Present Day, March 13th, 2019

Last night I attended a Munford and Sons concert with my wife. The tickets were a Christmas/Birthday gift that I had anticipated enjoying for almost three months. The concert far exceeded my expectations, and that is saying a lot. At today’s ticket prices, I set the bar very high. However, the point of this post is not a concert review, so I’ll get to the point.

I cried. A lot. Pretty much from the moment they entered the arena to the crashing crescendo of applause until the final exit. Not an all-out bawling. Just a steady welling of tears and overflowing down my cheeks.

There are a number of reasons for this. One of which relates to the aforementioned applause. But that is an explanation for another post on another day. I promise to get back to it soon.

In a collective sense, the tears were generated by the reality and presence of music. Music has always played an important part in my life. It was prominent in my childhood as my mom taught myself and all my siblings piano. We were each expected to try another instrument as well, and I choose the trumpet. I was moderately successful through high school and into college (and greatly enjoyed the horns incorporated into Munford’s music!).

The tradition continues to build today as my son just completed his Master’s recital in classical guitar, one daughter just performed on the flute in a high school All-District Honor Band and the youngest continues to develop as a percussionist. So music stirs my emotions. It has a past and present in my life. It is an active piece of my life.

Then there are the lyrics. I know they are purposefully written to strike a personal note with us. But for me, Munford’s do on a very deep, emotional level. More so than ever would Kanye or Two Chains.

“I really fucked it up this time.” (Little Lion Man)

“I will wait, I will wait for you.” (I Will Wait)

“Cause even when there is no star in sight, you’ll always be my only guiding light.” (Guiding Light)

“This is never going to go our way, if I’m gonna have to guess what’s on your mind.” (Believe)

“I will hold on hope, and I won’t let you choke on that noose around your neck.” (The Cave)

These tie to my story. My personal story. Maybe in a way that is emotionally overstretched, but it is what it is. And that stirs a passion. A feeling. Something that expresses itself through tears.

Because crying is feeling. And I haven’t felt much in recent years. Everything has been so drugged and numbed. It has been so difficult to be stirred. Moved. To feel.

But last night everything was so alive. I cried a lot because I felt a lot. And feeling is life. And last night I loved being alive.

The Next 100: Time for a Tour!

This is post 101. That’s right, the first post of the second one hundred. Not bad for a blog that is less than one year old. And it seems like a good time to give you an idea of what I am trying to accomplish here. A quick tour of The Man On A Train. So here goes…

First, I originally set out to provide an inside look. Inside the mind of someone who is mentally ill, and being hospitalized. When I was taken into protective custody last fall, it was the first time in my almost fifty years of life that my illness had reached the point of being placed under psychiatric care. The experience was loaded with fear. Loaded with images of movie depicted institutions. Loaded with misconceptions. So I wanted to provide some insight as to what it can look like to obtain the kind of help that some of us need when a full-fledged admission is required.

These entries can be identified by their titles which begin with a date stamp occurring during the last week of August and first week of September (i.e. Thursday, August 25th, 5 p.m.). While no year is included, these events transpired in late summer 2016. These entries can also be searched via the “Categories” tool on the right side of the blog under the heading “Out of Town”.

Second, I wanted to share the after. What is it like to attempt to pick up the pieces after a complete meltdown? Breakdown? Loss of all sanity? It is not like they discharge you and all is well. We are not “fixed” near that easy. Knowing that the hospitalization was merely the beginning of another chapter or book of my life, I wanted to continue the story.

These entries can be identified by their titles which begin with “Present Day” followed by the actual day I am reflecting on (i.e. Present Day, July 12, 2017). Another way to isolate these entries is by utilizing the “Categories” tool under the heading “Back Home”.

Third, I love music. A massive variety of music. And music lyrics speak to me. Very directly. So I decided that every Saturday I would post a song containing words that I thought were particularly relevant to my journey and battle with mental illness. Some are sad. Some are upbeat. Some are heavy. Some are light. But all of them share a common thread of being songs that I can sing with the sense of being or having been right where the lyrics land.

And yes, these also have a simple way of being isolated. Utilize the “Categories” tool and search for the heading “Music for the Road” (i.e. July 15th, 2017 – Musical Truths… though based on the number of entries I have either missed a few weeks or failed to get all of them dropped into the right category).

There is a fourth category that I have yet to get to: the before. What was life like before the meltdown? Before the breakdown? When did I first know I had a mental illness? Or that something simply wasn’t right? How did I find out about it? What ways did I live in denial of it until denial was no longer a possibility? Which events in my life shaped the deterioration of my mental, emotional, and psychological health? Who was I or did I think I was, before I became who I am or who I think I am?

I don’t know if I will ever get to this fourth category. For now, the first three are keeping my plate full. But when I do, I’ll be sure to let you know.

Hopefully, this helps make more sense of just where this journey of The Man on a Train is going. Whether you want to know what life inside the hospital walls was like, how I’m struggling through the journey today, or are just looking for some music to speak for you when words don’t seem to come…I hope you will find my walk a helpful part of yours.

Peace.

February 18th, 2017 – Musical Truths

Run away, run away if you can’t speak
Turn a page on a world that you don’t need
Wide awake and you’re scared that you won’t come down now

Didn’t I tell you, you were gonna break down
Didn’t I warn you, didn’t I warn you
Better take it easy, try to find a way out
Better start believing in yourself

We build it up, we tear it down
We leave our pieces on the ground
We see no end, we don’t know how
We are lost and we’re falling
Hold onto me
You’re all I have, all I have
Hold onto me
You’re all I have, all I have

Now and then there’s a light in the darkness
Feel around till you find where your heart went
There’s a weight in the air but you can’t see why, why

January 28th, 2017 – Musical Truths

…They’ll try to push drugs that keep us all dumbed down
And hope that we will never see the truth around…

They will not force us
They will stop degrading us
They will not control us
We will be victorious

Interchanging mind control
Come, let the revolution take its toll
If you could flick the switch and open your third eye
You’d see that we should never be afraid to die

Rise up and take the power back
It’s time the fat cats had a heart attack
You know that their time’s coming to an end
We have to unify and watch our flag ascend