For some reason, the record companies that hold the rights to Bill Withers’ recordings are clamping down with copyright claims on YouTube (which rather breaks some earlier posts I’ve done). So I found this video that features a recording of Michael Jackson covering it.
Cimmy was reading Michael Jackson: The Magic, The Madness, The Whole Story, 1958-2009 to me a little while ago. We haven’t gotten all the way through the book yet, but so much of it so far strikes me as a really sad story. I’d say it was about a showman who didn’t experience much life outside the spotlight, and what real life there was, was terrorized by a very abusive father. (According to this account, MJ changed his nose so he would look less like his father.)
Now Songfacts had an interview with Bill Withers about his music, and when asked about Ain’t No Sunshine, Withers had this to say:
“I was watching a movie called Days Of Wine And Roses (1962) with Lee Remick and Jack Lemmon. They were both alcoholics who were alternately weak and strong. It’s like going back for seconds on rat poison. Sometimes you miss things that weren’t particularly good for you. It’s just something that crossed my mind from watching that movie, and probably something else that happened in my life that I’m not aware of.”
I have a more pithy term for it, that I came up with during my 12 Step Work: “toxic security blanket”.
Listening to a young Michael Jackson sing this song, then, is haunting to me. I hear the plea of a child who has no voice; that is, an abused child who does not always have the words to describe how he is being abused. I think he died from a fatal dose of painkillers because he was trying to treat the pain, but failing. Apparently, there was no one by his side to help him fight and conquer those inner demons.
This morning was frustrating. Lately, I’ve started taking a melatonin/GABA supplement and a sleep aid to get to sleep, or rather, to force the matter. I’ll just quickly say that this is preferable to some of the psych meds that were offered to me as a solution on that end.
But I hurt last night, and as it so happens many times, I had some tonic spasms again, which shook off some of the effects of the sleep aid.
I remember waking a bit this morning to the sounds of the rest of my little family. As Latter-Day Saints, our meetings are three-hour blocks, and this year, we’re in the 09:00 slot. So they were rushing around, getting ready, and I remember my son saying, “Daddy, there’s porridge for breakfast!” But I was still so tired and achey, I could barely move a muscle.
Cimmy called from the church at 09:30, reminding me to take my morning pill salad, and telling me she was going to turn the phone off (so as not to disrupt the services). I mumbled something incoherent.
I finally stumbled into the shower and turned on the light box that my father-in-law built for me, to help with my SAD and vitamin D deficiency. I washed my hair but didn’t do all of my fastidious routine. I read some of the morning newspaper.
p>I was upset, still upset that I had missed church, again. I hated being in pain. The pain made it hard to attend, whether we were at the 9, 11, or 1PM (13h) slots– but the early morning schedule has been especially hard. It was all too easy to go back into the soupy mess of shame, self-loathing, and so on, and I dipped back into the vice that has plagued me since I was at least 11.
I don’t like admitting that the sex addiction is still there, partly with barbs and hooks in the pornography industry. I’ve read and heard many arguments for and against it, but I’d just like to be rid of it for good, and it’s hard. It’s not, in my opinion, a very healthy portrayal of real intimacy. But it’s a toxic security blanket sometimes. I had little means to deal with the onslaught of sexuality that was dumped into my lap when I was six years old. My parents thought it was a good idea for me to see them naked during shower time, and my mother in particular decided to point out her private parts. I had no idea what it all meant, or why my natural curiosity led to me getting my hand slapped. The more I was able to understand, the proportionately less they said.
Cimmorene has her own issues, including being sexually molested by a boarder when she was 10. So a good portion of our marriage has been untangling all that awful mess we had in our heads concerning intimacy. I’m grateful. I’m especially grateful that she was willing to adjust and adapt for my chronic pain and back ailments.
She knows about all of this. I’m grateful that she still finds me desirable. I’m especially grateful that our closeness and love brought us two beautiful children. But the ugliness is still there. I must recognize this yin energy in my life, balance it with the yang energy.
Sometimes, there ain’t no sunshine on this journey.