The video for “Blurry” by Puddle of Mudd (2001, Come Clean) tells a powerful story about a father wanting to spend time with his son, and depicts some of the difficulties with co-parenting after divorce or separation.
Wes Scantlin said he wrote the song about wanting to be a good dad, and wanting to spend more time with his son. The child in the video is played by Scantlin’s real son, Jordan. Jordin Scantlin is a guitar player who has performed “Blurry” on stage with his father (October 26, 2009, at the Blue Note, in Columbia, Missouri) and performed with him at other concerts, as well.
“I wonder what you’re doing, Imagine where you are, There’s oceans in between us, But that’s not very far…”
I was in the locker room at the gym when the song “Blurry” by Puddle of Mudd came over the speakers. I had never seen the video to the song before but the words were like arrows aimed at my heart; something about this song reminded me of the ongoing family court battle I found myself in, and the resulting loss of my children.
“Can you take it all away?, Well you shoved it in my face, This pain you gave to me, Can you take it all away?”
The screaming lyrics, and pounding drums reminded me of all the things I wanted to say, all the tears I held back…
“Cause I am lost without you, I cannot live at all, My whole world surrounds you, I stumble then I crawl…”
I hopped on the treadmill, and cranked up the speed for an intense fat burning work out, there was a lot of emotion going into today’s run.
“Can you take it all away?, Can you take it all away?”
When I finally saw the video for “Blurry“, I was surprised to see the story line was about a father struggling to maintain a relationship with his son after a relationship with his wife or girlfriend had ended.
“Everything’s so blurry, And everyone’s so fake, And everybody’s empty,
And everything is so messed up…”
“Blurry” shows some of the struggles the father has co-parenting.
One scene depicts a custodial parent who acts irritated as she drops the child off to visit the father. The custodial parent is tapping her watch, as if to hurry the visit along – or maybe she feels taking time out of her day for her child to visit the father is a bother? The boyfriend is in the front seat of the car, chugging a beer. Though the video is fictional, you can still feel the tension of the scene. It is easy to imagine how uncomfortable and confusing that same tension would be on a child who is at the receiving end. Similarly, no parent should made to feel guilty, ashamed, bad or that they are a bother (etc) for wanting to spend time with their child.
For the parents who are struggling after divorce or separation, or maybe you have felt your anger or hurt or other emotion get the best of you – I understand that it is a natural reaction to have some strong emotions after a divorce or separation; but those feelings are toxic when projected onto your children.
How do you know when that is happening? Some red flags: Your child talks about the other parent and you get angry, make negative comments, or find that you can not listen or tolerate any mention of the ex partner. You feel triggered or reminded of past events, the divorce, or your ex partner constantly – or your child is a trigger for you. You have difficulty sleeping. You have difficulty concentrating. You have difficulty going to work or doing the things you once enjoyed. Your friends or family are making comments to you about your mood, behavior or that you are bringing up certain issues too much. Your conversation may be directed entirely about your divorce, your ex, your custody dispute to the point you drown out all other conversation. If you are in the place where emotions are overwhelming, when you feel constantly reminded of past events, or when your emotions are negatively affecting your children, or other aspects of your life – seek help or support. You deserve peace in your life, and your child deserves the full benefit of the love and care you provide. The best arrangement for your child, is if you can co-parent in a way where you can at least be civil to the other parent, and support your child in having a relationship with both parents. This is not always possible, especially in domestic violence situations, those cases require special care, with professional intervention.
It was both sad – and familiar – to watch as the father in the video bond with his son, and have a fun day – and then be forced to return the child to a potentially dysfunctional or unsafe environment.
The hardest scenes to watch, in the video, involved the mother fighting with her new boyfriend, at times in front of the child. In one scene, the boyfriend is pointing at the child, and shaking his finger. The child’s face in bathed in sunlight but looking down in a sad way. I got the feeling the boyfriend resented the time the child spent with his father, or was perhaps, jealous. The boyfriend is also shown drinking beer throughout the video, implying he has a problem with alcohol.
A note to parents who are dating or romantically involved – Children come first! Be careful who you introduce to your children, or allow into their lives. The risk to your child’s safety and well-being should be a priority, that child is depending on you to keep them safe, and to nurture their growth. Do not let being lonely, or being vulnerable, compromise your judgment. If unsure, get advice or a second opinion from people you trust.
I am currently in this predicament. I only get a limited amount of time with my children, and so many things go unsaid. I have a wonderful day, bond with my children and do fun things. For a moment, the relationship between my children and I feels restored. We laugh together. Visit parks or museums. And dream about our future… my son says that he wants to own a luxury hotel and resort one day, and that “I will name my first hotel after you, mom, it will be ‘The Emily‘”.
And then the sky darkens, and the moon ascends, the time of the painful good-bye has come. No matter how peaceful the transition looks. No matter how calm my children’s face are. No matter how silent they go back to their father’s home – the pain is there, like an underground river of unshed tears, running between us. My children and I have been taught to remain silent, forced to. Punished for showing emotion, and told it is wrong or crazy or some other label slapped on us by ignorant family court professionals. As my children slip out of my arms, after the last hug, there will be weeks of no contact. No phone calls. No updates of any kind. Any questions I ask to my abusive ex will be ignored. All attempts to communicate will be rejected. Judge Robben will say that I did not try hard enough to communicate, try again. Or maybe I did not document, to Robben’s satisfaction, that my abusive ex is not communicating. I have to “prove” that I am not the problem. And the legal process will create more delay, and more delay will mean more separation from my children. And with separation, my children become more and more estranged from me, from their heritage – from their home. Our relationship has become one of estrangement, and continued disruption.
If that is not bad enough, there is the pain of being helpless to protect your children as an abusive or dysfunctional parent exposes them to things no child should have to witness, or endure… But when the next visit comes, you have to smile and push all those things aside, because you only have a short time together, and those moments have to attempt to heal all the damage that has been done.
~ Emily Court, 2016
Disclaimer: I realize that Puddle of Mudd frontman, Wes Scantlin, has issues with substance abuse and violent behavior. I am not endorsing or condoning his behavior, or actions. The content of the video for “Blurry” belongs to its creator alone, as does the depiction of events portrayed within the video. The video was directed by Fred Durst, of Limp Bizkit.