Punk saved my life. It was riot grrl. Just learning that women like me could scream on a mic, giving voice to our truths. We can access a wild, loud power. I didn’t need to learn how to play electric guitar and sweat in front of people, myself. But knowing other women were doing that changed me.
Punk saved my life because I’d been depressed to the point of lost. I was agoraphobic and very lonely in my 20s and early 30s. Life didn’t have much good in it. Somehow I lived through the days, but I had almost nothing to look forward to.
I hadn’t learned much yet about self-love, so rejecting culture’s harsh judgments of my fat body was super difficult. I was just starting out on that path. And I was at the beginning of learning about radical mental health also. I hadn’t yet rejected harsh judgments of my experiences as a crazy person.
Also, I didn’t know Ming yet, so I’d never lived in a healthy family, or known a healthy partner relationship. I was suffering along, hopeless.
I wrote and read, but I hadn’t come into myself, yet. Then I heard a Bikini Kill album and was blown away. Like an anthropologist, I’d checked it out from the library, just looking around. It was free. The library was one of the few good things about my life.
That discovery opened me up, so when I saw the movie Don’t Need You about Riot Grrl on display at the library, I took it home to watch. That movie inspired me like nothing else ever had.
I hear other people who love riot grrl didn’t much like that movie Don’t Need You. But you should have seen me, glued to the screen, mystified and ecstatic. Then I decided–I could live. There was another world, and one day, I could dwell there.
Thank you to the brilliant library worker who displayed these works that so drastically altered the course of my life, from death to life.
Yesterday I was looking around on youtube and heard this song that blew me away. I almost cried and got chills on my body.
You know I work for peace; I love kindness, inter-dependence, and care. But to hear this young woman speak frankly about her experience of being harmed and wanting to kill a man who was following her on the street, the honesty floored me.
It’s by Heavens to Betsy, and it’s called Terrorist. I don’t want to kill anyone, but I’m honored to witness this truth. And I wish I had never been violated, abused, harassed, stalked, or scared of the sexual violence of a man.
Punk saved my life because it gives voice to the voiceless, or the kind I love does. Thank you to the brilliant, brave ladies who taught me that one day I could scream also. If not on a mic, then through art, in zines, on a blog, in community, holding a sign at a protest, rapping, doing service.
I don’t always scream, but when I do, I scream my truth. It’s valid and needs amplification, because it diverges from a standard narrative. Craziness, fatness, queerness, disability, neurodivergence, poverty, trauma, lady-ness, mixed-ness, and artist-ness could use more sharing.
Many unspeaking people find something of their story in mine. That’s what I read in fan mail for my zines, like functionally ill. Bits of my story are the stories of other people, who never heard their story told before.
That’s a reason to get up in the morning and eat some oatmeal. I made an art this about my core values, and punk could be considered pertinent to all of the points.
Did you know screaming can be a spiritual experience? Love to all, especially everyone who needs to find the things that will help them live.