Sicksteen Candles Burning Down the House…

Can you remember who you were when you were sixteen?

Do you want to remember that version of yourself?

How much is your memory of the you of then coloured by who you are now, what you know now… about yourself, others, your life, the world?


change - einstein


It’s strange, isn’t it, the way we never leave our other selves behind… we carry them, those versions, phases, and stages of us, with us…

Sometimes they live within us very vividly…

Other times they fade away, only stirred by… a nostalgic something or other. A lighter shade of pale, painting it black, hotel California… or something like that.

A song which was popular then, maybe a favourite song we loved at that time, which meant something to us, when we hear it now it sometimes evokes who we were then… music stimulating past lives… but what is it that is stirred, what echoes and ghosts, what memory… is any of it real… anymore?

A song which was in the charts at the time of my bittersweet sixteen was:



If you love someone… set them free… that was the title and one of the lyrics which got me then. It was hopeful… of love meaning something other than bondage. Some of the other lyrics of that song hit closer to my home at that time.


“If it’s a mirror you want, just look into my eyes
Or a whipping boy, someone to despise
Or a prisoner in the dark
Tied up in chains you just can’t see
Or a beast in a gilded cage…”

  • Sting, If You Love Someone Set Them Free lyrics


Being sixteen was not at all sweet for me, in fact that age was… a time of such utter and total crazy changes that…none of them sweet…

I will never forget that time, that age, yet I don’t really want to remember it… I have tried to blank it out, forget I was ever sixteen and made the kind of decisions about my life which I made…

I was never ‘only sixteen’… when I was sixteen.

The decisions which I made then were ones which adults sometimes encourage sixteen year olds to make in these modern times… yet those adults also tell sixteen year olds that they aren’t old enough to make those kind of life decisions.

It’s an age when contradictions come into focus more than ever before in our lives…

Make the decision… but you can’t make that kind of decision! Do it but don’t do it!


Be yourself - no - society


The adults in my life at that time were… a rather motley crew. Some weren’t adults inside of their adult shells. Some were… a-holes pretending to be anything but that. When an adult is caught up in being the smartest, goodest, adult in the world… even if you have teenage hormones coursing through your veins which make you bold, rebellious and reckless… best of luck dealing with a deluded adult like that! They’re more of a teenager than you are… you’ve still got a lot to learn about how age really works, it’s not as logical as you think it is.

And stuff like that…

Everyone one of the adults in my sixteen year old life at that time came down on me hard with their adult wisdom… they were slightly drunk on being superior to me, on talking down to me, as though through me they could reclaim the power which was taken away from them when they were my age by adults who were their age.

Whatever I said or did… whatever advice I sought, questions I asked… damned if I did, damned if I didn’t… just damned… because that’s a part of being that age… maybe…


interest - jessica katoff


You’ve been sixteen, you know how adults behave towards you at that age… your peers aren’t any better because every day counts, and if they’re slightly older than you, even by just an hour… they see themselves as adults compared to you…

If you’re an adult, you’ve probably done this kind of weird stuff to a teen of sixteen, taking your turn to do to others what was done to you. Maybe you watched and listened to yourself do it, and the sixteen year old inside of you who never went away… gasped, and kind of approved of it… even if it was a bit… you know…

Whatever age we are, we’re sort of still every age we’ve ever been… still trying to grow up in a world which keeps changing the parameters of what being grown up means… will we ever be that, reach that movable feast… will our parents ever acknowledge that we’re not their children anymore, do we want them to do that… what happens to us when we grow up?



“I’m the voice inside your head
You refuse to hear
I’m the face that you have to face
Mirrored in your stare
I’m what’s left, I’m what’s right
I’m the enemy
I’m the hand that will take you down
Bring you to your knees…”

  • Foo Fighters, The Pretender


Life is… forever sicksteen with our candles burning down our house… fire within catching fire and setting fire to what’s ouside… or something like that.



  1. It’s a bittersweet memory. I loved Sting when I was younger and before that The Police. I remember to get the lyrics I had to go to a local news stand, which was actually an inside store but we called it that. They had music magazines and the lyrics of certain songs would be in them. I was always so excited to find a recent hit that I wasn’t completely sure of the lyrics of.

    I’m just now putting the words to the feelings I had back then, and in fact throughout my childhood, which was indeed trapped and caged. So the timing of your post is interesting.

    And they built it so well I have reinforced it and remain somewhat trapped and feeling caged. Although in the process of chiseling away at the bars.


    • Thank you for sharing 🙂

      If the vinyl didn’t come with the lyrics, and it was exciting when it did, I used to play songs bit by bit, lifting the needle then plonking it down again, to figure out the lyrics, I still often got them wrong. A couple of songs were slightly ruined for me when I found out the actual lyrics.

      The Police were the first band I saw in concert, I was right at the front, squished against the railing and almost passed out from the crush. I met Stewart Copeland once on a plane, I wish I hadn’t. That was one of my first ‘don’t meet your heroes’ lessons.

      Overall I hated that time in my life, even though there were some good moments, because things in my family got so much worse, the war between my parents escalated and I got dragged into to it more deeply than I had been when I was younger. I made some monumentally stupid life decisions because of it. I should have been focusing on getting myself out, making my escape, instead I willingly locked myself in the madhouse with my parents and swallowed the key. I know exactly why I did it and that will always haunt me. I know it wasn’t all my fault, but the part which was my fault is galling.

      When I hear other people speaking of not having left an abusive situation when they knew they should have, I know why they didn’t leave, and when they express a certain sense of shame about it, especially when those on the outside of the situation say things like ‘You should do this, do that, leave, get out, etc’, I know that shame.

      A piece of us keeps us trapped there even when we leave the actual situation, that piece is the key to get us out, but it’s in our insides somewhere, stuck in our gut. Getting it out so we can get out takes time and patience. I tried ripping it out several times… the gentle way is the way to go. Writing about it… that has been so liberating.

      Take good care of yourself.


  2. Your response to Safirefalcon hit a chord with me. My much older sister got away from our mother very early. She won a scholarship to a boarding school at 14 and after that, only rarely ever came back. She eventually moved as far away as she could get (Vancouver Island). My mother loved to whine about how she hadn’t deserved the scholarship. I didn’t do that and stuck it out until I left for university. I’ve often wondered about this -what could have been if I had been more proactive, but then I have to forgive my 16-17 year old self. At the time, I didn’t really understand others or myself.


    • That must have been a difficult and strange experience, to have the comparison between your sister and yourself, to see her get away while you were left behind, and your mother would have used that in so many ways as narcissist parents do. My guess is that your NM would have made you feel increasingly guilty about wanting to leave, about ‘abandoning’ her. She may have used your sister as a ‘bad’ example to try to make you be a ‘good’ example. Narcissists tend to use others to trap others, they love to triangulate, to turn a comparison into a contest, a quest to win their love.

      If your sister had not accepted the scholarship your mother would have never let her live with that either. With narcissists you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

      Your teenage self did the best that she could in an impossible situation, and when you consider who you are now, she nurtured an awesome being.

      In some ways this journey you’re making right now in your life is a symbolic liberation rippling through your timeline, particularly considering the situation in your recent workplace with the narcissistic colleague. You’re finally free to be and do what is right for you. Your heart has earned its wings!


      • Thank you. 😀

        I am much younger than my siblings (the nearest in age is ten years older) and they all somehow “disappointed” my mother, especially my sister who left so early. My mother frequently disparaged her as “stupid.”

        I was supposed to make up for all that. I was the one she “could count on” supposedly, and she never at all gave any thought to me wanting my own life. You are right about the guilt – I felt guilty all the time, even when I was just doing things that most teenagers do. I was definitely the “good” one and the pressure and expectations were enormous. Yes, it was very much a contest, and I was the object of her wish-fulfillment. I didn’t understand any of it, of course, and just struggled along, acting on instinct more than anything else.

        It felt very good yesterday after I had cleared out all my stuff and walked away from my former workplace. I do feel free (and excited and scared). 🙂


        • It takes time to finally get the whole picture, piece by piece we put the puzzle together, and it is an amazing feeling to have a present experience which is like a culmination of all which came before and a threshold into something new for a you that is truly you.

          I’m so excited for you, it all feels so incredibly right and WOW 😀


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