Monday, March 30, 2015

Shine On You Crazy Diamond

...Or Musical Monday.  Whatever.  My house, bitches.  So, hi.  A long, long, time ago I can still remember when, no wait that's a different song, I was just a little mini-hippie.  I didn't eat meat, I was one of those environmentalists, a real free love, live and let live kinda girl.  And I was dating Viking Mike.  And oh how my heart would swoon at Pink Floyd.  Still does, actually.  When I get lost inside myself and the depression spirals down and the darkness pulls me under and all I can do is curl up in a ball and hide, my default mode is to pull the covers around me and watch The Wall over and over.  In happier times, you can find me throwing up the rocker horns and rocking out to Dark Side or Wish You Were Here.  Which brings me to why I'm here this morning.  Last night the Viking said something to me about still remembering me as his little hippie girlfriend sometimes.  And I laughed.  I remembered what I think was our first New Year's Eve together. We sat around a bonfire totally not doing anything in anyway illegal and talked about our resolutions.  Everyone had some silly ones, that was the point y'know?  Just a bunch of teenagers out in the desert being carefree, wearing flannel, jeans and chucks (not much has changed for me wardrobe-wise, clearly...also, I just realized I have a slightly longer version of that old haircut, and ballsier hair at 34 than I did at 16, wow me), just living life.  I wanted to own every single PF cd by the time we met in the desert again in a year.  My best friend (who is still my best friend) was there, she was dating Mike's friend at the time.  And everyone was just laughing and having a good time.  So Mike learned to play my favorite song and all through our marriage, even though there were some really shitty times, Mike would always play my favorite Pink Floyd song (at the time) for me.  Never the read to the belly sort, he would play the guitar sometimes to my pregnant belly, always this song.

The album "Wish You Were Here" was released in 1975 with the song "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" being credited as a tribute to former bandmate Syd Barrett.  Syd was a founding member of the band but had long been lost in the darkness of mental illness.  He, did, rather randomly, show up during the recording of this album.  However, prior to that, according to Wiki, in 1967 and '68 he had become "increasingly erratic" and of course, it was made much much worse by the use of drugs like LSD (and who knows what else was being put into his system). Though his family claims he suffered from no mental illness and that such stories are false (perhaps they're embarrassed as many people are by mental illness).  The most widely believed diagnosis is Schizophrenia.  He was never officially diagnosed.  Now here's the thing about Schizophrenia and LSD use.  LSD on its own almost never brings on the disease.  But the drug does mimic the disease in the brain.  So the two in tandem can certainly overload the system.  Barrett would likely have broken down on his own.  Probably by the age of 30, as most sufferers of Schizophrenia are diagnosed between the ages of 16 and 30.

So what am I saying in all this?  I guess I'm saying that I'm still a hippie at heart.  I guess I'm saying that there can be really fahking awesome memories mixed with the bad.  I guess I'm saying you can bury your sorrow in Pink Floyd's "The Wall" (and you should!) or anything else that really stifles the darkness and lets in a sliver in of light.  I guess I'm saying don't believe everything you hear about music and the industry and mental illness and drugs and disorders and all that fucking media bullshit hype.  I guess I'm saying do your own research.  I guess I'm saying never, ever, judge someone.  I guess I'm saying the guy with the toothbrush he's named Bernie might be high, yeah, but he might be sick, too.  I guess I'm thinking listen to you heart and your brain and think before you act.  I guess I'm thinking we should keep shining a bright light on mental illness so that the stigma is gone so people like Syd Barrett don't have to be ashamed to get help and his family doesn't have to say he was never sick.  I guess I'm saying knowing more about what hurt him and hindered him may have helped a generation of teenagers in the 1990's who loved his music.  I guess I'm saying R.I.P. Syd.  I guess I'm saying shine on you crazy diamonds.

And here you go, a little shout out to my younger self.  How I wish, how I wish you were here.

*NOTE*  Want to read more about the incomparable Syd?  Do it here!  Want to learn more about Schizophrenia?  Do it here!

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