Aimee Mann :: Lost in Space (2002)

Being in a relationship with an addict is an experience that I truly believe cannot be fully described, or understood, unless you yourself have been a part of one, as well. The layers of emotion and the varying degrees of reality seem endless.

Each day happens and you never know quite what is in store, you hold your breath, you steady yourself, you shut down your own wants and needs in order to be ever prepared for the worst, and some days, the really bad days, you secretly hope for the worst. Self-loathing is contagious, and even though you are not the one covered in mess on the bathroom floor, you are the one living with it, cleaning it up, and making the never ending excuses.

You cannot stop it from happening, you start to hate yourself for all of it: for not being able to make it stop, for staying within it, for sometimes wanting it to end in the worst possible way, and for so desperately longing to run.

But you do not run, you stay, you clean-up, you cover-up, and you believe every half-hearted plea and promise that the next day will be the new fresh start of getting better. Meanwhile, disappointment and loneliness paint over you, layer after layer, clogging life and breath from getting inside your soul. Denial is just part of your daily routine.

No one truly understands unless they have lived it.

Aimee Mann’s Lost in Space, though, plays out as if she has lived it. Never have I ever felt so understood, heartbreakingly so, as I did listening to Lost in Space back when I was in the throes of being the other-half of addiction.

Following are my three sentence reflections of each song from the album, most likely reflective of those years or the lessons I have gleaned after the distance of being away from it has settled in:

Humpty Dumpty

“But I’m not the girl you once put your faith in,
just someone who looks like me.”

No matter how hard I tried we were split into so many broken pieces that could never be glued back together, even when I wanted to fix us, and even when he wanted to fix us. He was never quite willing to fix himself, though, which kept the pieces shattered. And I, well, I kept denying the catastrophy that we were, and with ever denial part of me weakened and died.

High on Sunday 51

Baby, please — let me begin,
let me be your heroin
.”

No matter how much you want it, no matter how much you try, you will never be a replacement for their addiction. The urge, no the need, to be that solution though will drive you to persist, over and over, until you are hollowed out inside. Blaming yourself for not fixing it, for not being better than, is inescapable.

Lost in Space

And I’m pretending to care,
when I’m not even there.
Gone but I don’t know where
.”

One day I woke up and shut off, closing down and turning numb, I could not feel anything anymore. I drifted through the days, dreams suspending in the air around me, I felt like the real me was far, far away. I suppose, looking back, it was my first steps towards leaving.

This is How it Goes

“Cause I can’t stop you,
baby.”

This one still hurts a lot to listen to. The final outcome was so final, and even though I had already left and had no intention of returning, I still wish I could have stopped you. I do.

Guys Like Me

“They’ll pull you close,
but never really.”

I feel rather disconnected from this song, and actually did not completely remember it being on the album. I feel as if it does not fit with the overall theme of the album, though reading through the lyrics what comes to mind is the reasons I found myself in the addicted relationship in the first place. He seemed so overflowing with emotion, and I had spent so much time with emotionally unavailable and cold people before him; he was not like them, at all.

Pavlov’s Bell

“I’m all about denial —
but can’t denial let me believe?”

Denial was like breathing to me, and with every word I spoke, I built on to the denial further, brick by brick, day by day, lie by lie. Eventually, though, the power of denial began to wane. Denial could no longer keep me believing, or breathing.

Real Bad News

“You might think that things will change,
but take my word,
they won’t.”

This one stings still, too. There were so many promises given, there were so many deals waged, and there were so many stipulations laid out on the table – and they were all, each and every one, broken. After awhile, there was no other choice but to run.

Invisible Ink

“I feel like a ghost who’s trying to move your hands,
over some ouija board,
in the hopes I can spell out my name.”

The thing is, when you love someone so much you want to keep believing that the love is enough. You twist yourself into some unrecognizable thing, turning yourself inside out and upside down, just hoping that you will matter more. It all just broke my heart in so many ways.

Today’s the Day

“Better pack your bags,
and run.”

Together we ran away many times, ever hoping a change of scenery would make it all better. It never made any of it any better. Eventually, I had to run without him.

The Moth

“The moth don’t care if the flame is real,
cause flame and moth got a sweetheart deal.”

The deal struck between us grew blurred, and the burns and scars became to vivid and fatally real. It is hard to remain “sweethearts” when days become harder and harder to get through. Addiction was his real sweetheart, and I became nothing more than a casualty.

It’s Not

“So baby kiss me like a drug, like a respirator,
and let me fall into the dream of the astronaut,
where I get lost in space that goes on forever,
and you make all the rest just an afterthought,
And I believe it’s you who could make it better.
Though it’s not.”

Once upon a time I believed we could save each other, and that all the past hurts and broken histories could be healed, together. I put so much faith into us, so much hope, and so much belief. And though it would take years for me to realize and admit, nothing got better with us together, nothing at all.

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