“Something I Can Never Have”- Nine Inch Nails and My Eating Disorder

(Note: This post is sort of dark in nature. I am sorry, I will try to post something happier tomorrow)

As I have repeated many times on this blog, Nine Inch Nails is and probably forever will be my favorite band. And I have not posted one of their songs since AUGUST! Granted, it was a seven post series on their third album, The Downward Spiral. But I recently (aka a month ago) I was listening to NPR and Terry Gross was interviewing Trent Reznor! Now, I have listened to every interview Trent has ever given (that I could find on youtube) and this one is by far the best. For one, it was over 35 minutes long, probably one of the longest. And Terry Gross is one of the best interviewers I have heard. She asks the right questions, but is so polite and considerate of whom ever she is interviewing.

If you want to listen to it, and I highly recommend it, here is the link.

Most of the interview was about “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” because Reznor and Atticus Ross composed the soundtrack to the movie. The soundtrack is amazing by the way. Here is my favorite. I didn’t think anyone could best Led Zeppelin’s version of “Immigrant Song,” but Reznor, Ross, and Karen O did.

However, towards the end of the interview, Terry Gross started asking about NIN and the future of NIN. This is the part of the interview where I was literally sitting on the edge of my seat. Unfortunately, Reznor didn’t outright say that NIN would tour again but he did bring up a something that resonated with me as much as his music. He talked about that if he played those older songs, (many from The Downward Spiral album when he too was experiencing his own downward spiral into drugs and depression) it would be hard for him to revisit those bad times that are so connected to certain songs.He also discussed how these songs have changed in meaning over time.

Trent Reznor, 2011

Today, when I listening to NIN’s first album Pretty Hate Machine, I realized that even as a listener some of NIN earlier songs are very emotional to listen to because of things that have happened in the past. When I first listened to “Something I Can Never Have,” I was severely relapsing with my eating disorder: exercising 7 hours a day, eating very little food, and worrying constantly about what I looked like and how much I weighed. I knew I was headed down a bad path that would probably lead to the same outcome as a few years earlier–hospitalization. At this time, the lyrics to “Something I Can Never Have” echoed this thought of a “perfect body” that I could never have (“I just want something/I can never have”). But the lengths that I was going was scaring me (“I’m down to just one thing/And I’m starting to scare myself”).

Today I am better, though probably will never be fully recovered. I still strive for something. It is not to have the “perfect body” but rather self-acceptance. I know now that my life will not be “more perfect” if I lose weight, but I still strive to lose the self-hatred and self-doubt that I still battle with on a daily basis. This song will always remind me of the bad times. I guess you could say it acts as a “fading fucking reminder of who I used to be.” But I will still listen to it even if it is through tears. Not just because it is beautifully crafted and Reznor’s voice is amazing (as always), but because it also reminds me that I never want to go back to that place. I want to slowly and surely release myself from the eating disorder that has plagued my life for over nine years of my life. I want to move on and capture that something that I have never had–self acceptance.

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2 Comments

Filed under Eating Disorder, Industrial, NIN, Terry Gross, Trent Reznor

2 responses to ““Something I Can Never Have”- Nine Inch Nails and My Eating Disorder

  1. I can’t watch the videos on the poor internet I’m pirating right now. This is definitely a substantial post without them, though. I’m sorry to hear about these issues, but feel reassured by your final paragraph – I hope you’re doing well.

    I spent part of my angsty teen years hating Karen O, probably only because of her extreme facial expressions. Then I wised up a bit, and realized that Yeah Yeah Yeahs have a lot of bitchin music. Now I guess I would say I’m a big fan; funny how things change like that:)

    • I am doing better. Thank you for your concern.
      And I agree about the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I recently got two of their albums from a friend and I have been listening to them a lot when I go on outdoor runs—or when I am tired with homework and need a break 🙂

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