The video is the soundtrack for this blog post. Play and listen before, during, or after reading.
I wasn’t going to share this blog post. I wrote it, and then decided it was too personal. But then I saw a meme that said no dreams were reached within a comfort zone.
I am tired of toning myself down in order to make others comfortable. I have been through things. If those things are things you can’t relate to, then tough shit. Some people can, some people can’t. Yes, I can move on from my past and live my life for today and the future ahead, but I refuse to continue living as if I am not a survivor. These events shaped me, I can never be a person who was never traumatized by people and events. The fact that I am still standing is a miracle that deserves acknowledgment and respect. And anyone else who has overcome atrocities deserves the same.
As with many other songs, when I sing this it is not just some woman singing a Fleetwood Mac song. I am feeling that song, I am living it, I am embodying it. Music is much, much more than just an activity to me. It is a friend. It is a comforter. It is a teacher. It is a lifesaver.
Back in the mid-2000s, I was a mess. I had been stripping for several years, made a large chunk of my money drinking cheap champagne, barely eating because I had to stay thin to continue making a living. I desperately wanted a different life, but I had been suffering from anxiety since age nine and suicidal depression since age twelve. I was stuck in a vicious cycle of repetitive trauma and retrauma.
At that time in my life I was madly obsessed with Fleetwood Mac. I owned the white The Very Best of album and listened to all the songs. Even though I love and can to relate to nearly all of their songs, this song stood out.
I felt connected to this song. It seemed to be about me.
When I was home alone I would sing along with Stevie as I felt every single word I sang in the core of my being. This song was me.
Fast forward to 2019, when I was working in a Hawaiian restaurant co-hosting the open mic nites. I met Fred Austin and he offered to learn some songs on guitar for me. He told me to write some down for him.
Within a month, my father passed unexpectedly, and my stepmother gave me some of his old letters to my mother. I had never seen these before. In a handwritten letter to my mother while she was pregnant with me he wrote, "Our biggest storm will be the baby."
I can feel myself fading. When you lose multiple generations within a short time frame, it feels like you are suddenly next to death by default. I am the next grave in the line.
Yet, at 40, I really don’t feel like I’ve ever lived. I’ve breathed, I’ve laughed, I’ve loved. But I have been in hiding in plain sight. Those around me did not know me. They knew and claimed to love a version of me that they could tolerate, that fit what was comfortable for them. The truth is that I was sexually, physically, emotionally, and medically abused. I was raped. I’ve had two different men try to kill me. I’ve lived in my car. I’ve been in psych wards. I’ve been overmedicated for multiple misdiagnosed mental health disorders. And almost none of my family and friends know these things about me.
All they saw was me getting a full-ride academic scholarship and then throwing it and my life away with depression as my excuse for living the life of rebellion I must've really wanted, deep down. They knew I was disturbed, but none of us knew that I was just traumatized by multiple traumatic events and environments.
People are not meant to endure these types of assaults to the psyche without proper outer support. Unfortunately, there is never a right time to bring up the unspeakable. If you didn't know that it happened, how could you support me? You didn't. I dealt with it mostly alone...
But the music was always there. And writing was always there.
I've spent the last seven years filling up the internet with my stories semi-anonymously, trying desperately to gain a champion. I found one. He plays the songs that heal me.
I am a storm.
I feel lost. More so than ever before. I have darker and darker feelings and thoughts. I’m hoping this means it truly is darkest before the light appears, but while in it, you can’t help but feel it.
I really need some positivity. I know I’m not the only one. This world has sucked everything it can from my bones, and there’s not much left to sustain me.
They say God never gives you more than you can handle…
Yet people commit suicide every day.
For me, this is not an option because I have people here who need me, namely the one who I brought into the world, the light of my universe. Not only that, if it did happen, if I were to leave this world suddenly, what would I leave behind, besides the devastated people who love me?
Totes of stuff.
Stuff that was sentimental to me.
Dozens of totes.
The suicidal poetry I wrote when I was twelve, the papers I wrote in college, the dozens of journals filled with my own philosophies, song lyrics, love letters, hate letters...
What do they mean sitting in those boxes? Who are they helping? No one.
But, if I dared to speak, to share these things, maybe...
I can help someone else feel less alone just like the music has done for me.