How I met John

Today I’m going to tell the story of how I met John.

Kate’s told the story in brief before so it might be familiar to some of you.  To some others, it might have familiar elements (“Omg, is he really talking to me?” “Am I crazy??” etc.).

It was way back in 1990.  Many of our other spirit friends were still alive.  I was 13 and just coming out of Grade 8, or going into Grade 9.  It was a pretty dismal time.  I was in this bohemian-redux, proto-goth gloom.  I spent the whole summer in black turtlenecks.  I had systematically alienated the small group of friends that I had.  One girl, I stuck gum in her hair and I don’t remember why.  Another girl, I told her that she “didn’t need to go to church just because her family does” because there “probably isn’t a God”.  One time a kid invited me to a party and I just looked at her deadpan and told her to “grow up”.  And so, me and my only friend Jen would sit by the fence and make fun of people playing dodge ball and we’d talk about music.  If you can imagine a version of the movie High Fidelity cast with preteen girls, it was kind of like that.  We were hated.

I was in Catholic school.  In Catholic school, in Grade 8 you do this thing called “Confirmation”, which is where you basically go up in front of everyone in church and say, “Okay, I’m an adult now and I’m making a conscious choice to be part of the church”.  Except, you know, I was pretty shrewd kid and I couldn’t help noticing that at no point had anyone actually asked me if I wanted to do that.  Meaning, they would take class time to prepare us via my passive participation, schedule me in for workshops, etc.  I was panicking.  I asked my parents, “Do I have to do this??”, and they said no.  Thank God.  Or… whoever.

In the meantime I went to Religion class because it was still happening, but that was ok because it would all be over soon.  (Or so I thought).  It was ok.  One day we discussed prayer.  She described it as a conversation that you would have with Heaven.  You can just talk about questions that you have, or problems that you’re having.  She said that things might come to you in unexpected ways and maybe it’s not obvious that you’re getting help but that things will just get easier — you’ll get a solution to a problem, or you’ll find that thing you’ve lost.  She said that you can talk to anyone in Heaven, and they’ll hear you.  Like your grandparents.

In retrospect I don’t even know why I did it.  I guess even I had to admit I had problems.  And questions.  I didn’t believe in any religious figures, and I never knew my grandparents.  I was like, “I’m going to talk to John”.  (pause)  “If he’s in Heaven.  If there is a Heaven… he said there might not be…?”

Why John?  I don’t know.  I looked up to him.  And I could relate to him.  I heard this story about how he was kicked out of school and sent to art school.  I wished someone would kick me out too, but there was nowhere to go.  So I would just blow off my homework and draw pictures.  I drew 3 portraits of John that year and they hung in my parents’ living room until I was 20.  Some people in my family thought that my sister-in-law had drawn them, who is 15 years older than me so they were really pretty good for a 13 year old.  (“For anyone“, I’m hearing.  Well, thanks).  I’m not sure where they are now; probably in a cupboard or something.

Anyway the photo I drew (one of them) is the photo I used for this entry.  I guess I always identified more with John as this polarizing personality, rather than as the peace-loving unifier of humanity; the guy who got kicked out of art school, pissed people off by comparing himself to Jesus, and got himself placed on Nixon’s list of political enemies.   Which is ok, I mean, I he’s all those things; that’s why he resonates with so many people.  “My” John wore a pompadour, and  looked askance across my family’s living room.

It was probably God that clinched it.  The song, I mean — “God is a concept by which we measure our pain”.  You know.  Then he goes through a laundry list of heroes and discarded belief systems that failed to bring any lasting meaning to his life.  I was like, “Okay.  This guy gets it”.  So I asked him something and — he answered.

Well, I didn’t expect that.  Not really.  Not at all actually, not words, I thought it would be like… signs, maybe?  Like something would happen later on?  But I got those too; I started hearing his songs everywhere.  Seeing his face.  And of course you think, “No, he’s not actually popping up more, I’m just noticing it”, but I realize now that, yes, this is what he does.  Or I’d try to rationalize it and go, “Oh well, I could guess what he would say about this or that, I’m a writer, I could imagine dialogue”.  But I knew that no, I wouldn’t say these thing.  I wouldn’t come out with this stuff, this is the perspective of a mind with more maturity and experience than I had.  Then the next questions become, “Well, I know it isn’t me, but do I know it’s really John?”, and “If it is John… where is he?”.  Both unanswerable questions.

I made it through Grade 8 unconfirmed and summer came.  One day my mom took me down to the Catholic high school, to go uniform shopping.  What??  Oh.  No.

“I don’t want to go here!  I didn’t get confirmed.  I don’t like Catholic school.  I hate these kids.  I’m done”.
She’s like, “Oh, well just give it a try and if you don’t like it, you can switch schools”.  Oh okay.  Well, thanks for hearing me, and acknowledging my feelings.  My friend’s sister had been feeding me stories about hazings at that school; kids being forced to push Life Savers up the 5 flights of marble stairs with their noses.  I had a lot of enemies in my graduating class, and in the class that had graduated the year before.  I had phantom stomach pains.  I thought I was going to throw up.  I got an upper GI that summer.  Fuck.

One day I asked John about God.  He basically just told me we’re all God, our hearts and minds are God.  I didn’t really get that.  I thought he meant, “We all made God up”.

Anyway I might have been asking because it was an assignment I had — Grade 9 Religion class, my teacher Mrs. Kolz told us all to draw “what we think God looks like”.  I had no fuckin’ idea how to do the assignment.  I would have simply not done it but a) it was a drawing assignment, so I kind of wanted to, and b) I was pretty sure I could do it in such a way that it would piss her off, and I was up to that challenge.  So I filled my page with outlines of people and I gave them little cartoon hearts, and little cartoon brains, and I coloured their hearts and brains in pink, and I included my explanation that “our hearts and minds are God”.  I got a passing but poor-ish grade on it and her comment in red ink said, “This is called semantics — playing with words”.  Success!

After spirituality, my next biggest problem was school.  Essentially not really wanting to be there, not getting much out of it, and this weight of expectation about what I’m going to do after high school.  It starts in Grade 9; you’re supposed to choose courses with your post-secondary in mind.  They already have you doing aptitude tests.  I asked John what he thought about university and he said something like, “It’s a great way to become an expert in other people’s ideas”.  Well, that sounded like a total waste of time to me.  What if other people’s idea’s are wrong?  They often are.  (I ended up going anyway).

Well, I’m not really sure how to end this, I stopped talking to him for a long time after that.  The weight of those unanswered questions maybe got to me — “Is it him?” and “Where is he?”.  I learned about the Collective Unconscious — is he part of that?  Unconscious?  Or is he still him — a consciousness?  Couldn’t this just be anyone?  Any consciousness?  This may have been when I started to wonder if I was crazy.  And I refused to talk about it with anyone, even my only friend Jen.  Who would probably not have batted an eye about it because she was at least as “crazy” as I was.

Well, I’m not really sure how to wrap this up; it’s sort of an ongoing story and all those unanswered questions I had when I was 13 remain unanswered.  But I’m okay with it now, I’m not really sure there are definite answers to be had.  Where the “am I crazy?” question used to eat me up inside, now I just think all truth is relative.  When Kate started talking to John (and I started talking to him again) he said, “Thank God you’ve lightened up!”  20 years on, I have mellowed out.  A lot.  (Who hasn’t?).

And I’m glad I know some more “crazy” people now.

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9 thoughts on “How I met John

  1. Thank you to You and Kate for your bravery in talking about all this “crazy” stuff (haha)!!! If it weren’t for people like the two of you “coming out” in the psychic sense…… I would have labeled myself schizophrenic long ago…
    It is certainly a life saver to know there are many others that go through this wonderful experience of talking to dead musicians ~smile~. I always know when Johnny is around me when I get intense goosebumps. Do you get goosebumps??

    Love and Light!!

    Noël

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    • Oh, you’re most welcome! Thanks for reading and reaching out. 🙂

      How do I know he’s around, and do I get goosebumps? For me it’s more like, I’ll hear them first. Like audience commentary over top of my internal monologue, 2 thoughts at once and one’s not mine. Then I can tune in a little more and pay attention to the particular energy of a spirit. John’s presence feels “windy” to me. I don’t know if that makes sense. Not breezy or stormy, just… windy. Like air.

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  2. Thanks for sharing this story! It’s so interesting to me to hear how everyone’s experiences are different, but the same. Ok, I know that didn’t make sense at all. But the vein that runs through all these stories I hear about and read – including my own – is always constant. We all think we’re “crazy” at some point. Often, again and again. But as time goes on, and confirmations seem to be coming at me left and right, I realize I’m NOT crazy. And I’m also not a fool that wants desperately to believe in this stuff. I was an enormous skeptic.

    I’m so glad to read your posts on this blog along with Kate’s. It’s nice to hear your perspective, as well as hers, because everyone has such a unique experience. When I first felt John’s presence, he basically walked in and owned the room. It was impossible not to know it was him. I laughed so hard that night I almost fell off my chair. It was one joke after another, and the room was full of George and John and Beatles antics. For weeks after that night I couldn’t even look at a picture of John without bursting out into laughter. The boyish goofiness that comes with him is impossible not to notice. And it’s a pleasure.

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    • Oh girl!!! You are not lying!!! Johnny has the best sense of humor of any human I’ve ever met (dead or alive)!!! He cracks me up so much….. I love that man:)

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    • “Again and again”. Yeah, absolutely. I *still* think I’m crazy sometimes. At least these days it’s more like an idle thought in the back of my mind than a gnawing feeling in the pit of my stomach. It’s nice to be able to share this stuff.

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  3. Thanks for sharing this, Kat – love the thing about the drawing assignment!

    I was twelve the winter John died, just started at a new school, lonely, painfully shy, wanting to pursue a creative career but with parents who were dead set against it – and I talked to John, for a while, alone in my room, simply because he seemed like the kind of guy who might understand. I was never aware of any kind of answer, though, and I went from ‘the quiet one’ to ‘the weird one’ after I made the mistake of mentioning it to someone in my year at school. Later on, when I started to believe that there *might* be such a thing as communication from the afterlife – and especially after I saw Linda Keen’s book in passing – I concluded that probably I wasn’t naturally psychic, and even if I was, a dead rock star wouldn’t want to talk to someone like me, right?.. Now proven wrong on both those points, I haven’t heard directly from John yet – unless getting the urge to listen to the Beatles again after a very long hiatus, since I’ve been following this blog, is any sort of sign…

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    • If you’re talking, I’m sure he’s listening. 😉 And if you notice the Beatles coming up a lot, it’s a sign for *sure*. It’s totally possible the urge to listen could be a nudge.

      For a long time it seemed like *every* time Kate and I would watch a movie, there would be a song or a reference in it. Old movies, new movies, diverse themes — they just kept coming up. Since I wrote this entry it’s been happening again. This week people have mentioned him to me at random, and last night my employer started singing a song from A Hard Day’s Night out of nowhere. And I’ve never heard her sing before.

      So yeah if you haven’t talked to him since that winter and you’d like to, definitely watch out for signs like that. Like walking into a store at the exact moment one of his songs comes on.

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      • Oh man. That stuff happens to me a lot. Once I was just thinking about John and not only did a Beatles song come on the radio, but a guy drove past in a pickup truck and looked right at me and HE LOOKED JUST LIKE JOHN. I started cracking up.

        Happens with George too. I’m much more tuned into George, he’s my closest guide and I talk to him daily. I’ve had people randomly burst into a Beatles song next to me as well, ones that don’t usually sing. I also see the names “George” and “Harrison” everywhere. Everywhere. It’s comforting, actually. I enjoy it.

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  4. Wow!! I loved this!!Amazing story!! How beautiful!!! I loved him!!It was a sad day when he died. I was in Eugene, Oregon and my best freind Caryn and I were going to college and we heard it. Lovely and am glad you still talk to him!!Crazy? Not!! Psychic!! Yes!! But maybe crazy and psychic go together a bit. The other day I could feel, smell, taste the beautiful balck widow in our garage for weeks. I couldn’t see her but knew she was there. She finally came out the day I wrote my last column. She was gorgeous. What is crazy and sad is I had to kill her. But had to figure who was more importantShe or my husband. I looked her up and it said black widow totems are around writers. She was so beautiful I creid when I had to kill her. My husband was in agreement. But, oh my I sure felt her. I felt crazy to feel her so much for so many days. I still get sad, have a lovely day!! Jan xoxoxo

    Date: Sun, 26 May 2013 02:59:24 +0000 To: jandrake007@hotmail.com

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