A Female Teen on the Local Rock Scene- Part 2
How music helped me through my coming out
When I was 17, I came out to my parents…
I don’t have a good coming out story. It was truly one of the toughest times of my young life. I never thought that saying a few words about myself would leave me feeling so isolated, unloved and ever so guilty. Things went on being very tense for a number of years, and many tears were cried and altercations had, but through it all, music was there for me, it was my savior and coping mechanism. Having developed the characteristics of rockstars during my time playing bass in the metal band Incert Coin, my mind fought the feelings of sadness and hurt, urging me to remember the confidence, brutality and the heart I showed ever so proudly on stage.
My parents did not approve of my “alternative lifestyle”, and I’m not referring to the type of music I was listening to at the time. I went from feeling like I was exemplary, to feeling like I was undeserving of anything good at all. It shook me to my core how unkind they could have been and debilitated me more than anyone may ever know, but band practice saved my life. It gave me something to look forward to and allowed me the opportunity to focus on something outside of myself, to partake in an activity that lit up the cells in my body and activated the happy chemicals in my brain. I was also able to release my tensions through bobbing, swaying and getting into the vibe of the music. I was productively and safely escaping reality for a moment.
Growing in music and expanding my network of musician friends, I started singing in a band called STOP.motion- a jazz- fusion, alternative band that I wrote songs for. I was absolutely in love with the music we made and so happy to be involved in such an amazing band, but my hard time at home pervaded my interactions with the band members. It was difficult to stay sharp or have conversations sometimes when I had things on my mind. I would be a bit aggressive and harsh, not just with them, but with many people around me- so I wrote. I’d been writing songs before I was even a teenager to stop my thoughts from consuming me. I wrote so many poems, songs and blurbs of thought to expel my frustrations and sadness surrounding my new and unfavorable fate. Having been around singers, lyricists and writers for years, writing and sharing emotional material became easier to do over time. Performing and being in a creative space led me to understand how scared it was to write songs (points for actually being a good one!) and how easy and safe it was to let my guards down and, in that, feel powerful.
Years later, I started working on Cruise Line as a general and audio technician. Though this role was still sound based, it was not at all musical and I couldn’t carry my guitar with me for lack of space, so I’d go months without playing. At first it was fine, but after the months of working long hours in a fast paced, high-stakes environment, the stress and need for release had hit me. I would sometimes crave to play a guitar because its what my chemistry knows to be healing for me. When I would source a guitar and finally get the chance to play it, I would feel the tensions lift off my body and a subtle feeling of euphoria take over, even just for the duration of my session. Playing music had become something that kept me grounded in mind and at a physiological level, and allowed me the opportunity to come back to center, regroup with my party of one, and feel myself again.
Music continues to be my saving grace. Performing on stage has given me the confidence to believe in myself deep down when I couldn’t believe in myself from the surface. The carefree, hardcore alter ego that I created for the stage exists inside of me as well. She has cradled me during every tear cried, every harsh word that stung me and all the turbulence that surrounded my coming out. Writing gave me permission to express myself without having to ask. Through song, not only could I be any version of myself that I envisioned, but I was permitted to show myself freely and unabashedly to the world. It has taken a while, but music held me long enough to get here and to keep going further. Even amidst this Covid-19 crisis and having my life drastically altered because of it, being involved in musical projects is the one thing that brings me real, familiar joy .
I NEED to play, write and perform- there’s no question about that. Music has helped me through my coming out and through coping with the hardest moments of my life and I am forever indebted to it.
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