This Isn’t What It Looks Like…
Music isn’t my anti-drug. Music isn’t my life. I’m pretty sure I would survive without music. It might be a struggle but I’m confident that evolution gave me the ability to endure life without music. Music has the power, however, to calm or unleash all Hell. That being said, music has added an element to my life that has helped (whether I like it or not) to shape my current personality. When a person says that music is their life, I wonder what exactly they mean.
I understand as well as anyone that we all need a creative and emotional outlet. Those who find a strong passion in one specified area are fortunate. However, there comes a time when a person’s hobby must be balanced with other aspects to lead a stable and successful life.
My first significant memories involving music stem from my middle school years. To clarify up front, I didn’t experience the typical awkward phase in middle school. For the sake of fairness and honesty, my entire 20 years of existence can be classified as one extended awkward phase but that’s a whole other story in itself. For me, the 6th, 7th and 8th grades held something much greater than being an awkward young teen. In middle school, children turn to teenagers. The change in age accompanies also a change in style during these years. Some kids find their niche right away while others struggle to find somewhere to belong.
I wasn’t just your average teenie-bopper though. I spent the 6th grade trying to orient myself in a bigger school among more peers, as anyone would. By the 7th grade, though, I thought I had settled myself into a sa-weet style of my own. In fact, I surrendered my whole being to wishing I was Avril Lavigne. Today, it’s not something I’m proud of, per say, but I can’t deny it-happened. My favorite bands included some really sophisticated artists: the ever-glorified Avril Lavigne, Green Day, My Chemical Romance. I admired exactly the type of musicians that every (well-to-do, suburban) parent tried to outlaw. It’s funny to me (and anyone who had the sincere pleasure of knowing me back then) now, but for those 3+ years, I was utterly serious about being as big of a hardass as I could pull off. I know it’s difficult to believe but I was even more intimidating as a punked-out 13 year old than I am now. I was your, ya know, typical honor roll white girl with a major twist of sour bitch (unfortunately, I never entirely let go of that last part of my persona).
Everything from my clothing to my attitude was defined by the oh-so illustrious pop-punk genre of music. Needless to say I was literally too cool for school. The only thing keeping up my honor roll status was the lack of real work that I was required to do. Combined with the fact that no one (specifically my teachers) ever really had a reason to despise the shy girl, my grades were steady. Behind the scenes, however, I was one mischievous teen with no regard for the rules. In other words, I managed to convince myself that I was a total-badass. By mischievous, I don’t mean to imply that I belonged in juvee or anything. I actually probably wasn’t much worse than any other dumb teen but nonetheless I felt invincible at the time.
My parents would always say that I was the baby from Hell when I was born. As much as they tried to prevent it, I developed a real bad attitude. But hey, if Billy Joe of Green Day didn’t give a fuck, neither did I.
My friends and I would participate in random acts of stupidity. Things like throwing food at cars and flicking people off through the bus window gave us a sense of supremacy. This is what I know now as simply being immature. Vandalization presented itself at the time as an appropriate way to becoming the insensitive person I thought I wanted to be. My favorite activities included (but I’m ashamed to admit weren’t limited to) 1) busting the siding on a neighbor’s house with solid chunks of ice, 2) savagely ripping up a tent like a wild animal and destroying everything left on the inside, 3) stealing mail (which is definitely a real crime…oops) and 4) legitimately lighting someone’s lawn on fire at 2am. Looking back on these significant incidents in my youth there’s just one thing I want to ask myself; WHO DID I THINK I WAS?? Luckily, my hostile tendencies began to drop off as I approached high school. Unluckily, the black hoodies, studded belts and the billion rubber bracelets that I owned stayed with me for a couple more years (embarrassing).
Even without the petty crimes, I still managed to establish passive-aggressive habits that have followed me in to my adult year. Since then, however, I’ve sobered up (metaphorically of course). I was one of the few uncontrollable (and apparently sly) teenagers who never got caught or had to deal with any real consequences. That’s modern suburbia, though. We get away with whatever we want (or so we think) until it bites us back. In which case, the only options are to either stop or keep it up to “stick it to the man.”
In regards to my situation, I’m so grateful that I grew out of the reckless phase. Of all the things that influenced me through and since those years, I only admit to taking away one thing from that phase. It pains me a little (okay, a lot) to say that deep down I still have kind of a nasty attitude (thanks a lot, Avril). Thankfully, I’ve finally managed to completely dispose of any other relics from my dark ages. And if black nail polish wasn’t in style now, I would shutter at the mere sight of it.