1:00 AM Hotel room in Tucson Arizona
If you will indulge me I’d like to start this by posing a hypothetical:
Lets say that for the better part of your life you have been “different” in some form or fashion…you as a person tend to stray from what is conventional and this often causes you to be at odds with most of society and the culture around you. Over the course of your time on this earth your general well being is predicated on your own ability to survive and flourish when the world outside is so often dark and empty and so as you grow you learn to build your own defenses. This basic idea is in no way uncommon or really even reserved for the “different” people…its innate in all forms of life. Protect yourself so that you can continue to live, learn and grow as a being.
Now with that self preservation in your arsenal you go out into the world. You go to school or work or even often at home and you are persecuted but you have this internal dam that you’ve built to protect your heart from the negativity. What happens to dams when the water rushes in too hard and fast? The dam breaks.
Sometimes we all face those moments where we have just had it. We’ve had it with what they say, what they’ve done and how they act (“They” of course can be anything from your neighborhood bully to your boss or even sometimes a loved one) and we explode right?
Lets get back to my hypothetical…
You are standing with your best friends in the world and you’ve just been notified that something that you have all worked on so hard and have put so much of yourself into is receiving an award! You feel so proud and elated, particularly when you are “different” its a hell of a feeling to know that something you have done may have connected so strongly with the other “different” people in this world.
Minutes after you find out that you are being honored in this way you are sent into a room. You enter this room and it’s full of people, these are people who don’t know you…haven’t laughed with you, cried with you…they have shared no pain or joy with you and though you are eager to share in your new found joy with them they suddenly begin to show you that they hate you and your friends. They do not agree with the notion of awarding your hard work and they are actively and openly telling you as much with cursing, booing and wagging middle fingers.
How do you feel? Not necessarily how do you react…but how do you feel?
It is easy for me to sit and wax poetic about the justification of behavior and how something I or any of my friends have done is just and right but I genuinely want to ask you…my friends, my fellow “different” people, would your dam come bursting down? Would you feel an overwhelming sense of anger towards those who are so aggressively attacking your very existence simply for doing the thing you are most passionate about in this world? Do you think you could find yourself defensively yelling back? Maybe even saying things you regret or throwing the attacks they have about you, your appearance or your life back at them?
If you think that maybe you could or would feel that way……I can relate.
I know that sometimes I am a hot head or a loud mouth and yes one could accuse me of loving the sound of my own voice but it’s because when the world outside didn’t want me…I built myself into something I could be proud of. Necessity is the mother of invention and when you are a lonely kid who instead of going out to play with the mean kids outside would rather make KISS costumes and sing Misfits songs in his room you have to find ways to create your own personality and existence, otherwise the feeling of sorrow or neglect can eat you alive.
I have always firmly believed that we can be anything we want to be in this life. I am a kid from Cincinnati Ohio who used to get my ass handed to me everyday for how I chose to express my creativity and yet I have been able to find this community of people that allow me to make music for a living and tour the world. It’s pretty damn cool when you think about it!
I have been “different” all of my life, and like so many of you I have and will continue to pay the price for it but I refuse to let other peoples opinions of me or my band change the way I live. I will continue to make music with my friends, I will continue to sing this way, look this way and act this way.
But sometimes when the world outside pushes you too far…I think it’s okay to say
In the words of one of my biggest inspirations and heroes Dee Snider..
“We’re not gonna take it anymore!”