It Can Be Bizarre Discovering Who You Might Relate To
Last month Emily and I sat down and watched an hour-long documentary about Meat Loaf entitled (I think) Meat Loaf: In And Out of Hell, and I had a rather bizarre kind of realization by the time it was over…
I feel like my journey somehow relates to his.
I know you must think this to be ridiculous. In all honesty, so do I. After all, while I was picked on quite a bit in high school (in my case, because I was very small, rather than very large – but what does size matter), I didn’t come from a broken home with a drunken parent, I didn’t have to face abuse every day in my own house…
Oh, and there’s that whole thing where he’s kinda famous and I’m kinda not.
So what the heck am I talking about here?
What I’m talking about is that he had everything – he rose to the top of the music world and then had everything taken away from him. He fell all the way to the bottom and then came back (like a bat out of hell, you might say) to stand atop it all again.
That really didn’t help clarify things did it?
I truly believe that one of the wonderful and funny things about life is how we find ways to relate to other people (or to not relate as the case may be), to find a connection that does more to help us explain our own lives than it does anything else. You may find you see yourself in other people, people that on the surface appear to be nothing like you – they don’t look like you; they don’t talk like you and they certainly haven’t had the same life as you. Yet, you still take something away.
So what did I take away from Meat Loaf: In And Out of Hell?
When I moved down here to Nashville, I was convinced I was going places. I mean, within months of having arrived I was signed to a record label and was preparing to get catapulted to the Moon. But that launch never happened. In fact, there was no catapult to speak of. I lost the rights to most of my good music and by the time it was all over I was fairly aimless as to what to do next. It was a very humbling experience (and one may argue I needed the humbling). I’d felt important, and as though all my hard work up to that time was being rewarded. I was, in my own mind, if not on top of the world then certainly headed there.
But then I crashed and burned. And for a while, I’d all but given up. I moved on to doing film stuff and included “…because I had wanted to be a rock star” in most of my responses when asked by new acquaintances why I had moved to Nashville. Over time, that sentence left a terrible taste in my mouth, and it wasn’t until my first daughter was born that I realized why that was – my passion was music, and it was because this was my passion that my fall had hurt so terribly. And it was because of this realization that I decided I needed to pick myself back up and get back to it.
Now, granted, I haven’t quite gone anywhere yet – starting over is a long process, and certainly it’s rather daunting to see the music scene out there now and know that had I not stepped back for five-plus years I might not feel so far behind. But that’s the challenge, isn’t it? Isn’t that part of what makes this all worth it?
Meat Loaf had everything, and lost it. He virtually disappeared from the music landscape. But then he came back. If he can come back from such a high fall, hit the ground with mind-numbing speed and still find a way, with time and patience, to climb back out of the pit, I’m fairly certain I can pull myself up off the floor and climb back up on that stage.
There’s a spotlight waiting for me. It hasn’t disappeared.
This is why I feel like I can relate Meat Loaf. No, our lives and journeys have been nothing the same, but I know what it feels like to have even some modicum of success and have it taken away from you. I know what it feels like to get some of those pieces of you back and I know what it’s like to feel down and out but to not give up.
And he’s an awesome performer. There’s that, too, right?