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Objects In The Rearview Mirror

May Appear Closer Than They Are

By Josey PickeringPublished 4 months ago Updated 4 months ago 9 min read
Top Story - May 2023
Objects In The Rearview Mirror
Photo by averie woodard on Unsplash

I spent a lot of my formative years on the road. My father was in the military and when we were stationed all around the country (after I spent my early childhood in Japan). Going from place to place in our minivan was always the solution. We drove from Virginia to California with a pitstop in Washington to visit family on the way down. We drove up and down each coast and the one the that always remained the same was music. Music on the radio, music in my earphones from my bright yellow walkman and later on, my portable CD player. So many songs not only were the guidemaps to my childhood, and I can remember the places we were when I really felt them for the first time.

Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are by Meatloaf is one of the first songs I ever heard on CD. I'm autistic, so I really feel the music I am listening to by rocking, moving my arms and so forth. Meatloaf had me feeling things at an early stage, and I learned what longing was through so many of his songs. The song came out just before we moved to California, and I didn't know that moving to California would bring me to love, heartbreak, lust and loss, just like a Meatloaf song. I didn't realize that moving across the country would be both a nightmare and a dream. I'd lose more people than I would hang on to... I'd watch them fade into the distance in the rearview mirrow on the highway of life.

San Andreas Fault by Natalie Merchant I had so many misconceptions about moving to Los Angeles. I thought you'd see celebrities walking the streets and signing autographs. I thought if you wanted to be famous, it was an easy road to walk on. I didn't realized how many heartbroken people lived in Los Angeles, who gave up on their own dreams for something more realistic. I never saw celebrities just walking down the streets, and my own aspirations got pushed aside when I was diagnosed autistic and deemed too strange to accomodate. I built many dreams just to tear them down.

Say You'll Be There by the Spice Girls I had a hard time making friends. I thought moving to California would maybe help me meet new people, but I was heavily bullied no matter what school I went to. I desperately clung to friends I had, hoping they'd promise to be there for me. I found solace in the Spice Girls and through them, found a bunch of misfits who I befriended who helped me through high school, including...

Sara by Fleetwood Mac There was no one like Sara, and there never will be. She taught me more than she'll ever know. The lyrics to this day always hit me, wait a minute baby...stay with me a while. Said you'd give me light, but you never told me 'bout the fire. Just out of High School, Sara went missing. I felt like I was burning alive just hearing she was never coming home when they found her body. She will always be the poet in my heart.

Black by Pearl Jam Sara's death launched me into a sorrow that still has rotten roots embedded in my heart. It still hurts, it's still fresh even though it's been almost two decades since she died. I fondly remember every moment spent with her and all the moments I wish I had sting like nettles. She became the brightest star in everyone else's sky...not just mine anymore. I hoped and prayed she'd have a beautiful life, only to know it was cut short with no real answers.

Living Dead Girl by Rob Zombie There was a darker side of me, that became fixated on death and the macabre to fit what I was feeling inside. I was losing loved ones left and right and wanted to know what their was beyond. I felt like a zombie most of the time, just going about my previous motions and trying to survive the chaos. My older brother had introduced me to White Zombie when I was younger, but just after high school I really started my own fixation with Rob Zombie in general. Rob's music and films gave me solace when I felt like my own living dead girl.

Winter by Tori Amos I can remember exactly where I was when my mother called me to tell me my father died. I can still feel the phone in my hands and the breath catching in my throat. Thinking back on this haunting and heartbreaking memory always brings up one song...Winter by Tori Amos. I can remember winters on the east coast with him, my tiny mittens in his strong calloused hands. Snowflakes catching on his eyebrows and the chuckle he'd elicit when a bit of the little boy inside him filled with wonder again. There's a part that when Tori sings it, I like to imagine my father lip syncing the words with her...You say I wanted you to be proud, I always wanted that myself. When you gonna make up your mind?When you gonna love you as much as I do? There are days even now, where I feel trapped in a snowstorm of emotions, wondering if my Dad has gone ahead with all the pretty horses.

Oh Star by Paramore I met Crystal when my world was turned upside down chaotic again. My table was filled with many plates, grief, anger, self loathing...all heavy and burdensome. It wasn't easy to come into a life so tragic, and filled with storms and yet she did, and still remains. Like a bright star, shining alone in the darkest sky, she guided me to a new home and a safer start. She will never fade away to me, only continue to illuminate my life.

Almost Lover by afinefrenzy/Alison Sudol I met my ex in high school, and married him before we could both even legally drink. I thought he was a prince charming of sorts, but if anything, he was the monster keeping me locked in the tower. He had a charisma about him at times that fooled many people, even myself. After being with him, even the ocean seemed like the culmination of all my tears, he ruined too many things I loved for far too long.

Home by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros After the on and off again of my young marriage, I left to build my own home. Alone, terrified, and trying to be strong for my two young children. We ended up all over the place, trying to stick together even when my ex tried to tear us apart. I realized that Home wasn't a place physically, but a place where I could be with my boys, safe and sound. A place where I could be proudly queer and not force myself to be anything I wasn't.

Boyfriend by Dove Cameron I didn't want to be in a relationship anytime soon after the chaos of my ex, but when I met my current wife and love of my life...she showed me that she could be a better boyfriend, partner, husband, etc, than any of my previous male partners combined. Over a decade later, she's still the, all her clothes do fit! She stepped up in countless ways to help me feel seen, heard and deeply loved. I am truly blessed. Even through some tough times, we've held on together.

Wildflowers by Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt & Emmylou Harris My dear friend Elanor always makes me think of the lyric "wildflowers don't care where they grow". Both of us had to define our own versions of home, planting little seeds of ourselves all over before ultimately taking root where we are now. We surrounded ourselves with other wildflowers to make the most colorful and vibrant gardens. We grew against expectation, outside of the box and created our own wonderlands.

Sisters of the Moon by Fleetwood Mac My little coven of friends is often whispered about, stared at and spoken about behind our backs. Being group of individuals open about their sexuality, mental health and paganism often feels like being at the awful end of a witchhunt. People make a lot of assumptions about all of us in different and also shared ways. Together we are magic, and together we are the most powerful.

Oh No! by MARINA I look back on that little kid so blinded by Hollywood dreams and a movie star life that they found no appeal in real life. However, I realize now as an autistic person that movies and tv really did teach me how to feel. The vast experiences covered in fiction helped me process my own life and experiences. I became a robot version of myself to fit in and be "normal", when there was absolutely nothing wrong with that movie obsessed kid who could get into deep discussions about a characters mental health. A love of film and film discourse has only strengthened one of my deepest friendships with one of my best friends, Jessica. I appreciate the universe giving her to me, to remind me that loving films isn't a weakness.

Back to the Future by Bastille I feel like the universe is rewarding me time and time again by bringing things I love back to me. From favorite movie characters returning to the screen again after decades to new stories in favorite feels as though the things that comforted me once in my youth are coming full circle. I watched movies like Willow and Beetlejuice over and over again, only to be able to return to those universes now today with new stories. I'm an 80's baby, so the ressurection of the 80's and 90's in meda and style has been like a hug for my childhood self. Only now, there's finally the representation I so desperately needed. I am able to see younger people fall in love with characters I love for the first time, but also be able to properly see themselves in those fictional universes. I am an adult now, but the inner child in me is finally seen.


About the Creator

Josey Pickering

Autistic, non-binary, queer horror nerd with a lot to say.

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Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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Comments (2)

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  • Mike Singleton - Mikeydred4 months ago

    Excellent post and deserved Top Story.. We have featured it in our Community Adventure in the Facebook Group Vocal Social Society and would love for you to join us there

  • Jackie Teeple4 months ago

    An incredible playlist for an incredible and complex life

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