What It’s Like to Be Me: All Falls Apart Pt 8, Coping Mechanisms

We all know the childhood proverb, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I prefer the grown up version of the same saying: what doesn’t kill you gives you a lot of unhealthy coping mechanisms and a really dark sense of humor.

Divorce didn’t kill me and it did give me a dark sense of humor. Music has always been my coping mechanisms. Healthy or not, I’ve found solace in song. Coping with divorce wasn’t any different than any other challenge in my life. These songs didn’t just help me cope, they explain how I coped.

Sometime Sunday: “Home
Mikee Bridges sings of two homes in this lament, not knowing a physical home while looking forward to a spiritual home. Regardless of where I’ve lived, I never really felt like it was home. Losing the house I bought in the divorce and being forced into a small apartment reinforced the unanchored feeling of this song, “Home is a place I’ve never been.” Yet I shared Mikee’s hope in something more, “I’ll hold on to Sunday, a first time to come home.”

Pearl Jam: “In Hiding
I didn’t leave the apartment much, spent my time watching movies, paying video games, or writing. I did like the song said, “I shut and locked the front door, no way in or out, I turned and walked the hallways and pulled the curtains down.” Church on Friday nights and Sunday mornings. A small group meeting on Monday nights. Work five days a week. But if there was nowhere I needed to be, I was in hiding.

Matchbox Twenty: “Unwell
Symptoms of narcissistic abuse are varied and I didn’t experience all of them. However, I did suffer from insomnia, fatigue, depression, and anxiety. Other symptoms get weird: inability to trust yourself or others, feelings of isolation, difficulty making decisions. Narcissistic abuse makes you think you’re crazy. It’s a sensation described in this song, “I can hear them whisper, and it makes me think there must be something wrong with me, out of all the hours thinking somehow I've lost my mind”

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis with XPerience: “Let’s Eat
If I had one truly unhealthy coping mechanism, it was food. Comfort food. Fast food. Stress eating. Boredom eating. Social eating. Workplace potlucks. Whatever weight I lost when Bekah and I first separated, I gained it back after the divorce plus some. I know exactly what Macklemore is talking about when he raps, “I was gonna get skinny for the summer, I was gonna start doing my crunches, but looking down at my stomach, I'mma go to the beach, but I'm not taking my shirt off in public.” My craving for something spicy for lunch after church on Sundays every week worked against the efforts I made to get skinny again. Then again, “You know I feel good about this cake” can only be a viable way to cope for so long. My post-divorce body got to be the heaviest I’ve ever been.

Sick Puppies: “White Balloons
After a lifetime struggling with insecurity, divorce practically confirmed by biggest fear: I was insignificant. As a newly single man, and a single dad, I felt like a ghost – unseen and misunderstood. I heard my state of mind echoed in this song, “What’s inside of me is invisible to most even in clear view.” In my ghostly phase, there was a lot of change as I rediscovered/redefined who I was.

Of Monsters and Men: “I of the Storm
Another song speaking about feeling like a ghost, this one didn’t just address my inner turmoil, it described my appearance. “Until all you'll see is my ghost, empty vessel, crooked teeth.” There was a loneliness as I coped with grief, I was out of place and ungrounded. “I am a stranger, I am an alien inside a structure.” I had my kids and I had my job but aside from those two things, I felt lost and defeated.

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