11 reasons why Halsey’s song “929” makes me cry each and every time.
- “Well who am I? I’m almost 25”
During the early stages of the creation of my book, the cover design originally had the words “who am I?” printed on the hospital bracelet tied to my wrist.
It is the title of one of my poems written in 1996 during one of my many repetitive hospital stays.
The age of 25 is also the transitional year when I moved from what I like to refer to as ‘major chaos to minor chaos’ and it is the year that I took a chance at a new direction in life.
This is basically where my memoir (Scar City) ends and also where post trauma begins.
- “A cheap apartment”
I definitely lived in a lot of cheap apartments in my twenties and they were never in good parts of town.
This really added to the loneliness. I wasn’t scared. I was depressed.
At least I had somewhere to rest my head….when I could get some rest that is.
I sometimes stayed awake for months at a time and this was not unusual for me.
I am positive that these dives, (and my life) wouldn’t have been as bad if I wasn’t so sleep deprived.
It also reminds me of a small basement apartment I had when I was 21.
I was so lonely and isolated that one day when I met 3 teenagers in the park who were runaways, I invited them to come stay with me. We divided the bedroom with sheets hung from the ceiling for privacy. I somehow convinced all three of them to give me their parents’ phone numbers so I could let them know they were safe. Eventually, after about a month, each one of them went back to their family home.
It was one of the best times that I can remember ever having during those difficult years. I couldn’t help myself, but at least I was still capable of helping someone else.
- “Because nobody loves you, they just try to fuck you”
To me, this describes sexual assaults, physical violence, constant emotional battery, being taken advantage of and of course, the perpetual feeling of complete worthlessness
A: because of the trauma
B: because of mental illness. (Especially undiagnosed)
C: because of the knowledge, realization and acceptance of the never ending repetitive cycles of A, B….and inevitably C.
- “And who do you call when it’s late at night”
I had no one I could trust, let alone anyone to call. It was definitely a solo struggle.
Even today, I have a very difficult time reaching out to loved ones if I am in a bad way. You get used to it. Plus I think it’s a challenge for many of us to ask for help. If these people wanted you in their lives, wouldn’t they call you too sometimes?
That’s what it felt like for me anyway.
- “And, I quit smoking, well recently I tried”
Famous line of mine from the 90’s, and many others I’m sure. Being a smoker was not unusal at the time. Even the psych ward had an indoor smoking room and it was always packed. I suppose one of the reasons for this perk was because we were locked in and could not go outside without permission or assistance anyway.
I did quit when I was nineteen. For 3 months I carried the same pack of cigarettes in the breast pocket of my jean jacket just to give myself the satisfaction of knowing that if I really wanted to, I could smoke. It worked but not for very long.
I don’t smoke cigarettes anymore but I do puff on an e-cigarette constantly. Nicotine is the one vice I just can’t give up.
- “I never go outside”
Anxiety, anxiety and more anxiety
- “But I forget half the people who I’ve gotten in bed”
For me, this describes promiscuity resulting from low self-esteem and the constant search for comfort.
- “And hoped that my father would finally call me”
I break down every single time I get to this line. It never fails.
Every girl wants to make her father proud. And no father likes to see his daughter in pain.
There’s not much room left for a healthy relationship when you mix these two together.
That’s how my early twenties were. I generally only called my father to bail me out when I was in a really bad situation and we never discussed the reasons why. Even with obvious bruises all over my face and body, nobody asked any questions. It just wasn’t polite.
When love is too painful, I think we usually choose to ignore it. It’s still painful but a tiny bit less, especially when the list of woes is already long to begin with.
When I was in the middle of writing my book, a friend suggested I listen to this song attentively. I had not heard from my father for months and it was a very delicate subject for me at the time. I felt I had let him down and had no doubt embarrassed him by writing about my experiences and airing out my dirty laundry for the world to see.
I can still feel the cluster of emotions when I think about it and it still stings like an open wound, especially when I hear Halsey’s powerful words.
- “And I’m picking my hair out in clumps in the shower”
I did this. I really did. After 3 long months on the hospital psych ward, I was required to spend 4 months in a semi supervised group home to prove that I was capable of sticking to the path to wellness.
I was taking a drug called epival as a mood stabilizer. I lost a lot of hair. It was a known side effect. One day I collected a whole styrofoam cup of hair while I was in the shower and brought it with me to my next psych appointment. I was taken off this medication and it was replaced with neurontin, which wasn’t the greatest but it was better than my lithium experience prior to these last two, where I used to wet the bed every night due to an insatiable thirst caused by the drug that led me to drink insane amounts of water throughout the night.
I have an actual visual every time I hear this line. It’s painfully vivid. It was a very low time for me especially because I didn’t want to be on any medication at all.
I didn’t want to be crazy either, but for some of us, stability does not come for free and accepting that fact is not an easy task. It still isn’t.
- “But then I realize that I’m no higher power”
When the mania subsides…oh how devastatingly cruel it is to get hit by a low so intense that you feel punched in the face, especially immediately after a good high. There’s no escaping it. You know you are done for. There’s nothing left to give you hope anymore. Irony is indeed a bitch sometimes. A bitch slap, that is.
- “I wasn’t in love then and I’m still not now
And I’m so happy I figured that out”
Every time I fell in love, I got mistreated in one way or another, with the exception of my current relationship which began in 1997 and is still going strong today.
I wasn’t in love all those previous times. I was addicted to the idea of love.
So I fed my addiction and I fed it often. It was always dysfunctional. If you don’t love yourself, it’s almost impossible to end up with someone who will actually love you back.
I wish I had known that then, but yes, I’m so happy I figured that out.
Exposé of the poem, ‘Cherry Bomb’ from the book “Scar City”
It was the summer I turned sixteen. It was the beginning and it was the end.
Still warm but soon turning cold again, I lost my virginity yet gained a life long lesson instead of the romance I had imagined in my head since I was old enough to fall in love, but still young enough to pretend.
We worked together and he was the most beautiful human being I had ever seen. He was tall and he was the boy I chose to “give it up to” because I still foolishly believed that lust equaled love, just like I’d seen in the movies and many, many times in my dreams.
There was much flirting involved for months. Then a plan was made for our “big event” and it was to take place the night of the end of summer party in his part of town. I felt desired and I knew without a doubt, that he was “the one”. That night, we drank and we danced in groups to the same song over and over in the basement of someone’s house. The song…“We’re here for a good time (Not a long time)” by Trooper. I still to this day, can’t listen to this song without feeling slightly nauseated and bamboozled with a poisonous dose of disappointment.
The plan was to go to his bedroom at his parents’ place close by. He did not pay too much attention to me that night, but near the end, he did take me with him to his room and even though I was apprehensive and scared, I went regardless of my fears. I told myself that I must be his queen, his number one. Silly, I know, but it was what it was. I wasn’t sure exactly what was going to happen but I was thrilled that he had picked me and surely we would end up as boyfriend and girlfriend, but unfortunately we did not.
We laid in bed and he asked me to remove my clothes. It was his first time too, but at least he knew how to start. He’s going to finally kiss me was what I thought. In my heart, I loved him and it did not matter that he may not, but I expected him to at least play his part and maybe afterwards he’d feel a loyalty towards me just as I did for him, but I soon found out he was good at lying and deception.
He got on top of me, because “the missionary” was probably the only position he could think of at that time, in that moment.
Then, he immediately began to try to penetrate me down below, but my inexperience did not allow me to guide him so I panicked and froze, it did not feel right. He tried and he tried until I cried and I asked him to stop.
It took a while to register I think, because we were still a little drunk. Then all of a sudden his bedroom door flung open and banged against the wall. A few of his friends had decided to come in and make a joke of it all. I got dressed and sat outside on the pavement with my back against the other side of the wall. I cried softly and chanted over and over ‘I’m a slut, I’m a slut, I’m a slut.’
I told my parents I was staying overnight at a girlfriend’s house, but in reality, there was no one. So I found him after the party and told him such. He allowed me to sleep at his house for the rest of the night. In the morning, I found him sitting on the floor of his brother’s room, I had interrupted a deep conversation because they both stopped talking and looked at me with what appeared to be disgust, but I decided to brush it off.
I went home and it wasn’t long until he began calling and asking me to go out to another party once again.
I mistook his advances for genuine interest, but nonetheless I agreed because I loved him so much. I thought that if I prepared myself, the next time, it would be magical.
The night of the second try, we went into an upstairs bedroom and canoodled for a while. He put a condom on, no lubrication was provided, and he tried once more. This time it was painfully forceful but I didn’t know how else to give him what he wanted. Still, I had to ask myself why this hurt so damn much. Then all of a sudden, he pierced through me like a sword and I cried as I tried not to scream, I didn’t want anyone to know what we were up to but I had to wonder why he was in such a rush. Immediately after, we saw the sheets, they were covered in blood. When I saw that, I lost a huge piece of who I was, who I used to be, and sadly with my innocence lost, I became someone else.
I saw him again once or twice, but he didn’t stick around for very long because I just wasn’t experienced enough. And the sad reality was that even though the act had finally been completed, either one of us ended up with anything close to what we had planned for or actually really wanted.
It was the summer I turned sixteen. It was the beginning and it was the end.