Not So Vain

9.7.2008

By Jake Shears

JS: I know myself what it's like to talk about something that you're sick of talking about, but you experience anxiety.
CS: It didn't usually happen when I was writing, but anxiety certainly kept me away from the stage. But when I had it, you know, in the middle of Saks Fifth Avenue or something and I had to sort of huddle in the corner, I was so scared.
JS: Don't you think that before we had antidepressants, creative people turned to hard drugs? To medicate these anxieties?
CS: Oh, definitely. And they were also more available to us because record company heads were anxious to give them to us in order that we'd like them better or that we'd get onstage. Now, I found that my anxiety turned to depression when I went through menopause, which happened with breast cancer. I didn't really know what depression was until then.
JS: What was it like dealing with that in a semipublic way?
CS: A friend of mine who had breast cancer told people it was uterine cancer because she didn't want people looking at her breasts trying to determine if it was the right or the left. And that's a consideration that I never'I mean, I didn't try to conceal the scar, ever. In fact, I'm kind of proud of it. At first I was hoping that I could get away with it being a lumpectomy, but that was just an initial reaction. It didn't take long until I thought, What the hell. I've got this disease; everybody's got something. I've had a lot of things. I've had serious anxiety, serious depression, breast cancer, I just had a hysterectomy this past year...I've also...oh, I can't remember if I've told this story to anybody, but --
JS: Tell me.
CS: I met a man -- he was an old friend; I'd known him a long, long time ago, I guess in the '70s. I met him in the Four Seasons, maybe 2' years ago. He said, 'Oh, hi, Carly, nice to see you, me darlin' ' -- he was a great Irishman -- 'you're as gentle as a butterfly on a rose,' or whatever, very poetic, and then right away he launched into 'Well, as you can see, I lost my teeth -- cancer. It ate up my shoulder, and I don't have an elbow, and I don't have a spleen anymore, and it got half of this lung, and here, I don't have anything here.' [Pointing to her crotch] And I loved him. And I thought, Now, here's someone I can really be attracted to. What does that mean? I don't know what that means. It's my yearning to love a damaged person. I mean, we're all kind of damaged and it's normal to be damaged, but some people don't like to admit it. It's amazing how many people don't like to admit what's wrong with them. Whether it's depression or having had cancer' And when I met that man, I thought, Here's somebody I could love.
JS: That's amazing. Sounds like a song.
CS: Yeah! And I think that may be as deep as the meaning goes, I'm not really sure. But I just know that what was left of him, which was personality and character and the look in his eyes, meant more to me than any intact body part, and it reminds me of something that somebody used to say to me who was in love with me a long time ago; he said, 'I would love you if you were a stump.'
JS: Sounds like a good lyric.
CS: I know, right?

This Kind of Love is available now.

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