Friday, November 11, 2011

The Time Shawn Colvin Saved My Life

Evidently, Taylor Swift recently appeared onstage with Shawn Colvin to sing Colvin's 1996 hit, "Sunny Came Home." I know this, because I read Perez Hilton. I think it's charitable to say that Colvin hasn't loomed large in the popular consciousness lately, so this didn't make a ton of sense. But maybe those two bonded while commiserating about being ambushed at award ceremonies by rapper-type people. Sorry, 'Ye, but ODB's "Wu-Tang is for the children" is one of the best bum-rushes of all time. OF ALL TIME.

But anyway, the Swift-Colvin alliance gave this song a bit of a boost, and I started seeing it mentioned on Facebook. I thought, "Oh yeah, THAT song. I haven't listened to that in a while. I like that song...dammit, I REALLY like that song...THIS SONG IS PERFECT AND I CAN'T BELIEVE I WENT THIS LONG WITHOUT IT."

That said, there was one particular day in 2008 when this song exploded back into my brain and fortified me during one of the most harrowing episodes in my life. I was in a relationship that was going bad. Very bad. Dangerously bad. I wanted out, but my live-in boyfriend was nothing if not a master manipulator. He convinced me that no one else would ever want me like he did, so every time I made up my mind to leave, he'd talk me out of it. And I'd hate myself for it, but I stayed. And stayed unhappy.

His behavior started getting more and more controlling and irrational, and money started disappearing out of my bank account. He denied he had anything to do with it, but I was shaken. That Thanksgiving, I told him I was going home alone to think things out, and he should arrange to go to his family for the holiday. The writing was on the wall, and he freaked. He said he would make no such plans, and that he knew I would give in and let him come with me rather than "force" him to spend the holiday alone in our apartment. I called his bluff. I left. He stayed.

It's time for a few small repairs, she said

Over the next four days, he called incessantly. Even after I told him he was scaring the crap out of me and my family, he kept calling. Even after I was sobbing on the floor screaming "I DON'T LOVE YOU," he would just say "It's okay. We'll work it out." I had stomach pains so severe I slept with a heating pad every night. This was beyond unhealthy. This was destructive. I knew I had to go back to our apartment in DC, and tell him it was over, and that he would have to leave.

Count the years, you always knew it

My parents were scared for me. They didn't know how he'd react, and they offered to come with me. He never had been violent before, but he also didn't call me 15 times a day before. I told them not to come. This might have been a little foolish in retrospect, because I didn't know how he'd react either.

Light the sky and hold on tight, the world is burning down

So there I was on Amtrak preparing to do the ballsiest thing I'd ever done in my life and not entirely convinced I'd be able to go through with it. Maybe he would play my sympathies like he always did and cry and tell me how much he needed me and all the other shit that made me change my mind before. I didn't know what to think or how to prepare. So I put on my iPod. And that's when Shawn Colvin came up on shuffle.

Sunny came home with a vengeance

When "Sunny Came Home" came out, I was in high school, and the most taxing tribulations I had been through up to that point were studying really hard for tests, trying out for parts in the school play and that one time asking out that one guy in ninth grade (it didn't end well). So, even though I knew the song, and liked the song, the lyrics were still pretty abstract to me.

She opened a book and a box of tools -- Sunny came home with a mission

But now every line struck home. I caught myself sitting bolt-upright, jaw set, eyes wide while my chest tightened up and I thought my heart was going to burst through the rib cage.

She said days go by, I'm hypnotized...

And I listened to that song...

I'm walking on a wire...

On repeat...

I close my eyes and fly out of my mind...

All the way home.

...into the fire.

That night, I calmly told my boyfriend it was over. He was clearly unhappy, but I was clearly firm. There was no changing my mind this time. Even so, I still didn't totally have the heart to kick him to the curb outright. We would be mature about it. He'd have a month to find a place, get his affairs in order, and get out, and maybe...MAYBE...we could stay friends. He agreed, and it looked like this would end amicably after all.

And then a few days later I found out he stole my identity and opened several credit cards in my name and wrote bad checks and ruined my credit and stole from my account all to the tune of $32, I threw him out and notified my parents, his parents and the police (in that order) because he's a lying, sociopath con artist and any woman who gets near him should run like her hair's on fire. And that's the first time I ever said that in the blog. Feels kinda awesome.

Strike a match, go on and do it

So that's how Shawn Colvin helped give me the strength to walk away from the most toxic situation I ever found myself in, and why I'm glad this song is getting a little love. Sure, it sounds sweet and innocuous, but listen to the words. They're pretty badass. A pretty little thing with moxie. I dig that.

I did manage to absolve myself of about half of the debt, restore my credit and get the hell out of DC and start a more fabulous, if less solvent, life in New York. And the guy? Loooooong story short, he was never arrested, though we really, really tried. Last I heard he's somewhere in Baltimore. But honestly, I have better stuff to do now than chase him down. Dude got to dictate three years of my life. He doesn't deserve anymore. But, if by any chance he's reading this:

She's out there on her own

And she's all right.

More or less.

Sunny came home.