Saturday, 18 July 2009

Identity.

I used to be someone else.

But didn't everyone, really? People change. Things happen. Your clothes change, your hair, your taste in reading and music and even friends, sometimes. You can't remain the same forever.

I used to wear Doc Martens and ripped jeans. A leather jacket. I used to wear earrings like this in the three holes in one ear. I used to dye my hair black or red. I used to wear band t-shirts almost exclusively. (Ah, Metallica t-shirts, where did you go? Even though I don't really listen to them any more, I'd still like to see you one more time.)

The thing that makes me sad is that I don't even know when I stopped, or why. I can tell you when and why I stopped wearing makeup - and roughly when I started to again, albeit only occasionally. I can tell you when (near enough) and why I cut my hair really short (and nearly made my mum cry). I can tell you when and why I went veggie, when and why I stopped eating dairy (although noone ever really understands so I'd rather not get into it right now, thank you).

But when and why I stopped being that girl? I haven't got a clue.

It started to come back about three years back. I started going to see bands again. Got some band t-shirts. Started to dye my hair red again. But...

I still wasn't the same me. The old me.

But then. Eighteen months or so back I got back in touch with an old, old friend. One I haven't seen in years, who I've known since I was 16, or thereabouts (...so quite a while ago). She has cool parents, who have good taste in music and are pretty laid-back - but I introduced her to a certain band (who we both still obsess over now) and through that she ended up with her now-husband. And she still wears docs, and when she's not at work she still wears goth-inspired clothing, although I would class her (like I did myself back in the day) a "too-happy-to-be-a-goth".

We hadn't been in touch for years, before I saw her outside the Manchester Apollo after watching
that certain band in 2007. I'd suspected she might be there, and I suddenly realised how horribly much I missed her. We got back in touch; we've met up a few times since then. It's good to see her again.

And then she and I (and her husband) went to see
that certain band last Tuesday. And in preparation I put on a DVD last Sunday. And suddenly - quite, quite unexpectedly - I was throwing myself round my living room. And moshing.

I haven't moshed in years. Let alone at home on my own in the middle of a Sunday afternoon.

I was so excited to go and see the band. I was standing - two people back from the barrier by halfway through, and I stayed there til the bitter end. They were amazing. Excellent. Awe-inspiring. I was bouncing up and down on the way back to the car. My friend and I obsessed (mostly about Trent) all the way back to hers, where I stayed before coming back home on Wednesday morning.

I feel like I've suddenly rediscovered who I really am. I'm using all three of those holes in my ears again. I want some boots again. I even went to Kathmandu today. It's not that I want to reject everything I've done over the past few years - I can wear heels now, I can wear makeup or leave it off; I'm doing quite well for myself, really - but I need to incorporate the two together. I need to be me, again.

I'm quite happy with hole-free jeans though. Some things really are better left behind.

13 comments:

trousers said...

I shall come back to read this, and maybe comment, again - but my gut response is simply that this is lovely.

B said...

Thanks trousers. Hope you do comment again :)

Leatherdykeuk said...

I love that band, but it much darker connotations for me.

Welcome back, old you :)

B said...

Hi Rachel - can I ask what you mean? That the band has dark connotations, or that listening to them does for you? Or something else entirely?

and, thank you. I'm happy to be back :)

SpiralSkies said...

I find this whole concept fascinating... the novel I wrote was based on the pretext of 'being grown up enough to be yourself'. It's not as easy as it sounds.

I think we wear different personas over the years, shrugging them on and off like overcoats. It takes a long time to realise that we can pick, choose and adopt the bits that fit well.

I love that you've picked up those parts of 'you' again. Wear them well X

B said...

Thanks Jenny. Like I say, I just can't believe it took me so long to realise. I've felt more me the last few days than I have in years. It feels good :)

Are you doing anything with that novel??? I can't believe I've never asked before.

Mosher said...

The best Metallica shirt I owned was an all-over print with a collage of bits of their old album sleeves on it. It came out around the time of the black album. And my first girlfriend stole it when she dumped me. Cow.

I've not done the growing up part. I spent the best part of three days in Belgium a couple of weeks ago in one pit or another, kicking crap out of likeminded individuals. The main difference between now and 15+ years ago is that this is about the only exercise I get any more and I'm absolutely buggered after the first three songs.

B said...

Mosher - growing up=overrated. Don't bother. I have a 'grown up' job, and that was part of the problem - I started to be someone different in work and out of work, and the in-work persona started to take over. I'm more balanced now, just for realising.

I'd LOVE to know where my Metallica t-shirts got to. One of those mysteries of life.

Who've you been seeing? I've still got a few good'uns coming up this year, but nothing's going to beat NIN for me.

Mosher said...

I kind of grew up as far as getting a house was concerned. Never stopped going to gigs. Hell, before I left the UK I was subscribing to Metal Hammer. Going abroad has lowered the gig count (I used to average a big one each month) purely as I can't guarantee being somewhere at the right time to catch an act.

Around the time I was leaving the UK I missed out on Bowling for Soup and Rammstein. I had tickets for Machine Head/Dragonforce a couple of years ago but had to give them away as I got the job in France.

While travelling I've seen Weird Al in Sydney, Fear Factory / Devildriver in Brisbane and Slayer/Mastodon in Perth. Aside from that, I've still managed to get to Graspop in Belgium the last couple of years. It's like Download in the UK but smaller, cheaper and with a higher metal:commercial crap ratio.

Last year's headliners: Maiden, Priest and Kiss. This year: Marilyn Manson, Motley Crue and Slipknot. Band of the weekend this year, though, were Anthrax. Hatebreed were also awesome, Papa Roach were as good as ever, Pestilence have lost nothing in 15 years, W.A.S.P. rocked, Sacred Reich worth seeing after all these years... then there were Dragonforce, Soulfly, Down, Lamb of God, Disturbed and about 40 more.

And they were just this year's bill.

Dave said...

This great and I'd like to comment, but I don't know where to start. Suffice to say (for now) that I used to be someone else too. Sometimes I forget who I was and I'm not happy about that!

trousers said...

Wow - lots of comments on this one, but I haven't read them all yet. Anyway the reason I said that this post was lovely, was that it was very timely for me. It just sort of chimes, and also serves as an affirmation.

Sometimes I feel like maybe I'm just trying to hang on to my youth, what with the various band t-shirts I have and the fact that so much of my disposable income goes on cds and vinyl.

I think I'd have more grounds to worry about myself if (say) I was trying to take fashion tips from The Horrors, but no - music is and always has been a big part of my life, and hopefully always will be. A reflection of - or an extension of - identity and all that. And certainly it's not about trying to impress anyone else (not anymore), it's being comfortable with what I like.

I read a quote which sums a lot of it up (for me, that is) -

Old enough to know better
Wise enough not to care

B said...

mosher: god i used to love machine head. all these bands that i was really into and they just got away from me. oh god and i remember when soulfly were new and everyone was saying that max cavalera would never go anywhere without sepultura. god now i feel even older!!!!!

dave - if you're happy with who you are now, then that's ok. (as long as the memory doesn't desert you for too long!) if, though, you feel you've lost out and aren't happy, do something about it. life's too short to waste being someone you're not. i can't believe how long it's taken me to work this out.

trousers - just don't ever take fashion tips from slipknot, OK?! i think as long as you can avoid that you'll be ok. i will watch myself carefully over the next ten years, though. will the me that's me now still be me when i'm 43? 53? 63?

you're like me, i think. music flows through your veins where the blood should be. i wish i'd learned guitar when i first wanted to. i used to play viola and play as part of a youth orchestra. i still miss the buzz from playing on a stage, from being part of a bigger whole, but i'd never go back to it now. i do wish we had the money/space for a piano though.

Mosher said...

Max did well enough with Soulfly, but believe me - Cavalersa Conspiracy *ruled* Graspop last year when the two brothers started playing the old Sepultura material.

And talking of rediscovering old stuff, I'm off to write a blog post about Pantera...