“If you want to get the feeling and you wanna get it right then the music gotta be loud. For when the music hits I feel no pain at all.” ~Rancid, Radio
She saved me, you know? She made me feel ok to be me, to love, to hate, to cry, to listen, to drink, to take it easy, to walk tall while wearing hoodies littered with pins and patches, to dye my hair, to pierce my stomach, to pierce my ears once, twice and then again, to feel ok removing most of said piercings, to put on a dress, to take off that dress…to feel pain, to drive, to sit, to run, to dance, to just be…to live. She took me across the country. She took me to Canada once on a whim. She gave my family something to bond and build memories over. She gave me my second family…my friends. She helped me focus before every sporting event I ever played. She consoled me when I lost and celebrated when I won. She gave me motivation to write. She gave me the best nights of laughter and debauchery with people I’ve only met once or twice but will never forget. She helped heal a broken heart and let me know I wasn’t alone. She helped me feel everything.
She taught me. She taught me as much as she made me feel. She taught me about love, pain, politics, race, war, poverty and excess. She taught me about neighborhoods I’ll never see, parts of the world I may never travel, people I’ll never meet. She taught me about fashion, the good and the bad. She taught me it’s ok to not give a shit. She told me what guys like and what they don’t…but that I should only absorb her lesson to be myself. She taught me to be aware, to stand up for those who need a voice, and she gave me my own. She taught me to fight for me. She taught me sometimes image is everything…and other times it’s not. She taught me playing the right combination of throats and strings at the perfect moment can completely change the trajectory of your night… She taught me she, too, can make mistakes. Nothing is perfect.
How do you repay her? You can’t. She only gives. The best you can do for her is keep her playing, turn her on. Be yourself, the person she helped shape. Let her be loud. Let her be quiet – whatever she needs. You go out and support her. Pay for her. Share her. Invite her to your parties, into your kitchen, into your shower and into your bedroom. Take her on your road trips, long drives or short. Love her like she loves you. Live in a way that inspires her to write another song and tell your story.
She saved me.