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The Power of The Smashing Pumpkins' "Disarm"

Chances are, you’ve probably heard of The Smashing Pumpkins song, “Disarm.”

If you haven’t, allow me to introduce it to you.

It’s a song on their 1993 album, Siamese Dream, and was a radio single.

It’s also basically autobiographical, because it talks about the physical and emotional abuse song-writer Billy Corgan endured as a child, which of course affected the rest of his life.

It’s a very, terribly sad and moving song, with dramatic bells and violins over a background of acoustic guitar.

I used to hear it all the time and, as a younger person, it was of course always serious and moving.

Once in awhile, it might have caused me to shed a tear. Very rarely.

But now that I’m a forty year old dad with two kids, that has all changed. Because now, I can barely hear the song at all without crying.

In fact, I caught it on the radio just the other day while I was in the car and yep, out of nowhere, it got me. Again. Like a sad ninja.

Obviously, having kids and getting older has changed me.

Probably being a guy is part of it too. Because I can relate to both the fatherhood aspect as well as the aspect of being a son.

“I used to be a little boy So old in my shoes And what I choose is my choice What’s a boy supposed to do? The killer in me is the killer in you My love I send this smile over to you”
-The Smashing Pumpkins, “Disarm”

Yeah, I used to be a little boy, too. I know what that’s like…and miss it. And remember some of my own traumas, and I can see how they’ve affected my life.

But what I think really brings the tears is how I see myself in my own children and how very much I want to be a good father to them.

The song makes me think about how much I love them. How beautiful they are, these spirits that have come to me from another world. How privileged I am to have them, how lucky I am to have the joy they bring into my life.

But also, how tender and impressionable they are. And how imperfect I am as a man and a father. How I would never want to do anything to hurt them, but, inevitably, I know that there are things I will do, even without knowing, that may hurt or negatively influence them. Just because I’m an imperfect parent and human.

Then I think, maybe there’s still time to make up for my mistakes. But they grow up so, so fast. And before I know it, they’ll be grown.

How I wish all of this wasn’t so.


But, I am what I am and it is what it is.

All I can do is the best I can and hopefully forgive myself for the mistakes or the things I overlook.

Our kids really do deserve the best we can give them.

And as sad as a song like “Disarm” is, I’m grateful for the powerful feelings it evokes in me, because it gives me a renewed motivation to love my kids as best as I can — and make sure they know it.

And this is why “Disarm” is such a timeless and enduring song. It has the authenticity of coming from such a real, vulnerable, and powerful place of truth that we can all find ourselves in.

May those feelings be a prompting for us all to appreciate the value of our loved ones and hold them closer, while we can.


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