I can’t really pinpoint when it was exactly that we technically finished Heaven - I know that we started it awhile ago and that up until January of 2021 it was still called “Stargazing” (just a random temporary name we came up with off the cuff) and then at some point we tried to call it “All Your Tragedies” which didn’t really stick. Eventually it became Heaven pretty much right before we wrapped up production and sent it out for mixing.
The uncertainty about timing, coupled with the fact that Heaven expresses a mentality I’ve held repeatedly for the sporadic majority of my adult life, makes it kind of hard to determine who or what I was even specifically thinking about when I wrote the lines that address an unnamed second-person party.
When I wrote Heaven (whenever that was) I really was pretty certain I never wanted to fall in love again, or maybe more-so thought I wasn’t capable of it. I was so proud of the aptitude I’d honed for being alone, in the joy and rhythm I had cultivated within my solitude. They seemed to me not only a unique accomplishment but a reliable and sturdy defense mechanism against the pain that I’d previously suffered from falling into a trapping cycle of codependency, resentment, and attachment anxiety.
I felt like I had cracked the code to dealing with such issues: I’d simply choose perpetual bachelordom and hope to someday end up in a particularly gender-inclusive spread covering which hot thirty-somethings Some Magazine considers to be the Most Eligible Bachelors in the New York Metro Area. It was just like that time I thought I’d found a secret hack to managing my chronic anxiety (meds) and instead wound up facing Jackass-Genie-style consequences for my naïve actions (a raging benzodiazepine addiction)—in both instances, my solution turned out to be a band-aid at best (the solitude) and at worst, a brand new nightmare of my own creation (the drug problem).
I always tell friends who are frustratedly looking for a romantic partner that it won’t happen for them until they give up—I mean like really, truly give up—that only then will they meet someone who slips naturally into that role. I don’t know if it’s a behavioral probability thing or an issue of mindset or some kind of whimsical reverse-law-of-attraction phenomenon but that’s just the way it seems to always go. So I guess I must have been quietly hoping for something like that without admitting it to anyone or even myself, for like a girlfriend-type of thing I guess. Or just someone who’s there all the time, both in my house and also figuratively speaking in some profound kind of sense.
I guess that’s what happened because eventually I did really truly give up on all of that and embrace solitude not in a romantic, brooding way but in a boring, practical one. Then and only then (as you may already know if you’ve read my other blog posts) did I very suddenly find love in a person who, on paper, looked nothing like how I would’ve expected them to look (based on the aforementioned girlfriend-type scenario I had tossed around in my imagination).
It’s funny to share Heaven with you now after all of that has happened. It feels a little insincere at times because now you guys see me post her face up there on my Instagram and what not and it all starts to feel like I’m publicly betraying the person who wrote honestly about never wanting to fall in love again, and perhaps even the people who were told similar sentiments (honestly, truly) by that person along the way (before The Unpredictable entered the picture, that is). I meant what I said then, and if anything there is a new layer of emotion behind Heaven when I perform it now—a fear that I’ve indulged too deeply in a fantasy that is now inextricable from reality, that I’m missing out on a higher level of self-actualization achievable only by the alone-and-lonely version of myself. Stuff like that, I dunno. All kinds of fear and stuff. To be honest, I'm starting to realize it's stuff I never would've had to examine or unpack or wrestle with if I'd kept intentionally avoiding intimacy. And on some days I begin to resent that because it was more simple then when I didn't have to look at that stuff in the eye.
On most days, though, I consider it to be the best thing that ever happened to me. The current girlfriend-type scenario, I mean. And really at the end of the day it doesn’t feel like I had much of a choice in the matter anyway, which eliminates some of that useless trauma response of intrusive second-guessing. Sometimes life hands you something so good that you’ve just got to see it through. Chances are that all that fear and stuff is mostly just fear that if you ever lose it now, you’ll be painfully aware of something you hadn't realized you'd been missing out on.