One thing I have come to understand, at my very core, is that human beings are idiots. It takes us entirely too long, with far too many required lessons, for us to learn something. We have to be repeatedly told or shown a fact until it finally sinks in. And no one is more guilty of that fact than me. It doesn’t matter how self-aware I am, how much self reflection/analysis I do on a daily basis, or how clever I become, I am not. Without a doubt. Yesterday, in my inescapable whirlpool of rage, I screamed at the top of my lungs (while on the phone with my husband) that I have zero control over my life. And I fucking hate that. What’s ridiculous about that statement is that no one does. There is merely the illusion of it, but the cold hard fact about life is we don’t. Everything we have can be taken in an instant.
I chose this song because it comes from a time when I didn’t even have an “illusion.” My life was absolute chaos. The only goal being survival, because it was a “character building” path. What I gained from the experience was personal growth.
It’s eerie to me how even current events can align itself with even my own personal narrative. I had planned on doing “KR Cube” prior to the recent supreme court leak as it was the next logical step from the previous post about my first boyfriend. Yet, here I am once again having zero control over life.
Unfortunately I don’t speak Japanese. Even after the solid year I listened to Dir En Grey, I still couldn’t tell you what any of the songs were about. The lyrics come easy enough. I can spout off some without any accompaniment, but the meaning is lost entirely. I could have chosen their one English song from that time, but that’s too easy. (Although, “Child Prey” remains one of my most favorite.) What spoke to me through these songs was the music. It was loud, high tempo, erratic, and unpredictable. Then the band itself is hardcore death metal, where blood and almost “occult” ritual showmanship was the “perfect balance” to my prior Christian life.
The gore that accompanied Dir En Grey genuinely scared me when I was first introduced to them, the same day of my “first date” with Sergio. This group of friends identified as “goth.” They dressed all in black, listened to “counter culture” tunes, and was obsessed with the “occult.” They were rebelling against their parents and most of all society. I was entranced.
Up until this day I was a “goody two shoes.” I only ever fought with my parents over bad grades and missed assignments. This also came on the heels of my obsession with anything associated with the 1950’s. My dress and demeanor accompanied this self imagined “essence” of the time. So, when I watched the lead singer, Kyo, stick his index fingers as hooks into his mouth and “cut” himself, convulse, and spit out a mouthful of blood I was more than shocked.
Do I really want to go down this road? I thought to myself.
It turns out, I did. I was chasing a boy. And one does stupid things for “love.”
From these “goth” friends I ventured forth into uncharted musical territory. In addition to Dir En Grey, I listened to Slipknot, Korn, Staind, Bad Religion, System of a Down… anything that appealed to the constant anger dwelling just below the surface. This genre of music only appeals to me in these specific circumstances. Otherwise I cannot tolerate it. It’s grating and irritating. I like a voice I can hear and understand.
The ability to not comprehend what Dir En Grey was singing drove me crazy. I wanted to know what I was listening to. I am an audiophile and while I loved the music, I needed the lyrics to match the mood it was painting. At least, I did until I didn’t. Becky insisted on putting them on whenever we got into the car. In particular I remember her listening to KR Cube, from the passenger seat, and doing the same choreography the lead singer did from the concert DVD she watched daily.
So, my only choice was to go with the flow.
I spent every non-school moment with these friends, primarily Becky and Jose. She was my best gal-pal and we hung out constantly and when I got there, she would immediately call him to join us. I would chauffer her over to his mom’s apartment to pick him up. She had the biggest crush on him and the two are still the best of friends, while I am just a casual acquaintance. It was Jose, nicknamed Amie-sama, who introduced J-rock and anime into Becky’s and my lives.
While she took off at a sprint enjoying one series after another I genuinely struggled. I so wanted to like anime but try as I might I really do not. I can appreciate the art style and the cohesive story structure, but that’s where it ends. At least in regards to animated series. Later, when these two weren’t as prominent, I became obsessed with manga. It just sucks that it wasn’t when I could have enjoyed it with them.
It didn’t occur to me until I was ruminating on what to write about in this blog the other day, that this period of my life was only about six months. At the time it felt so much longer, and prior to breaking it down I would have sworn it had been at least two years. I don’t know if that speaks to the ease of that time or the struggle.
As I previously mentioned, this was a journey for character building.
While Becky and I were very similar (both late in life babies, only children, who went to Christian school) where we were most alike was mental health. I had undiagnosed depression and she was (also undiagnosed) bipolar. She has made leaps and bounds with her mental health and honestly is not the same person. I wish I could say the same.
I don’t want you to get the impression that she was some kind of monster. Far from it. It’s just not ever having been around someone struggling with mental health can be a lot to handle. During this time her mood swings were wide but I learned to move with them. This is where I learned to love someone despite what they said and did. Being around her 95% of the time was an absolute blast. No one can make me laugh like she can, truly. But, there were some dark moments when he anger got the best of us. In turn I became angry too.
Dealing with my first true heartbreak, my own and others mood swings, and knowing my mother would be appalled to know I was a faguette, held me in this constant state of anger. Like the buzz of electricity through high voltage power lines. This was only exacerbated due to my inner struggle fighting against the current of my previously held religious beliefs. Nothing is harder to undo than the years of religious brainwashing. I’m still dealing with it and I haven’t believed since I was 17. But once I held Sergio’s hand for the first time, I ditched them without a second thought. I refused to associate with something that would keep me from feeling the love and acceptance I felt just being with who I wanted.
An awesome highlight from this time was that I got so many traffic tickets with my provisional license that I lost it for 6 months. One time I ran a red light, a couple blocks from where I work today, and nearly went head-on into a cop car. What made that traffic stop EXTRA FUN was the giant, bright orange construction cones I had in the back seat of my car, with “Property of Kern County” spray painted onto the sides. The cop joked with me about having a “fuzzy navel” or a “Sex on the beach” but didn’t make a peep about the cones.
The final traffic ticket that suspended my license was from doing 85 in a 65, on the way home with Becky and her then boyfriend. My car at the time was a station wagon and the speedometer maxed out at… 85. The cop claimed to have clocked me doing 90, but wrote 80 on the ticket. This had happened out of town and I was sure he wouldn’t show up to my court date. However, come the day of my trial, the judge sat and WAITED for him to get there. The judge and I had become quite familiar with each other.
Since then I have gotten maybe 2 tickets and I avoid traffic court at all costs because of the anxiety it brings me.