I’ve started listening to The Cure again, and I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I first started properly listening to The Cure after my first ever session of therapy. I had been experiencing emotional pain that I hadn’t known possible. It scared the shit out of me, to be honest. When you think of physical pain, you have a map of it in your head. You may never have had your hand chopped off, but you can kinda, maybe take your mind to that place; to how horrible that might feel. But emotionally, I was in uncharted waters. Until then.

I rode the bus there – I think I had intended to drink heavily afterwards, or before… during if I could swing it – but because the session with my therapist went so well, and because I vomited all this congealing, rotting bile of emotion onto her office floor, and because afterwards I felt a glimmer of hope, and maybe because it was a crisp October afternoon, I decided to just walk home. Past the bars, past the liquor stores: just home. I had bought Disintegration a few days before. My ex and I had liked some of their more upbeat tunes. The poppiness of Just Like Heaven, and Friday I’m In Love along with a bunch of other favorites bands from our past had added a flavor of blitheness to the previous summer. I guess I’d never been a huge fan of theirs before that but I picked up a copy of the album few weeks before our split. Though I hadn’t yet listened to it. Couldn’t, if I’m honest.

I put it in my Discman (I’m not gonna lie – I’m old) and listened to it on the walk home. And I didn’t stop listening for the rest of my twenties. Robert Smith’s lyrics and music were simply who I was – and, more importantly, the part of me I couldn’t figure out – converted from brain chemistry to sound. They fucking echoed through every cell in my body. And for the next five years every friend, girlfriend, family member, colleague, shop-teller, fucking passer-by were bombarded by my obsession with this band.

The break-up with the ex had destroyed me. I sometimes wonder how I survived it. That kind of trauma can’t be compared to a physical suffering, because if it had been physical I wouldn’t have survived (there were many physical side-effects: I lost a shit-ton of weight, and essentially became an alcoholic around then, for example, but the white-hot core of agony was purely emotional). Still, to try to give it some context, I liken it to a car crash. A sickening smash from which I emerged forever changed – scarred and disfigured.

And then the pain kind of reached a breaking point, whereby for no other reason than it simply could not get any worse, it had to start getting better. Like when you’re travelling so far away from home, you eventually reach a point where you’re returning. That’s what happened that day, the day I bawled my eyes out in my therapist’s office, and listened to Disintegration in full for the first time. And there I found something just like me; with exactly as much shadow as light, and exactly as much hope as despair.

Eventually I started to recover. I fell in love again. I matured. I got married and had kids. I bought an iPod and put fucking Britney Spears on it – gym music. I started listening to Just Like Heaven and Friday I’m In Love again. Eighties rock became my soundtrack. In a way (Oh God, this is corny as fuck) I felt like I was cured (barf!). The scars have faded; like little silver ribbons, they remain a part of me. I’m better for them, but I wish they weren’t there. And I still miss the ex from time to time; in ways that it shouldn’t, my heart sinks when I remember her. But it never lasts long.

I have therapy tomorrow. It’s my second visit. And no, I haven’t cried yet. Shit happens: I sometimes find it hard to cope with stuff. I can feel blue too easily. I suffer from fucking depression and alcoholism – it’s clearly not a bunch of flowers. But I’ve a good job, a great wife, an amazing son, and a daughter on the way. I’m just listening to The Cure again, well… because they’re awesome!

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