Dearest Darling Ones,
Thanks to childhood trauma and a heavy assist from poor self-esteem I have a phobia about being forgotten and/or abandoned.
My mom’s go-to for everything she didn’t do or feel like doing was “I forgot.” This applied to everything from lunch money to attending school plays to putting down the deposit to reserve my place in the freshman class at college.
My dad was a big fan of abandonment as a form of punishment, which isn’t exactly like being forgotten but feels roughly the same.
When I was 15 he got angry at me for wandering off to the music section at the K-Mart in Coon Rapids and left me there. I spent 45 terrifying minutes wandering the store looking for him and my three sisters. Eventually, I gave up and walked to the Country Kitchen where my mom was working. He refused to pick me up, so I had to call Jodi Hanson whose aunt came and rescued me.
When I was 17 I attended my mom’s BFF’s wedding in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. My mom and I stayed at a hotel with the rest of the wedding party. The day after the wedding my mom went back home because my family was moving to Chippewa Falls, WI the next day. I was staying in Grand Rapids for a week to babysit the happy couple’s children while they honeymooned somewhere.
Everyone checked out of the hotel and forgot about me. I spent hours nervously wondering what to do. I didn’t have any money. I only knew a few phone numbers, and they were all long distance. Eventually, I called home hysterical because what else was I going to do? My dad got angry because I couldn’t calm myself down and hung up on me. At some point, the bride’s siblings came and got me.
After that week of babysitting the groom’s parents dropped me off at a Country Kitchen in Forest Lake, where my cousin was supposed to pick me up and bring me home. She forgot. When she finally rescued me, she dropped me off at home, which was empty because my family had moved to Wisconsin in my absence. All my stuff had been moved out of my room and put in the basement, which was where I was going to live for my senior year in high school while my cousin and her family lived upstairs. At some point Jodi Hanson came over with leftovers because there was no food in the house.
There are, of course, a million other ways I’ve been forgotten or abandoned or stood up. I like to believe this has happened to everyone at least once in their lives. I know I can’t be the only one.
Like Rob Gordon in “High Fidelity,” I too ponder what came first, the music or the misery?
Did my love of songs about not being forgotten take root in my heart because of being frequently forgotten or, well, I guess that doesn’t really fit here. The universe wasn’t like “hey, she super loves songs about being thought about or remembered, let’s make sure she has a reason for that.”
Damn you, Nick Hornby.
Regardless, those great “don’t you forget about me/don’t forget me when I’m gone/I won’t forget you baby/love letters in the sand, I remember you*” 80s songs had a special place in my internal jukebox. Still do, really.
However as I have matured, my musical taste has matured, and I’ve taken a hankering to a special kind of don’t forget/remember me song. Specifically, I love the “think of me when I’m not around song.”
One thing that has occurred to me as I type this is how all the “don’t forget me songs” I mention are by dudes, and the “think of me” songs I’m going to mention are by women. There’s probably some sort of cis-gender binary thing going on there. Men making pronouncements and commands, and women being much more emotionally subtle and yet totally more devastating.
It’s similar to how when a guy says his ex is crazy and you kind of roll your eyes because it means she showed emotion regarding their break up. When a woman says her ex is crazy you know that dude is dangerous.
One of my favorites in the “think of me” genre is Lydia Loveless’ “To Love Somebody.” It’s a sonic go-to when I’m feeling a certain way. Loneliness mixed with nostalgia for one that got away or frustration over that one who refuses to come here. The second verse of this song is frequently how I feel about all things romantic. And I never did want that much from you, or at least not everything. I never did want you to be mine. Well, at least not all the time, but now I want to be on your mind.”
My new favorite song in this genre, and all the genres really, is Madi Diaz’s “Think of Me.” In my heart the math goes like this Alanis Morisette’s “You Oughta Know” + Loveless’ “To Love Somebody” = “Diaz’s “Think of Me.”
Diaz’s song has all the fury of the Morissette’s song plus the lovely longing of Loveless’ song. It is amazing and I listen to it about five times in a row every morning to get pumped up to do the adult things that are required of me. I put this song on every time my energy starts to lag and couch dance while sing/shouting “I hope you fuck her with your eyes closed, put the shame off with some benzos.” I don’t even have anyone specific I hope is fucking her with his eyes closed, but rather all of the dudes I’ve ever had sex with. All of them.
I also hope they think of me always.
*Holy Buckets! How did I forget what a thing of beauty 80s Sebastian Bach was? Damn. Between this video and Confetti-era Evan Dando I’m really putting some real thought into my “blondes just aren’t my thing” policy.