Confession #213: Please stop calling it vanilla pudding

[CW: descriptions of sex, sexual assault]

The first (decent) song I wrote: Fear Into Faith.

It’s mostly about a classmate I dated when I was young, who is fortuitously the only one in my entire dating career thus far to get a nickname like “Asshole Boyfriend”.

Like all my songs, it is made up of snapshots from different areas of life. Most of the lyrics were written after we broke up, but I remember scrawling the chorus (“Your words were like an imprint on a page…”) in my new blue ruled notebook of Grade Eight, literally inspired by pencil imprints, making it the oldest song on the album.

I also experienced my first love that year — he was an awkward Norwegian athlete and a sweetheart, and we laughed and fooled around and it was glorious. I’m pretty sure I dumped him because Asshole Boyfriend was “cooler”.

If it wasn’t the braces, freckles, baggy shorts, or my first exposure to the raunchy shock of hip-hop that wooed me, it must’ve been the ever-present cocky smirk of the class clown.

Asshole Boyfriend moved quickly on the physical side.
I vividly recall his words: “Wow, I figured you’d laugh, but I didn’t think you’d giggle all the way home”.

Such a prescient vision, this one had. I don’t remember how long it was until we had sex, but I know it was on my basement couch, and I was so nervous but he clearly knew what he was doing.

Lucky me and my freeze response…

A.B.’s preferred form of birth control was pulling out and jacking off on my stomach and making some joke about it, usually related to vanilla pudding. Thanks for that lifetime association, dude. He’d then toss me some kind of box of tissues or towel from the bathroom, and wander off.

That’s the tissue reference in the lyrics.

aprilmcgowan.com

I also remember waking up one time, while sleeping over at his place after we were all drinking (this was luckily my one early foray into mind-altering substances… drinking Labatt’s with these ‘cool kids’ the summer before high school), to him attempting to have sex with me.

I found out later he was dating and sleeping with multiple girls, and I was the “least favorite” according to his brother (who seemed equally amused to be telling me this), so I immediately dumped him and decided that at thirteen I had zero feelings about this entire experience.

The most convenient narrative was that I’d found out what a boy who was a jerk looked like, and kept that definition in a box for many years.

Even as I was recording this song later, I was too focused to let myself think about what it actually referenced. It wasn’t until the aftermath of my psychotic break at 30 when I decided I should pay attention to the things I’d written so long ago 😏

Fear Into Faith
That sinking feeling of not knowing where to turn
The answers are between the lines of your desperation
That dream you had is a whisper of what we once here
The given truth is the harsh reality
Your threats were your tokens of love
Or so you said 
I’ve come so far you wouldn’t know me now
But I really don’t think you care
If I cried, you tossed me down a tissue, from your pedestal
“Oh lucky girl”, they’d say
Your words were like an imprint on a page
Leftover from the one before
You were the sad face in the window
As you pulled me in
Asking me questions and telling yourself lies
Will only drown the spark of imagination
Pretending you’re the fire will only douse the flame
Ignoring the walls that are crumbling down around you
If they only knew me
Too scared to stay, too alone to run
What was I supposed to do?
Hide in your shadow for the rest of my life
That didn’t sound very appealing to me
I was only your girl
When you were my god
Your words were like an imprint on a page
Leftover from the one before
You were the sad face in the window
As you pulled me in
Pulled me in once more
Too scared to stay, to alone to run 
Too scared to stay, to alone to run
What the hell was I supposed to do?

Luckily my dear friend Meagan knew what to do when we recorded this song, and the answer was create a beautiful flute part at the end. Forever a breathy, melodic balm on my soul… ❤