INKTOBER 52 Day #44: SING.
“This is probably the only way anyone will ever catch me singing: via sign language (not American Sign Language, as I never learned that. Plunger Monkey Sign Language. PMSL). Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy singing in the car to my favorite tunes…just not within earshot of anyone else. I don’t want to pay the medical bills for bleeding ears.
I debated what song PMD would be ‘singing’. I wanted it to be relevant, which meant it had to be a heavy metal song. There were just too many possibilities, though. In the end, I had to go with the iconic lyrics from Metallica’s ‘Enter Sandman’ because of its personal significance to me. Prior to my freshman year of high school in 1991, the only music I really listened to was anything by Weird Al or the (essentially heavy metal but I didn’t know it at the time) 1986 animated ‘Transformers the Movie’ soundtrack (which is the best Transformers movie. If you disagree, you’re wrong). I was a nerd and a geek. I got straight As, drew a lot, read comics, and watched cartoons. I also got bullied a lot from elementary through junior high school. Heading into freshman year at a regional high school, I knew I was going to be a smaller fish in a bigger pond, and potentially less of a target. I made a concerted effort to be ‘cool’ (which I eventually abandoned in favor of just being myself).
So, that first day of school, dressed in my ‘cool’ clothes with my hair ‘styled’, waiting for the bus, I decided to turn on MTV. I was greeted by a guitar riff that immediately grabbed my attention and pumped my adrenaline, followed by some seizure-inducing, overlapping, flashing images of this kid having a nightmare and some creepy old dude’s face, interspersed with the band playing and headbanging. I officially became a metal head. That moment gave me a much-needed connection to some acquaintances that became very close friends over the next several years and I think, in a roundabout way, eventually put an end to the bullying. The speed and the aggression in metal music was empowering. It was a completely safe way to release anger and frustration, to deal with some of the darkness from being bullied, and it was fantastic fuel for working out (another positive, life-changing journey that was also in its early stages for me).
I don’t know how much different life would be if I hadn’t discovered a love for heavy metal, but I tend to think seeing that video at that specific moment of my life shifted my trajectory for the better. ‘Take my hand, we’re off to Never Never Land!’”
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