Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Betrayal can land you in a dark place - as dark as they come. Just as easily, it can do the direct opposite. It can awaken you in such a way that - after the initial shock and the gut-wrenching absorption of it - you've never felt more invigorated to kick all of your bad habits, or all of the bad habits right out of your life.
Pretty women like Cheyenne Mize shouldn't ever have to put up with inadequate lovers or inadequate people who can't make up their minds about what they what to be for her, but everyone knows that shit happens and there's nothing much you can do to keep it off the radar. What tends to happen, in these cases, is that you wall yourself off for a while. You make yourself absolutely unavailable - mending your wounds and preparing to get back out into the fray whenever the time feels right. This, of course, is how it works when it stings you - when you can't help but be affected by it, when you've been able to see right through the eyes and the alibi of that little cheat and wondered how they got to you so good.
Mize sings about such a situation in "Call Me Beautiful," where she warns, "You call me beautiful/But you must have seen the light in someone else's eyes/But it wasn't me/Don't call me beautiful/You don't know how ugly I can be." We're not sure if she's been wronged and is definitely out the door, or if she's still holding it in, exacting her revenge and picking the ideal time and place to deliver the blow on the person who thinks that they've gotten away with it all. The eyes don't lie though. It's all in there. It's at a crossroads such as this one, where there's no hope for the cheater. He'll be doing a perp walk every day he continues to live the lie, even while being completely obvious about doing it. Mize will get him and it will be mass destruction, if she so chooses it to be.
Getting even might actually have a diminutive return. It might sound like a good idea, but once pulled off, the feeling just sits in your guts like some ugly, sloshing tar. You wish that you hadn't put it in there, but there's no way of undoing the thing now. It's here when you wander off. You become a temporary recluse, as Mize seems to suggest in the song, "Have You Seen?" She sings, "Have you seen the way we close our hearts?" with the answer likely never forthcoming, for most people never notice. They're just going to use the crowbars that they came with to get in to those hearts anyway.
*Essay originally published August, 2012
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