Causing the Music

January 31, 2008
By Sasha Suarez, Minneapolis, MN

The anticipation was building as the time passed. Every now and then someone flicked out a cell phone to check the time. Every time the curtain rustled a few people would stop mid-sentence and stare intently. As if their will to start the show was enough to bring the curtain down.
The general atmosphere was one of excitement. Barely contained. The ground beneath our feet was slick with spilt beer and every so often the strong smell of pot and cigarette smoke wafted over us.
Five minutes felt like twenty and the mosh pit was semi-still as it waited for a blare of guitar or a familiar deep voice. Any sign that crowd surfing could commence.
It was a sea of mismatched misfits. Spikey-haired rockers with black adorned Goths. A sprinkling of semi-colorful girls and grungy guys. All they had in common, as far as I could see, were piercings, tattoos, smoking, and Marilyn Manson.
When the curtain fell the floor erupted in glorious joy. The steady pushing of the pit made us sway like waves. His voice was loud around us and we were content to let it infiltrate our minds.
The melodies coursed through our veins and his words echoed in our minds. We forgot current worries and just lost ourselves in the music.
“It’s ridiculous.” Marianne grumbled as I stumbled into the house. “It’s just sickening how you worship him. Was it worth it?”
“What?” I asked with confusion. It was way too late to argue with my mother. I’d just had an amazing adrenaline rush and I was in no mood to fight.
“Was that stupid concert worth getting grounded for a month?” She glared at me and I willingly returned the death stare. “You’re three hours late.” She added.
“So? I was with Trent.”
“Oh! And that’s supposed to make me feel better? That delinquent Satanist boy!”
“Oh shut up. You know he cares about me. He wouldn’t-didn’t let anything happen to me.”
“I don’t care what you say. He’s just like you. He takes that music way too seriously. It’s like that with all of your friends. It’s like you live just for it. It’s like you whatever it says. He wouldn’t protect you if it said rape you f***ing girlfriend!” Marianne’s eyes were clouded with anger and determination.
“Shut-up!” I screamed. “You don’t understand anything. You think we’re all mindless followers but you’re wrong. You don’t know anything!” I pushed past her toward my room. I thought she would leave me alone but I heard her footsteps behind me. I tried unsuccessfully to push my door shut. The force she used to slam it back sent me stumbling.
“Enlighten me, why don’t you?” She shouted back. “What warped my little girl into this? What else made you put holes in your body and get stupid tattoos? What else taught you it was okay to not believe in Christianity?” I could see tears of confusion in her eyes and I felt pity and regret over not trying to make her understand.
It had been years since I had been her little girl. I had turned into my true self practically overnight. She had no say in the matter. I did it in the most secretive way, afraid of seeing her tears. Before she knew it I was pierced and tattooed and clad in black.
Inside, my transformation had been even more dramatic but she couldn’t see any of that. She couldn’t understand what had happened. Why it had happened. The only factor she could find was music. And so it took all of her anger.
It had been years since I had left child-like innocence behind and picked up a darker view of things and she still fought to tear my influences down. I thought she would give up, leave it alone after she realized that the old me wasn’t hiding behind music and disbelief. I thought she would at least accept it if she couldn’t understand. Yet here she was, still upset and unsure. Here she was with tears and anger directed at the music I chose to listen to. I suddenly realized that she would never understand unless I told her. She’d never understand that it wasn’t the music I listened to, that it was really me. I had to tell her because, even if I wasn’t her little girl anymore, I was still her daughter. She deserved to understand me. At least a little.
I had willingly blocked her out thinking that she would never understand if I told her. I had ignored her struggles to come to terms with it. I’d left her without any answers. She deserved an explanation, a chance to see what I see every day. She deserved a chance to see the truth. I’d been so determined to not give her that chance because I was sure it was hopeless. Now I felt a compelling need to tell her why my life had turned this way.
“Well?” she questioned me. “Are you going to answer me?” The silence got to her and she threw up her hands in defeat and turned away. When her back was to me it flew from my mouth in a jumble like mixed puzzle pieces. I struggled to make sense.
“It’s not the music. It’s never been the music. I’ve never made decisions based on the music. It doesn’t make me-us do anything. We cause the music. It’s not like we follow it blindly like it’s our religion. We listen because it’s us. It’s our lives, our beliefs. It’d be nothing but words if we didn’t bring it to life. It’s…we’re not a tool of the music. It’s our tool. We make it was it is. We make it a mosh pit. We make it an adrenaline fix at two in the morning. We make it incomprehensible to you because we need to. The music doesn’t cause us to do what we do. We cause the music to do what it does. It’s us and you just don’t understand it. Just like you don’t understand us…me.”
I watched her back slump and she stood in my doorway for a minute. Then, as if in defeat, she left my room and closed the door behind her.
I sighed and turned to my radio and flipped it on. The music blared as I settled into my bed. I closed my eyes and wondered if that was a signal to her defeat. I wondered if she gave up. After all, if she couldn’t understand the music than she could never understand me.

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