Something I Can Never Have
It was a feeling I grew up with.
It was a sinking feeling that would come out whenever I was left alone with my thoughts. I was never sure what it was because I never wanted to define it… because that would mean confronting it and I was terrified of what was behind those doors. Maybe as a defense mechanism, I would romanticize this empty feeling by wrapping it in art – drawing, painting, the occasional poem, and music… most importantly, music. I thought (and still think) there’s a certain beauty in sadness (not necessarily mine). It wasn’t until my late teens/early twenties that I found a phrase to describe it: “I just want something I can never have“. I knew this sadness had its roots in love, but that’s as close as I’d let myself get.
That was actually a lyric I’d found during my blossoming obsession with Nine Inch Nails. I stumbled upon it while scrounging for their songs on Limewire. Admittedly, my initial reaction to the song wasn’t pure adornment, but that lyric stuck with me.
I typically identif(ied/y) with the male perspective in love songs – admiring women, being at the emotional mercy of women, willing to be a martyr for a woman’s love* – so I’d vicariously live through music. (Songs by women where straight men are the object of affection are just not the same.) But you can only compromise being actually infatuated with so much “NeYo – Because of You”/ “Eve 6 – Think Twice”/ “Our Lady Peace – Somewhere Out There“-esque songs** before you fall back into that sinking (faux-)realization that this is something you’ll never have. Sad love songs were a temporary remedy for avoiding my own feelings towards girls.
* I am never and will never again be this full of cheese.
** It was 2005 and I had just discovered Kazaa, okay???
Since coming out, there’s been more of a release on this feeling – love and happiness don’t seem as unattainable. But the feeling isn’t completely gone; opening up the doors to my sexuality led to a cluttered hallway, with 23-years worth of overgrown vines and trust issues… and it just looks like a lot of work has to be done.
But at least I know.