Hope everyone had a good weekend – I know I’m a day late on this one but hopefully it gave you a chance to listen to The Clearing while I put this together.
Today I’m gonna talk a bit about track 6: Little Fish.
About the Track
Little Fish was the third track featured on my 3-song EP “A Quiet Place To Scream” and I really hesitated with including it on this record. It was a bit of an outlier on that EP and it feels a bit even more like one here on The Clearing, production wise.
Lyrically and stylistically it’s a darker track than the others but it’s also really important to the overall story that makes up The Clearing.
As I’ve mentioned before I quit drinking at just about the exact same time that I began writing the songs that appear on this record and as a result a lot of the songs weave in and out of my thought process during the initial stages and trying to stay away from it. Which for me meant spending a lot of time thinking about how I’ve personally been affected by alcohol, both as a consumer and as a witness to others – Little Fish here is more of the latter.
I’ve rarely in my life been around people that don’t drink alcohol which means I’ve seen about every breed of drunk in some capacity or another and sometimes it’s outright sad to watch someone who’s not in control of themselves when they’re indulging. I’d say that it calls to question what drives so many of us to do it in the first place but I think we all have our own reasons and that most would agree it’s not really up to anyone to decide for someone else if it’s right or wrong – unless, of course, it’s in some way putting someone else’s life in danger.
My own position of this of course waivers given my own experience. At what point do you get to decide when someone’s addiction is severe enough to the point of it being merited to call into question? And I don’t mean taking someone’s keys from them at the bar after you watched them rail back twelve shots of Jack Daniels in a single sitting.
I’ve said before I spent a lot of my 20’s in the “trying to quit” stage, where I’d take long breaks for various reasons and the funny thing I noticed about being in those stages is that your friends and family become one of two types of people. The first type doesn’t say much about it, quietly muttering to themselves that it wont last and they’ll wait for you to get back on the beer barrel – the second type seems to approach it with an usual self righteousness that always seems completely misplaced. They’re the ones that, during your moments of sobriety, find it to be the right time to talk to you about things you’ve done years prior that maybe were a little concerning and lacking clear judgement (from the drink, maybe?). In either situation I found myself confused.
For the first grouping, it’s bizarre because they show a total lack of support which I’d argue any addict no matter what they’re driven towards needs more than ever in those initial moments. For the second, it feels like you’ve mopped yourself into a corner and now they’ve come barging through the door throwing buckets of mud all over the room you’ve just spent hours cleaning. Again, not super supportive and tends to make a person like me question their motives. Who are you trying to make feel better, here? It’s the “told ya so!” of addiction except it’s like three years too late, so it’s confusing at best.
I’ll give an example of what I’m talking about just for utmost clarity.
Less than a year before I made the decision to leave my husband, I was doing really well on the no-drinking front. I was busy working, taking care of Dakota, and in my spare time running, thinking I’d try my hand at a full-marathon soon despite telling myself after completing a half that I’d never care to run that long in a single session. When I did have a drink or two (and truly, a drink or two, tops), I was drinking Sleeman Clear’s which, if you’re unfamiliar, are basically water.
I was on a Keto diet at the time which meant keeping carbs to a minimum which made it easier than you’d think to stay away from alcohol of all types.
That summer my ex and I went up to my families cottage for just 1 weekend and my parents were up for the same.
It’s pretty common to start drinking a little earlier at the cottage if you’re from around here; After all, you’re not going anywhere other than to the dock and back up to the cottage. Back in my early 20’s it was pretty ridiculous how many cases of beer my friends and I could go through in a weekend but those days are well behind me.
That said, my ex was still a drinker and I treated this get away as anyone would treat a vacation, so when I’d be brought a Sleeman Clear at noon, and then again at 1, and then again at 3, I’d accept them.
I’d even help myself to a treat of a Coors Light at 5PM (5g carbs, 1/4th of my daily limit then). All the while remaining pretty ridiculously in control of myself given the low content of alcohol I was actually taking it despite what it starts to look like it’s piling up to. Sleeman Clears are incredibly hydrating.
If this sounds pre-emptively defensive it’s because it is. I’d later go up to the cottage for a single night with my dad who, at a time when I was completely off the drink, used the opportunity to cite that specific weekend of Sleeman Clears-binging to say he was worried about how much I’d been drinking.
Confusing to me, again, given how well I’d actually been doing in reality.
And so the conversation ends with me feeling like my family has no idea who I am or what I do and despite what I tell them, they’ll always have their own perceived perception of what I’m like and what or how much I drink. Which is even more confusing when all of them are regular drinkers to the point of calling it into question, if I were so self-righteous.
And so this brings me in a round-about way to what I’m talking about in Little Fish.
I’m talking about people who are addicted to alcohol and having trouble quitting. I’m talking about people who hide alcohol (in the garage, in their room, in the basement – choose your location, here), because they’d rather drink alone in silence than have their actions judged by people who are supposed to care about them.
I’m talking about people who are struggling to come to terms with their own addiction and being one of those people watching them slowly decay as a result of it.
I’m of the belief that everyone who is struggling with addiction is well aware of it and they don’t need to be reminded of it at every turn – I fail to see how it’s in any way helpful because in my own experience, the frustration that comes with people calling your behaviour into question is enough to drive you to – well, you know.
It’s great to want to support someone with an addiction in some way, to see them come out of whatever hole you perceive them to be in, but at the end of the day they have to reach their own realization about the type of person and life they want to live.
To that same point, if you’re someone in recovery I think it’s equally important to recognize that only you know who you are, what you do, and the strides you’ve really made – and it’s going to be real important that you remember that every time someone else wants to put them self on a step ladder at the expense of your past.
You can’t help but give up your cards
Found your stash, full pack, at the back of the garage
It was hidden in plain sight waiting to get caught
You want the truth to set you free
But you love that hollow feeling
Stupid little fish
Haven’t learned yet how to use those fins
Low supply, no oxygen, no survival instinct
You’re gonna die if you don’t swim
Sanctimonious without the faith
Using holy water to cool down in this heat
Publically while the neighbours watch, captivated audience
A proud boy pissing in the garden
A daughter saw and it’s been called in
Strong current, dead fin
A gang of barracuda circle in
A Little More
Little Fish went through a few different style/genre-changes when I first put it together. It was a way different track in its first demo, but once I fell into that lead guitar line you hear through the chorus, it took on a more-bluesy-style that I thought suited it nicely and acted as a nice counter otherwise to the dark vocal style I’d paired it with. I’d otherwise also tried to make it a little more punk-rock, but I’d already written “Pressure Cooker” and wanted to show that I could dabble in other genres while having it still make some sense within the context of the EP. Lyrically it’s one of my favourites – I love the religious metaphor back-to-back with a visual of a alt-right Proud boy, wasted and pissing in the neighbours garden, completely oblivious that he’s being watched.
Come back tomorrow for my breakdown of track 7: Lie To Me (formerly 45).