Link to more stories about this song: THE UNKNOWN
My post title is a line of lyrics from my song “The Unknown.” My song changed the direction of my life because it led me to divorce my husband after 31 years of marriage.
My lyric line of: “It Feels So Wrong” relates to how empty my marriage was. It felt wrong to be married to someone whom I didn’t want to spend any time with.
But my title also carries another meaning for me; it relates to how vulnerable and open I’ve felt regarding my failed marriage. I’ve shared a great deal of personal information. I’ve wondered; is that wrong? I’ve decided it isn’t. In the past, I’ve anguished about sharing my feelings because I felt guilty. But writing honestly on my blog has been very healing and freeing. I see great value in inspiring others to face the unknown.
I have struggled with many emotions related to the death of my marriage. And it has been very much like a death. One day, I was married to someone for decades. He watched me grow up from the time I was 18 until the age of 53. But when I uttered the words, “I want a divorce,” he exited my life. I had waited a year to find my courage and was relieved that I finally had been able to say those words. He was left coping with his shock, wondering what happened to the woman he was married to.
Because my husband is still alive, I feel his pain and sometimes I’ll imagine stories about what he thinks of me. Those thoughts are not helpful for me. I prefer to remember instead how we both lived as strangers for many years, and hope that we both heal and move forward in our new lives.
Something died between us and it happened a long time ago.
A failed marriage is not about one person being at fault. I’m more than willing to take responsibility for my shortcomings. For years I knew that my marriage required more commitment and energy from me. I had plenty of reasons for not making the time.
I certainly could have continued living with a marriage lacking both affection and connection. I did it for decades without any expectation that it would change. I wasn’t affectionate towards my husband because I carried a lot of resentment. Therefore, there was no way that I could insist that he change into someone affectionate. Those feelings inspired me to write these lyrics of: “You might not miss me, because you never kiss me.”
One of my favorite lyric lines that is from another song of mine named “Clear” is:
“It’s never too late to turn your life around, no reason to wait!”
I realize that change (such as turning your life around) is something most humans avoid. Unfortunately, the price for staying miserable is very high. We tell ourselves that familiar misery is acceptable because the unknown might be worse.
The unknown is scary and unpredictable.
From the moment I was ready to face the unknown, I was determined to change that mindset.
I view the unknown as exciting and beautiful!
Below is a continuation of my dialog with Peaches Chrenko (my former voice teacher), while I was composing my song “The Unknown.” I’ve highlighted lyric words with blue.
JUDY & PEACHES LESSON #3
Clicking the blue link below plays audio:
Clip #3 – Judy & Peaches discuss “The Unknown”
J: “Set You Free” is a perfect way to end my book. “Set You Free” ends it with how I’m setting my grief free and I’m setting myself free. That continues with this! It’s a musical of my life and God only knows where it’s going. I’m ready to face the unknown!
P: Judy, I know you are. That’s why it means so much hearing that. And people are so going to relate to that.
J: How many people have the courage? It’s familiar . . .
P: That statement is huge. It’s easier to cling to what you have – it’s not easy to stay in one place, but it’s easier than doing this.
J: I know it is. To reach that point to actually say it! You’ve been there. I’ve never been there – I’ve been married for 30 years with the same person. I’ve never been with anybody else. I’m willing to face the unknown!
P: That’s heavy. I’ve got to tell you – this verse was a killer. These words are so fresh!
The way you sang, “This feels so wrong,” “alert you” and “hurt you.” “Stun” is not a word you hear used in songs, but it should be! There are so many aspects of these kinds of things in relationships that do stun you. I liked the way that worked here: “My words will stun you, ‘cause I’ve begun to leave you behind, I escape in my mind.”
J: What about, “You won’t miss me, you never kiss me?” And the one that really gets me is, “I cry inside where you can’t hear me.” Is that not true? It’s about when you’re crying inside.
P: It just makes you sadder!
J: You’re stuffing it – you’re holding it in.
P: Yeah, you can’t even share – it’s like ultra-alone, so much more alone. To not even share the fact that you feel so alone! I’m laughing, but it’s not funny – it’s horrific, and just so well stated.
J: It’s so hard to rhyme and still show the feelings.
P: Isn’t that such a cool challenge? When you get it, isn’t that the sweetest thing?
J: I love it! Because I put here originally, “Avoid your mood” and then I went to “avoid your direction.” But then I changed it to “Dislike your mood, avoid your direction – there’s no connection.” Then I discovered “affection.”
J: The rhyme with “affection” really summed it up for me – much more than “direction.” So “there no connection without affection.” That’s what it’s all about!
P: Judy, it’s just amazing. This song is amazing and when you put it with everything else . . .
J: You like this one? It’s a true story!
P: These are not just songs. You ever watch Rod Serling’s Night Gallery?
J: Yes! (Intense laughter) Why, is this a horror?
P: It’s like these songs come to life. It makes me think of paintings that came to life in that show. These are not just songs, just like those were not just paintings.
J: I mean if I put this out there, it’s like it is alive. My husband is always going to know that I wrote a song without telling him. How do I live with that? He’ll say, “Why didn’t you tell me? Why did you write a song and put it out there and not tell me?”
P: What do you think would happen if you told him?
J: I’m facing the unknown; I don’t know. What I’m doing is I’m healing myself.
P: Are you considering telling him? And that’s not a suggestion . . .
J: Not yet. The time is not good. But it’s very hard to contain. So since I can’t contain it, what better way is there for me to channel the feelings? It’s all very clear, and you know clarity is beautiful. I’ll always have it.
P: And it won’t always sting like this.
J: In the musical of my life, it’s just like Jason’s death. When I sang “Saying Goodbye” – you know how we talked about those songs? They’re very painful and they express it and then I can look back later without pain. But still, this is pretty tough.
P: It’s amazing. It is so beautiful. I love using the word “unknown” in a song.
J: Okay, good. Because I always think of the song I used to love from “Fame. “Out Here On My Own” – do you remember that song? (Judy demonstrates)
P: Oh yeah.
J: I was thinking of “Out Here On My Own” and I didn’t want to do that. I kept thinking I’m going to “go out on my own” – but I like this “unknown” better.
P: Yes, this is so fresh – this is you. Congratulations, Judy – you birthed another one.
J: Thanks, Peach. I couldn’t wait to share it with you. You know what’s funny? Like I said, I did it this morning and I typed it up so I’d remember it, but it’s very slow. It reveals itself one word at a time.
You cannot rush it. It speaks when it’s ready.
JUDY & PEACHES LESSON #4
Clicking the blue link below plays audio:
Clip #4 – Judy & Peaches discuss “The Unknown”
Judy strums the ending chord to “The Unknown.”
J: I love that chord at the end. I don’t know about the rhymes “crave” and “brave” – they’re new. I just wrote that this morning. “You’re caught off-guard; this is so hard. The touch that I crave has made me so brave.”
P: Oh, wow! I like “brood and mood.”
J: Well, that is so true.
P: I can tell! It’s not something you just pull out of a hat.
J: And the thing is, that it’s not a surprise to people hearing the song, but it would be a surprise to my husband. Oh God, I’m just hoping he’ll think it’s not about him someday. I don’t know – I don’t know what I’m going to do. It’s too mean. I’m not a mean person, and I’m trying to write this in a sensitive way.
P: Well of course you’re not.
J: Even adding the line, “That’s when I stopped loving you,” is pretty tough. I don’t know if I can even sing that. It’s so honest. When I put in the word “brave,” it pretty much covered all the feelings I needed to cover. I think it’s done.
P: Oh, I thought about this last week when you played it for me, “I run from you.”
J: That could be a song title.
(Then Judy starts laughing)
J: “I run from you!” It sounds like I have to go to the bathroom!
P: I mean it’s not funny, but most of the songs say, “I run to you.”
J: (Judy sings) “Run to me whenever you’re lonely . . .” That was the Bee Gees!
P: And then Whitney Houston from the movie “The Bodyguard.” (Peaches sings) “I want to run to you . . .”
J: Oh, yeah!
P: All those songs, and I also have a song called, “I Run To You.”
J: So, I’m the opposite.
P: Yeah, it’s not funny . . .
J: It is funny! By the way, I was in such a rush typing this before coming here. Remember I had, “my heart felt so cold?” It was too many syllables. I did change that.
P: Yes, you said you were going to work that out.
J: And it came out better that way. Actually, you don’t need to explain when your heart went cold. You can just feel cold, and that’s when you withdrew. “Your heart is like stone” is such a mean statement. I could rewrite it, “My heart feels like stone – you’re so alone!”
P: There’s just nothing about this that he’s going to feel good about. If it’s about him, he’s still going to feel like he’s the cause of that. You know what I mean? Either way, it just sucks. There’s no pleasant, sweet way to say, “I don’t want to be with you anymore.” The words are the words – the reality is the reality.
J: I thought about the fact that he would tell me not to ever share this song. But how much do I owe him for so much of my life? The other side is, I don’t think it would bother him if the song made millions of dollars – it’s such a good song.
P: Judy, do you hear yourself? Do you hear what you’re saying? What does that say?
J: That tells me something – that if this song were a real moneymaker he would be happy. I really think so. Isn’t that sad?
P: Yeah! It’s really sad! Then you owe it to him to write the best friggin’ song ever. You need to not hold back!
J: Maybe that’s why I’m doing it. I can’t let out the stops – it’s just all coming out.
Clicking the blue link below plays audio:
JUDY SPEAKING ABOUT “THE UNKNOWN” AT AN OUTDOOR PERFORMANCE
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