For those of you who don’t know, I have written songs since I was about twelve. It isn’t something that I decided to do one day, it’s something that came from the deep inner sanctum where who I am begins which I imagine to be somewhere near my intestines. What I’m saying is, it chose me. I wish I had been determined enough and driven enough to choose something like that for myself at that age but I wasn’t then.
It started as a coping mechanism. There was nothing else I could find that answered the loud and resounding questions that my emotions (from ages 13-14 these could also be referred to as “hormones” L O L) formulated in my heart. From the time I was young I’ve been very empathetic and sensitive: qualities I hide to the best of my ability when permissable for safety reasons. I didn’t know how to deal with the depth of feeling that I went through for my own pain and even more so for others. The best way I can describe it is that it’s like when you wake up and your arm is completely asleep, so you turn over to wake it up, and you have to sit through that incredibly uncomfortable and helpless feeling of the blood coming back into your limb, and there’s nothing you can do but sit and wait in that weird internal itchy and tingly pain that almost tickles but is miserable and just kind of see how long it’s gonna take because it could be five seconds or thirty minutes and you won’t know when it’s going to be over until it’s over. It’s like that. Only, all of those feelings are gripping emotions and all of that goes on in my heart for an unspecified time. And writing music was the only answer for it; the only way to work it out.
We had a piano in our dining room and I began to sit down and sound out what I felt. The piano was there for me, it listened to me. I would play for hours and let the sun go down so that I was playing in the dark. This is actually huge. Even now, when I’m singing for people, I have to close my eyes and imagine I’m in that dark room. I won’t always. I do now. But playing for other people was never my intention and when it came down to it, it was hard to digest that I would be exposing that part of me. If I wanted to be that honest with PEOPLE, I would have. But I wasn’t. I was honest with the piano because there was no judgment, just art. It was truth without consequence. Love without rejection. Every part of me exposed and exacted to explain how I REALLY felt. Some people never get to experience this. A lot of people spend their lives running from their emotions and don’t allow themselves to go the places that bring them to terms with their true feelings and opinions. I am so grateful that I didn’t follow this trend. Sitting down and sounding myself out became a guilty pleasure, almost. Even when I wanted to think that I didn’t feel a certain way, my fingers would lead me to truth. Once my hands were on the piano and my eyes closed, I found out what I was wrong or right about, regardless of preference.
That’s why I will always say that the piano knows me better than I do. It pulled honesty out of me when I wanted to cover up. I would come to the piano like a painter to a pallette, sit down ready to paint a picture with blue skies and daisies, and leave the portrait stained red. I would sometimes imagine playing for people, but in reality you only heard my music if I was to a certain point of comfortability with you. I guess I laid every part of me out in the sun, in that room, so I closed the door and made sure that sun only shined on my world for my eyes. I suppose it could be considered somewhat selfish, since art helps people in incredible ways. But I didn’t make it for anyone else, and so when I thought my music could help someone, I would show it to them in private. That way I could control the narrative. Hanging a canvas in the middle of the city leads people to independent interpretation, which is beautiful, except when that canvas is you and the things they’re interpreting are your scars.
One night, I was out having drinks with a friend and I began to tell him that I wrote music. He asked me why I hadn’t put anything out, and I answered that I didn’t know if I wanted to sing my own music because I wasn’t sure I wanted to be the face out of which my secrets exploded. But as we got deeper into conversation, I told him how the piano was a part of me; how I could play with my eyes closed because we understood each other; how my hands melted into it when I would write and how I was never insecure with it because I knew every inch of it and it knew every inch of me and we thought each other were beautiful. He said something, then, that changed everything for me. “It makes sense,” he said, “because for artists, their music IS them.”
Thats when I realized what a coward I’ve been. No wonder I didn’t want to be the face of my music. I’ve been running from being the face of myself. If I own my music, and live for it, like I’ve known I should’ve been my whole life, then I am putting my face on the front of a world of hurt, and naivety, and mistakes, and happiness, and exposure that I’ve been creating in secret hoping no one would ever see me outside of how I wanted them to. I’m scared of all that I am. I’m scared of my scars, and I’m scared of how powerful I might be, I’m scared of my darkness and I’m scared because I know that I can succeed.
I’ve finally decided to be honest about who I am. Which leaves me open to interpretation. The good news about that is, my music is an innate part of me. Something I’ve had in me that told me who I was from the time I was a kid. Not everyone has that, and I would be irresponsible to waste it. Some people spend their lives looking for it. My face is now branding something that holds the most fragile parts of me, but I’m finally not afraid of ridicule and exposure. The confidence that I’ve gained from admitting to myself who I am, has given me the right to determine who’s right about me. That’s power; and I’m finally not sorry for it.