I can't erase you
The windmills loom in the distance, silently spinning against the darkening sky. Fields of wheat, potatoes, and corn pass by through the windows as I make my way home. Tears roll down my cheeks and I choke back sobs, trying to keep my composure so I don't wreck.
Normally, I don't get emotionally throat punched by songs, but at this point in my life, I was going through a lot of emotional and mental processing. I was commuting a lot for my job at the time, usually about 2 hours a day. I was a store manager for Hastings, a now-extinct entertainment store similar to Barnes & Noble. We rented movies and video games, sold all kinds of stuff, and had all of the struggles of normal retail. We also happened to be going out of business, which made things even tougher.
On top of that, the commute had given me plenty of time to reflect on how "behind" I am compared to other people my age. I haven't finished college, I'm living with my parents, I haven't figured out my life. But how can I provide for my family while I'm going to school? What needs to happen first? Do I need to get some school done or just keep working and figure it out later?
Lastly, I was still trying to figure out a healthy balance between my wife and the rest of my family. I was the first to get married, so everything was new territory. I always felt like I was caught in the middle and no matter what choices I made, I always got the short end.
So here I am, stressed about my job. Stressed about living with my parents while I have a wife and two small kids. Stressed about the future. School. Failing friendships. Adulting. All of it.
Out of the blue, the song "Erase" by Copeland starts playing through my car's speakers. The next thing I know, I've got water coming out of my face and I can't sing along because my throat closed up and the words won't come out. And this didn't happen just once. Almost every time I'd hear that song on my drive home, I'd get a little teary-eyed and my voice would start to crack like a 13-year-old at a school dance attempting to talk to his crush while the puberty monster assaults his vocal cords.
Let's lighten it up here for a second.
So the cool thing about this song and the album it's on (Ixora) is that Copeland actually wrote two versions of the album. Each version can be played on its own and gives a different feel to each song, or you can play them together on two separate stereo systems for a truly remarkable experience. The blend between the two versions of each song gives me goosebumps every time I listen. The Ixora Twin album version of "Erase" is a stripped down acoustic version that I can't get enough of, but the original version gets me right in the feels. As evidenced by the regular waterworks every time I listened to it in the car.
So why do I tell you this?
I tell you this because honesty is important. I tell you this because I need you to understand that we can't help each other if we can't be open about our struggles. I tell you this because I never had someone who was willing to talk about stuff like this. I tell you this because I need to be honest with myself; I can't move past my struggles if I can't admit to struggling.
This experience, along with some major depression and a few honest conversations with the people that matter to me most ultimately got me into counseling. I realized that this was a problem I couldn't solve myself; I had spent so long living in a way that was hurting my relationship with myself and others that I was in too deep to fix it.
I'll end this by saying that there is no shame in seeking help for a problem you can't solve. For years I felt that I should go see someone, but always minimized my issues and put off going to counseling because "someone needs it more". If you're like me, you'll prioritize yourself last, and I'm here to tell you that it's not worth it. You cannot be the person you want to be by putting yourself last. I know it feels selfish, or inconsiderate, or maybe even like a waste of time. But if you get in there and really invest yourself in making changes, it'll be one of the best things you've ever done for yourself.
Thanks for reading,