I have had something happen to me in the past few months which I will expand upon soon that has had so many things racing through my brain...stuff I want known to people while they are still here and while I am still here on this Earth before more life has to continue or those eventual prophecies of the end of times come upon us...because some people who should know these things are already gone though I am sure they already knew what was inside my heart. My following post is going to be very serious so if you only wish to read this as a means to persecute and ridicule me...please stop now. If I end up using some coarse language or make you uncomfortable...you have my permission to stop reading and leave. If you stay and read the whole thing...I hope you can learn from it.
So of course I was born on May 21st of 1983, a technical only child of my parents William and Kathy Lones, but with a half brother and sister about fourteen/fifteen years older. I was a very spoiled child and I could throw tantrums like no other child that is silly to look back on now and highly embarrassing and maybe now it kind of makes sense as to why I didn't have many friends growing up. I never have been good at sharing my toys and even now I don't really like to loan out my movies or books or CDs and I still can get miffed if I don't get my way. I don't think school really helped either especially if your first memory is being so upset being away from your mother for the first time you cry so hard and end up wetting your pants. Instead of being an understanding teacher/care giver to a young child, you sit them in a corner chair underneath a picture of a crying Precious Moments angel where the other children can have a good laugh at you because you obviously did something bad.
That memory has stuck inside my head for so long and of course many people think I'm making it up. I do have a very vivid and creative imagination, I always have, and yes I have told lies in the past...little white ones and some very Moby Dick sized whoppers that got me in trouble and even ostracized me from people but I wonder if it just wasn't some sort of mechanism I developed to make friends. I am also a very trusting person and I always try to give people the benefit of the doubt even though my past experiences should have a big fucking neon sign flashing STOP whenever I try. I guess being used, lied to, stolen from and losing faith will do that to a person but my gullible, naïve nature is something I try to hold on to because I feel myself becoming angry and cynical every day. With all the hate and stupidity going on in the world, how can I not?
So as stated I was a young child that had trouble making friends but being by myself I developed an imagination that could come up with many stories and games to play with my Barbie dolls and the My Little Ponies and Care Bears in my toy box and of course my mother recorded cartoon shows like The Smurfs and Jem and Pound Puppies for me to watch as well as buying Disney films and animated movies that powered my imagination even more. As much as those classics shaped me and then of course developing a love of reading to mold me even more...I truly wouldn't be me without the love that music had brought me.
Anyone who has read this blog or my music blog or even knowns me personally can tell you that I LOVE my music and that I love all kinds of music: rap, country, pop, rock, 50s, 60s a little bit of everything. Not many people may like what I do and believe me I get razzed A LOT on the things I enjoy but once I hear something that has lyrics or a beat that gets stuck in my head I will love it for life no matter how old I get...some things are just too nostalgic or personal to give up.
Everyone knows (or should by now) that my favorite band of all time is Heart. For those living under rocks or need short schooling: a band who gained commercial success in 1976 with a hard rock/ folk rock/ adult contemporary sound sometimes boarding on metal or soft rock in both aspects and led by the Wilson Sisters Ann, lead singer, and Nancy, guitarist. The late seventies were good for the band, the early 80s not so much with a huge come back in 1985 with their third line-up and ninth studio album self-titled which is where the two roads meet of Heart and I. I was two years old when the Heart album made it big for the band when MTV actually showed music videos and VH1 had nothing but music as well. You're probably wondering how a toddler can become such a big fan of a rock group and the answer is the music videos. 80s music videos were big and flashy with movement and colors so of course they can grab the attention of a child and make them stop for three or four minutes and sit down to watch just like cartoons have the same effect.
|The poster that hangs on my wall|
Being a girl where things like Barbie and The Rockers and Jem were aimed towards my demographic it's almost a moot point that I also liked Madonna , Paula Abdul, Janet Jackson and Pat Benatar. To see female rockers in person that are flesh and blood writing their own songs and singing the lyrics with powerful voices is a moving experience and I guess it struck a chord deep in me that not many artists have ever reached or at least for not a long while until I was older. So it began that Ann and Nancy Wilson became my inspiration for becoming the woman I am as well as beacons of hope, the ideals of what perfection is meant to be and of course the image of strength. Both women are so beautiful in many different ways that even if they don't believe it I find the paradigms of perfection, class and grace and talented to be my inspiration in every thing I write: my eternal muses.
|2004 Meet And Greet with Ann and Nancy Wilson plus fellow Heartmongers Trav and Tim|
Now it is not just the ladies of Heart that make the band talented all members past and present contribute to my love of the group. I always lean towards the 80s lineup that featured Denny Carmassi on drums and Mark Andes on bass because well that was the band I was exposed to but after discovering the band I bought tapes and vinyl and CDs of earlier albums and later ones and find enjoyment in everything Heart. There is no Heart song I hate but many I love more than others and every member past and present has my respect for what they add or added to the sound. My first crush coincidentally was on former Heart guitarist Howard Leese, about thirty two years my senior, and I couldn't care less how people feel about that...then or even now.
|1998 show where I got to get a picture taken with Howard|
Now it didn't start when I was two but as I got older the crush developed of course in the many stages crushes develop: puppy love, adoration from afar, unrequited and truly impossible and has now become respectful with little traces here and there of the fan girl who blushes and squeals but with pride. It's very hard not to forget your first crush or blossom of romance and I have to thank Howard Leese for making me a romantic because with out a man to inspire me how could I ever write poems or stories about love in the first place? I developed other crushes on rock stars, musicians, actors and boys I went to school with and even though most are the same as my crush on Howard Leese the ones on males in my proximity led to tragedy and heartbreak that only a teenager can understand and a woman can reflect upon.
Speaking of Heart and love, there are four types of love in which the band has had an impact on my life. In the family aspect I wouldn't have discovered the band without my mother or my older sister introducing me to the Heart album in the first place. My sister had the poster which I commandeered as I got older (and still have) and my mother had the cassette tape which I also took and as well being the source of where most of my Heart album purchases came from until I had jobs and money of my own. Where love fits into friendship that can also become almost like a family, I have that in spades and also have lost a love like that which can never be replaced.
So Heart fans are called Heartmongers and there are many of us over the world we may like different albums, songs and incarnations of the lineup but the main denominator is the Wilson sisters and their own capacity of the four loves: they are family, friends, wives, mothers and of course they wish for love to all their fans and others in general. I would not have met so many of these fans without being on the message board or going to meet and greets and having conversations that are not just only about the band but a love of music in general and finding connections in books and movies as well.
|My monger family|
I never really had friends until I was eleven years old and I never really understood friendship until I was about nineteen when high school was done and people no longer had their cliques to fall back on and had a chance to make new friendships that could last. When I met Amy Elizabeth Miller (nee Cecil) on the school bus in sixth grade that changed me: being nice to the new girl on the bus route (having gone to different elementary schools) and actually having someone be nice to me. Now we had a lot of ups and downs with our friendship in the being with my aforementioned knack to bend the truth but soon I gave that up when it nearly destroyed my friendship with not only Amy but our friend Sarah Payne (nee Graybeal) who I was introduced to by Amy and the three of us were The Musketeers for the longest time until we all kind of drifted apart around college. Amy and I never really lost touch completely our lives just moved in different paths: she got married and moved away to Michigan while I stayed in Kentucky.
|2009 concert with my bestie|
One thing that always connected us was Heart, which I introduced her to. It was finally nice to have some to share my love of the band with and not be looked at like a weirdo anymore and it made our friendship stronger to have something in common and realize just how good we were for each other. I had finally found the other twin to my Gemini half, a little sister I had always wanted to have and the one person I thought would always be there for me. Sadly, on March 31st of this year, cancer took my best friend from me and left so many of us devastated with her passing. Amy would have been thirty-three like me and like me we both wanted children to be the godmothers of and pass on the love of Heart we shared...I will never find another person like Amy. I may meet new people and develop friendships with them but no one can replace the kinship I had with Amy. Even though I have had such a catastrophic blow delivered to my spirit, I still have my heart and Heart to bring me peace as no Heart song no matter how melancholy makes me sad enough to cry even in pain.
|2004 Monger Meet Amy's first concert|
Even though I may have lost the other half of my Gemini heart, I still have my family and my extended family and as well as the other love everyone needs: romance. As stated I have had crushes on celebrities and normal average guys. I have liked nice guys, funny guys and jerky jocks, drama guys even geeky nerds and bad boys but as I told you nothing ever really panned out. In college I had a relationship that lasted about ten months which was going a little fast from his end and I guess no pun intended but quite ironically my heart was not in it. It was a long distance relationship and he was very nice to me but there was just no romantic spark there even though we had a few things in common. Now even though I said it moved faster on his end it got to a point where it seemed he was growing tired of me and if it was because I didn't feel anything more passionate then he would have liked, I'm sorry but I can't apologize for how my heart feels.
It didn't hurt me as bad as I thought it would and I moved on thanks to my friends and my online Heartmonger family. So when we all talked about sharing our pictures so we could all see what each other looked like a young man I was talking to had his picture up before mine and I immediately told him that he was hot because to me he was! I had developed my type very early in life: tall, dark and handsome and of course musicians or musically inclined men who could sing or write didn't hurt either. So pushed on by the brown-eyed, goatee but still clean-shaven boy next door looks of a guy only a year older than me who liked Heart's 70s and more hard rock style and could play guitar, I posted my own pic and when he commented that I looked really good thanks to a Halloween night of going out as a cross between Stevie Nicks-Nancy Wilson-Madonna 80s style we began talking even more but growing into something different.
|The picture that began it all...|
We finally met face to face after eight months of talking to each other privately, me in Kentucky and Nathan in Indiana of all places, and the chemistry was instant. There are times when we did not see eye to eye on certain elements and even now disagree on music, movies and other things but he has always been there for me when I needed a shoulder to cry on, financial assistance or a more level-headed personal opinion. That first encounter was May 8th of 2004, June 30th of 2013 I moved to Greencastle, Indiana to be with him. We became engaged in August of 2014 and on March 10th of 2015, the love of my life became my husband. Being married for a year and almost four months, we haven't really changed much except being older and maybe a little jaded where Nathan is the brain and I am the heart.
|Our wedding day at the courthouse|
My romantic life may not be satin sheets, champagne and roses and all the fairy tale fantasy I read in my books or write about in my stories and poems but we have trust, honesty, love and the glue, the foundation of this relationship started thanks to Heart. A mutual respect of Ann and Nancy Wilson's talents have brought us to a Heart concert every year since I moved in with Nathan so when we go to our fourth show on July 17th, it will be my second meet and greet/ VIP experience and my husband's first. I am glad I could make this happen for him because for a man who has been through so much with me and has put up with so much from me, Nathan deserves this and I am so glad I deserve a man like him to try and keep me grounded.
|The love of my life...two halves of a whole...|
I am lucky to have family and friends and such a positive influence in my life because I think without any of these things, I may not even be here today. Almost all my life I think I have been bipolar or manic depressive if you prefer but wasn't diagnosed as such until I was a sophomore in high school. I think my mother started to worry about me because she and my dad had seen my constant teasing and shunning and need to belong but didn't think it was worth me dying to do so.
Columbine happened and my mother knowing the person I am knew I wouldn't take my rage out on my classmates but out on my self with the low esteem I had even questioning my own sexuality because boys didn't like me as more than a friend or I felt so unattractive that I couldn't see why such a nice person couldn't be liked and had to be constantly ridiculed. Since I was seven or eight, I have been tormented, pushed, tripped, barked at like a dog, oinked at like a pig and my god so much worse...
I'd come home some days from the school bus stop with spitwads all over my back, gum matted so cruelly in my hair that I had to have it cut out and then adopted short hair for the rest of my school going days to keep from being bald, having to walk in the rain or the snow because the other kids chanted "Make Courtney walk!" so I the bus driver wouldn't have to go down my street at all (one day this was done to me in high heeled Mary Janes because I decided to dress up for Valentine's Day at school but yet received no Valentines except from my parents.) I once had a plastic container of peaches in that heavy syrup thrown at me where it got all over my mother's Old Navy shirt I decided to wear that day and since she couldn't come get me I had to suffer all day as a sticky mess, sniggered at behind hands of every person who witnessed it.
A boy I had a crush on decided that the letter I mailed to his house would be fun to read out loud and even my apology letter for embarrassing him was laughed at...and by a teacher no less! The worst thing was receiving a letter in Geometry class saying that I was an ugly hunchbacked mistake that my parents should have left on the side of the road and how they must have been embarrassed to have such disappointment for a child. That one always hurt me the most and still does linger in my brain from time to time especially when I read or see stories of young girls cyber-bullied to the point that they kill themselves because you know I believed that stuff when I was younger. I know now that I wasn't a mistake but that doesn't mean I don't feel like a disappointment for the way I use to act especially around the time when my father was sick and dying.
Graduation from high school is when you are supposed to be celebrating a new chapter in life but mine was relief of finally getting away from people who tormented me for almost half of my existence. I didn't even really get to celebrate that aspect because my father was stricken with Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma and a former shadow of my handsome, artistic and healthy daddy that I was having a hard time dealing with his death. He got to see me walk forward to get my diploma but then being so sick he had to go home. When I should have been planning my graduation party, we were planning my father's funeral and I had to be strong for my mom to make up for being such a brat and not saying good-bye to a man who did a lot for me.
I think I'm a lot like my daddy in that way that I know when emotions can't be expressed but it doesn't mean you don't have them...you just show them in other ways. My father stood up for me when people bullied me and it didn't embarrass me to have him come to school or step on that bus with his cane because he was so sick he needed it to help him walk...it made me proud and when he could still put the fear of God in you being in the pain he was suffering it showed me why I could never truly kill myself: I had too much pride and strength in my roots to be such a coward and even though I was extremely bratty...I wasn't selfish enough to cause pain to those I love.
Maybe I threaten to kill myself to get attention I can hear someone say and perhaps it is true on a certain psychological level but then again I don't have a degree in Psychology. You know it would be sad if that is the only way someone can get attention and if they do it's too late...you missed your chance to help them. Back when I was younger that was how I felt that if I killed myself it would be the only way that people would finally notice me in a way that wasn't out of hate or to be the punchline of some cosmic joke. My parents didn't own guns so that avenue never would have been an option but you don't know how many times I contemplated ways to do it...options that still have a tendency to creep up in the back of my mind when ever I am hitting a low point in my life. I watch horror movies and blood sometimes twists my stomach or a passage in a horror novel will make my skin crawl so the thought of a razor blade piercing my skin makes me want to faint even as I type this so that was never an option.
Where I lived in my teen years, we had a detached garage and the thought of going in there and starting my mother's car or my daddy's truck with the door shut always had an appeal but we had neighbors who were really good friends of ours and I also knew that in such a rural area that was mostly quiet, I'd get too much attention so I scraped that. The last option that I was also very close to actually doing was overdosing on any kind of pill or medicine I could find or maybe some dishwashing liquid or drain cleaner. That Valentine's Day I mentioned in 1996? That was the day I almost did it.
Walking that icy, snowy hill upwards toward my house, I was in tears and angry at the world that I had no friends and so much hate directed toward me for what I can only determine now as either jealousy or just stupidity. My parents were gone so I unplugged every phone in the house and was determined to find something to take that would just end my miserable life. I was planning to do it in the bathroom me and my mother shared because it had a tub/shower enclosure so my parents couldn't find me easily as I was going to turn the shower head on...scalding hot water at first that would probably be ice cold when they realized my shower was taking a little too long. What stopped me that day you ask? Why is it I am still here to tell this to you? In order to get to the bathroom I had to pass my bedroom door across the hall and on a day when no one had given me some cheap little Valentine with a cheesy pun, I saw the gifts my parents had gotten me: a small heart-shaped box of chocolates, a red and white stuffed hippo and a red lace and silk nightgown.
I think I was stunned because they weren't home but these gifts were here and then of course I cried because the two people who mattered who did care loved me. I looked up and saw my Heart poster on the wall and had another sobering thought: what would I be doing nothing but hurting my parents and shaming the only people that had always been there? I did not know any of the band personally, had never met them because I was too young and realized if I did this I might never get to meet them. One day I could have a chance to say that their music saved me and their influence made me want to be the kind of women Ann and Nancy were, to try and pursue a talent like Howard, Mark and Denny had for the guitar or bass or drums.
Slowly, I turned around and proceeded to plug in every phone line, go to the bathroom to turn out the light and then kick a hole in the wall beside it. All I did was go to my room, put on the nightgown that my mother had clearly given me, put on the head phones of my Walkman with the Brigade album on cassette. I climbed onto my water bed, turned on my lamp, ate my chocolates and hugged that hippo as I stared up at the ceiling with tears streaming down my face.
I don't want sympathy, I don't want pity...I just want people to understand. If you stayed to read this, I do appreciate it. I needed to get this off my chest, I need to cleanse the negativity I have in my soul because some people never got to hear the things I felt. People who know me now need to understand why I am the way I am...why I take things so seriously and feel things so passionately, why I sometimes go a little crazy with my crying or why I can be the bitch I sometimes can...my facets are complex. I have lost so much and gained a lot of negativity and positive feelings for me are rare these days.
The world doesn't help with the way it is but I want a light to come out of this darkness we all seem to be feeling lately. Don't take your life for granted, don't take someone else's life for granted either you could be destroying someone the same way I was almost destroyed. The things and people you love and enjoy fuck it if others can't see the happiness they bring you whether you love a man or a woman, love Lady Gaga or Beyoncé , like cheesy sci-fi films or horror as long as you keep it in a positive place.
I am not about to say that I am the number one Heart fan in the entire world or even on the planet Earth but if you ask anyone who knows me they will pretty much tell you that you will find no bigger Heart fan than me. Yes, I guess you could say I am fanatical about Heart but if you look up the word in a thesaurus and had to say I was addicted or obsessive you make me sound like I am some stalker. Now if you said I was passionate about Heart or devoted to Heart then I would find it more accurate and believe me, I would approve the term. So if that fact bothers you or makes you wary of my sanity, I'm sorry if the truth of a little girl never giving up on her heroes even now bothers you.
I hope some day my children can find this on the Internet and be proud of me for being so blunt and truthful about the way I feel. Maybe our world will be better by then and I can see it for myself. As for now, I hope I made others feel proud and not ashamed to speak up. What you do matters and does affect those around you and if you have to be cruel to be kind, let it not be with words or actions. If you have lost someone in your life, whether it be a wife or friend or parent or even a childhood idol, it is not the end. There is still someone who loves you and music of course can help with the healing.
I don't know what lies in store for my blog in the future but at least I know a part of me feels healed and the future can only be half full or half empty...what ever the world wants to make it.
Dedicated in loving memory to my father William Leroy Lones (12/28/1943-06/05/2001) and my best friend Amy Elizabeth Cecil Miller (06/20/1983-03/31/2016)
Courtney Yvette Lones Gruenholz