Over the past couple of weeks, before and after the last show, people have been sharing sentiments of gratitude for and saying farewell to BANE.
At each of the shows I attended on the last tour, I was able to enjoy them with a celebratory mindset and only shed a couple of tears throughout. Getting to the end of each show, having kept it together and not losing it completely, felt like a small victory…. like I was handling it “the right way” by having a smile on my face and focusing on my gratitude. For months, I thought about what I might say at the very end, and each time I come up short.
Honestly… I’m not ready. I haven’t fully processed what their absence could mean. I haven’t even partially processed their last show. I knew as soon as wheels were up and I was flying out of Boston back to Chicago – back to “reality” and back to work – I would need time to myself. Time to hibernate. Time to figure out and clean up all of my thoughts and emotions, sorting them into some logical, organized sequence without distraction or disruption. I haven’t accomplished that yet.
How I want to feel…
However, I have successfully hidden and hibernated from people over the last week. I have mindlessly liked every BANE picture and video that has come up on my social media feeds, but I can’t handle reading the thoughtful bits people have written about them. Clicking play on a video gives me serious anxiety, and I immediately shut it off.
Several times I attempted to reflect on the weekend and process everything that went on; all the friends, words, laughs, tears. I have tried to sit quietly with my thoughts and let them wash over me and feel whatever I was feeling. It ends up being too much so I find something to distract myself with. I haven’t really been able to even talk to anyone about last weekend when they ask how it went. I sometimes just say I’m not ready to talk about it yet. I’m sure it makes me sound like either the world’s biggest cry baby or a very unstable person – maybe both. Every attempt to process it feels like a struggle.
The people closest to me get that I need time and space. My main girl, Becca, sent me a text saying, “Hi boo, I know you probably don’t want to talk or anything yet but I just wanted to say hi and I love you. I hope this weekend was amazing for you!” (What a perfect friend I have!) Currently, I’m sitting in my yard trying to figure out what to say and how to say it. I want to put together some logical, orderly, yet entertaining piece for you to read, giving a summary of the shows and the feelings, and tie it all together with a fancy little bow. Except I keep having to stop and wipe away these tears that are falling against my will. I don’t want to cry about this. I want to be smiling instead. I just can’t. Not yet. I don’t know when.
How I actually feel...
Emotions can be bullshit like that. You have them no matter how much you try to shove them down or turn them into something else that is more comfortable and palatable for yourself and others. So as much as I want to be reflecting on the last show, on the last almost twenty years that they’ve been a huge part of my life, smiling about it, and celebrating it instead of pouting and sulking about it… I can’t. Because here’s the thing, I can’t control these emotions. They’re going to be there whether I want them to be or not, no matter how uncomfortable or inconvenient. If I have learned anything at all from BANE as a band, and as individuals, it is that there is no shame in expressing uncomfortable emotions.
So that’s that. I don’t have it in me to adequately summarize or articulate everything BANE has meant to me or bullet point all of the things I’ve learned from them. All I can do now is lean into the fear, discomfort, and the unknown of a present and future without BANE actively being a part of it. I will express these “bullshit” emotions however and whenever I’m ready. I will be vulnerable, as BANE has done for and with us since day one. Mostly, I will be forever grateful for every friend I have because of them, the lessons they’ve taught us, and the memories we’ve shared.
by Caitlin Lipinski (@caitxedge)