By Terry Radigan with Natalie Barratt
A few months after my breakup, I decided to get back into the swing of regular writing sessions. I had no desire to write another introspective song about my breakup; I wanted to write something fun. I was working with my co-writer and one of my favorite musicians, Joshua Camp. We started playing some gypsy chords and the lyrics spilled out. The entire time I was writing, I thought I was writing about a fictional woman. I did what a songwriter does -- I made it up.
It wasn't until I was getting ready to record the vocal and really digging into the lyrics to find the voice of this "fictional" character that I realized I didn't have to dig too far. My post-divorce spin-out was not quite as saucy as the woman portrayed in the song, but I was no longer the picture of stability I had been for much of my life.
I had always been a very disciplined person. You don't become a successful songwriter without learning to work despite rejection, emotion, or a lack of inspiration. You put your head down and work no matter what's going on in your life.
The truth was, after my split, I had no desire to put my head down and work. And if I wasn't working I was left to wonder who I was now I'm not writing songs, not down in the studio working, not performing live and no longer married.
The woman portrayed in "Siamese Twin" was my indication that I had still not really admitted that this divorce had changed me and it was a profound loss in my life. I couldn't just say, "Well, that happened" and pick up where I left off.
"She won't go to bed when I am tired
Downs a bottle of red and is a liar
When she lights a match I blow it out
She is the cat & I am the mouse
And all night long
I'm left to right her wrongs..."
I wasn't going to bed when I was tired because I knew that's when my mind would be quiet enough to take in where my life was and I just didn't have the heart for it.
I went from someone who never drank to someone who now enjoyed a glass of red wine because I liked it, right? Or maybe it was because I was anxious and wanted to blur my reality a bit.
I pretended I wasn't sad. I wasn't grieving. I wasn't alone.
But Lord help me, I was so alone that I couldn't even keep myself company any more.
I was now negotiating the world as a single or divorced woman. I couldn't figure out which was the best way to describe myself. The first time that I had to utter the word "divorced", I felt an incredible sense of shame and failure that truly shocked me. I went into my marriage as a young woman of 20-something and left a mature woman of 40-something. I assumed I'd pick up right where I left off. A strong independent woman who was just fine on my own, thank you very much.
Except I wasn't fine.
I had to reconcile these two people. The girl I was and the woman I had become. Once I had done that, the road ahead was long, but clear.