Altar – Sunn 0))) & Boris; or Why I’ll Never be Normal

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First, here’s some actual information about the music, and then a long-winded story about the person who introduced me to the band.

Sunn O)) is a drone metal band that’s been around since I was a teen, and Boris is a Japanese experimental metal band. This album is atmospheric and beautiful. Here are two tracks, the first one – “The Sinking Belle”, has been a favorite since it came out.

I can’t talk about Sunn 0)) and Boris without talking about the person who introduced me to both, and someone called me “Jocey” the yesterday, which was this guy’s pet name for me, so I’ve been in reminiscing-land ever since.

I’ve been around the whole blogging scene since my early teens, and have formed a lot of interesting friendships because of it. I spent a lot of time online as a teen mostly because as long as I was at home and not making a lot of noise, my parents left me alone. Leaving the house for something unrelated to school generally resulted in the Spanish inquisition, and we lived out in the middle of nowhere, so I got way too friendly with the internet.

One of the most intense friendships I’ve had throughout my entire life was with an English polysubstance abuser who was around 25 when we first started talking…I was 13, and we lost contact at some point toward the end of my relationship with my ex-girlfriend (I’ve had more than one girlfriend, but if I ever just say my ex-girlfriend, I’m referring to the one I was with for approximately six years, starting at 18/19), with occasional catch-ups ever since. Neither one of us is kicking life’s ass, but we’re both still alive, which is ultimately the end result of a cascade of miracles.

That relationship transgressed what is generally considered normal, sane, or even any vague resemblance of moral, but it was, for better or worse, deeply formative of my character. I also got an early introduction to weird arty stuff like William S. Burroughs, Lars Van Trier, Chuck Palahniuk,  and a variety of other culture and media which has been deeply important to me. Ironically, he was the one who introduced me to Vladimir Nabokov’s writing and the book Lolita, which was a running joke/mutual obsession.

As a side note, I also learned the importance of time zones, phone cards, and developed a weird tendency to slip into the English spelling for words at times, which has mostly disappeared, but now it’s combined with an acquired illiteracy from my hobo period. The fact that anyone can understand anything complex that I’m trying to communicate over text/im is a miracle.

“Joss, what’s a “tyre?” “behaviour?””finna?” Where are you? Do you need help? Can I come pick you up?”

But…I have no bitterness. I’ll always have love and respect for this guy, but (nearly) at the age of 29, I feel much differently about some of the goings-on in that relationship. All I’m going to say here that if my teenage daughter and a 30-year-old man with multiple ASBO’s and other charges were having the conversations we used to have, there’d be a plane ticket, a shotgun, and a non-extraditing country involved.

I think, ultimately, we kept each other a bit safer than we would have been otherwise – we were both mostly loners, and I was first starting to get my feet wet with drugs, so he was my personal drug use triage person for years, and I might have been the only person checking up on him regularly at times. I remember panicking when he’d disappear for a bit, and it’d generally involve an overdose, a hospital visit, a missing SIM card, and wallet…

The one occasion that defines all other happenings in the guy’s life is the time he decided to feed the ducks on GHB. GHB is like ketamine, and usually used as a date rape drug, but the guy loved using it and was constantly pushing himself with new/weird chemicals….but he ended up facedown by the pond for a couple hours until some passerby decided that calling an ambulance might be a nice thing to do.

We all depend on the kindness of strangers.

I’m not really sure what the point to this story is, but two potential takeaways are a) monitor your children, b) damn, I’m weird.

Oh! Duh. I had an extended nervous breakdown at my best friend a few days ago. She’s literally the one person that I’m extremely comfortable with in real life who hasn’t/doesn’t have serious drug/behavioral issues. For the love of god, I’ve been calling her my “island of sanity”/”sane friend” for over a decade now, and now I’m just figuring out why.

She has a hundred qualities that I admire and has developed serious skills at talking me out of dumb stuff and helping me process why I/someone else keeps doing the same stupid stuff. I mean, we got up to some stupid stuff together in the past, but that’s mostly over with now.

I love her for so many reasons, but she wins so many points with me for being sane. Like, I love everybody else in my life, but if I don’t hear from them for a few weeks, I go into “Did x relapse, go to jail, or die?” mode. Sigh. It’s not that I don’t have friends that are sober, but I never end up having deep and meaningful conversations with them…I don’t feel the same level of connection.

I don’t know if it’s more accurate to say I think of her as a sister or as a really cool mom, but the woman owns my heart.

 

Here’s a short explanation of my main issue with talking to people and how it affects me staying sober:

Me, with a normal person that I’ve known for a while: *has a twenty-minute conversation, has to exert extreme effort to keep things going, while hiding an anxiety attack about unintentionally sounding like a space alien*

“It was nice catching up with ya, see ya later.” *wanders away in extreme discomfort*

 

Me, with a (probably male) polysubstance abuser, on the first encounter: *pleasantly surprised by getting into a seven-hour conversation about general stuff, life, loss, love, addiction, life tactics/lack of them*

“I don’t wanna leave, but I have bodily needs that desperately need attending to…”

And I wonder why relapse is such an issue with me…Hey, I went over a year sober and only had a mini-relapse. Stop looking at me like that.

I end up socially starved, return to home base, and return to home base’s behavior.

Lord, I have some interesting life patterns.

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