cannot move. I cannot feel my age            .”
            So
Tears For Fears said in a song. And I said to myself yeah, I know. I so
know. That’s how I feel. And it’s all my stinkin’ fault.
            Where did I come up with the idea for The Solitary
Tales? It came when a guy who just wanted to have fun decided to sneak into a
girl’s dorm with some buddies. After word got around, a group of us got
expelled. I ended up being sent to Madison Gulag—I mean Madison High. And I
didn’t make things easy for the other students to accept me.
            The
Solitary Tales are about so much more than my experience at a new school in
North Carolina. But tales always have a starting point.
            So
do playlists. 

2 Comments

  1. Yup, remember those bands, and songs, and relating to lyrics so intensly they seemed to carry my soul, and switching between schools through my parents moving around and hating and fearing everyone and everything.
    More power to you for harnessing those sort of times into something productive!

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