10 things I usually keep hidden in my suitcase…

Ben CloseI have decided to become more honest! Not that I run around and lie all the time… but there are definitely those things I keep hidden in my suitcase as I travel throughout the world, a suitcase you won’t even know is there.


I don’t know.

And I do know.

I don’t know as in: there is this nagging feeling deep inside, edging me on, asking me to just spill it out. I don’t know what that is.

I do know, because I think this world would simply be better and easier to handle if everybody knew that everybody else are carrying strange things around in their invisible suitcase, and most people feel therefore they will be looked upon as strange if they brought it up. So in most instances, they don’t. When I was working on my new album” America” I came upon this feeling, and this sentence developed in my head: “Just because it’s hidden in the dark, doesn’t mean it’s not there…” And that became sort of an undercurrent theme on the record. I don’t know if it can be felt or heard, but I fell back on that thought over and over, as I sorted through old songs, new songs, forgotten songs, other peoples songs…

Therefore, I decided, almost on a whim, that I want to do something about that suitcase. And something tells me that this suitcase will somehow become lighter. In comparison, maybe I won’t notice it at all…Or maybe it will, so I lift a glass for risk taking, and jump:

1) I grew up in the Unification Church, often referred to as “the Moonies”. I was 8 when my parents joined this rather odd group of people. I was happy. My parents changed for better. They have continued to change for better. But it wasn’t always visible to me. Sometime after my first marriage at 22 and 30 I drifted away from it, and wanted less and less to do with this church. It’s a built in “submission” system that was more present back then, not so much now I believe, that made me feel like a prisoner. Also, the emphasis on “marriage”, or rather how marriage is unbreakable no matter what, and how it can develop into a cell you can’t escape from. It became an unbearable burden, as my marriage sank into a bottomless pit, beyond any hope of saving. To tell you this might not be the smartest career move, but there you have it.

2) I wrote my first song when I was eleven. I was high for a week. I have never taken drugs, but the “high” I experienced there made me an addict. And possibly kept me away from drugs… like “I don’t need it, I just need another song…”. This particular song was about sin, damnation, redemption and savior. Something an 80 year old would have written maybe, seeing the end of his life approaching. I always felt so oddly old. Like an old soul had taken a young body, like I didn’t belong, born at the wrong time. And I do not believe in reincarnation. That is not where this is heading, don’t worry… But that is how I felt. So much so that I wouldn’t really fall in love with any girls my age. They were far too immature. It was strange, really strange…

3) When I was 5 years old, I was raped by an older boy. Scarred for life. Nothing more, nothing less. Rape amongst boys are very underreported, it’s just not meant to take place… I think you’re meant to be able to defend yourself and fight back, avoid it somehow. Not be frightened, belittled, small, weak and broken. Most boys will never talk about this. Me neither. How the world became a darker, more dangerous place than I could ever have imagined… how fear and therefore anger is still plaguing my mind. And as I write this, I sense that it is kind of the same… It doesn’t go away. The fear and the anger is there to stay. It’s just a life time of roundabouts, a life long building of muscles to keep it all at bay… Slowly let it go, let it sink beneath the waves, disappear among all the other things that fills every pixel in the picture that eventually sums up as our life. I have forgiven him. Because it’s good for me.

4) I really like people. It’s not the coolest thing to say. I grew up in a culture where it seemed like the end goal was not to care. Heavily present in the 90’s. But I cared a whole lot. Not in the cheap way, not in the “I have to prove to the world how much I care” kind of a way, but more like revisiting fond memories with people I loved in my mind. That secret place, where Disney movies aren’t cheesy, where country songs are not sappy, where chick flicks was the coolest action around. I admit it. That was/ is a hughe part of me. I wondered if I was gay at times because of it. Those sides of me was NEVER something other boys talked about. Not in the way I felt them. Of course Disney is distorted, country songs are designed and chick flicks exist to make your girl want to see more chick flicks. It never ends…But, damn so good it is to cry sometimes…:) (Just writing that sends me chills)(I hope you get them reading it).

5) I have always felt ugly. And I mean felt. I don’t see myself in a particular way, I don’t think…I have good sides, good days, worse days, terrible days. But there is a vanity there, and the conclusion is that I feel ugly. That overriding feeling is the reason I wrote a song called “The ugliest girl in the world”. Not that I think I am a girl, but more like… I can identify with that feeling. You must have seen Dustin Hoffmans interview where he talks about his role in Tootsie. If not, check it out. It will move you.

He points to something important, that I do think women are more forced to face: the tyranny of beauty. And the hopelessness in discovering that the world does not think of you as beautiful. And even worse, how that feeling festers, so much so that you don’t care what the world thinks about you, you start to really hate yourself, in that subtle, poisonous way. So we feel enslaved and we ensalve ourselves under that notion, brought upon us by a very very fake world og images of anything but people. Faces and butts and legs and hair that never existed. Never will exist. John Lennon was right: Women are the niggers of the world.

(Explanation if you need it comes with it, check out Yoko’s perc playing. Woth the watch….:)
And it’s true for many men as well.