Have you ever come across a person that can make you cry with a single word? Not any specific word, just anything. It’s not so much the word that holds the importance. It’s the person. It’s always the person. Have you ever found a person that could make you cry with just a word because their voice speaks volumes when compared to what their current words may mean? [“I have to poop.” “OH. MY GOD. sobsobsobtearscry. I KNOW RIGHT!?”] They say one thing but their tone, cadence, fluidity says, “I know. I understand. I want you know that I do.”
I’m not sure if this is called relating to a person or what, but if it is… I just have to wonder, why did relating to a person come so late in my life? And how did I ever think I was relating to a person previously? I’d like to believe I’ve been able to relate to people before I found this specific person. This walking, talking, breathing example of hope. I’d like to think that my friendships with people though out school weren’t fruitless. I hope we really did understand and relate to one another. I hope.
In high school I started listening to this band called The Dresden Dolls. They had cd’s I picked up off of a friend. I still have those exact burnt copies she made me. I know where they are right now, I can picture the stiff, rigid lines that make up her letters. How narrow and close they are. No, Virginia… and Yes, Virginia… Jammed with pianos, strings, percussion, yelling, theatre, typewriters, paper ripping, crashing dishes, and raw emotion. I had never heard anything like it. I was baffled and amazed, I spent that year’s summer vacation learning everything I could about the duo.
In 2004 I fell in love with Amanda Palmer.I don’t believe that at all to be an exaggeration. I really do believe that part of me did fall in love with this woman. It’s silly to think about but it was right around the time I was becoming exposed to all of the things young teens are generally exposed to and then in turn, want. I had dealt with a handful of things on my own that I kept to myself, things my parents still don’t know about to this day because I don’t know how to explain why I didn’t ask for help. Amanda had led an interesting life thus far. I read it in her blogs, I heard it in her songs, I felt it in her voice. She was someone I felt close to even though I had never even met her.
I saw pictures of Amanda dressed up in wedding gowns, sweat, and heavy body hair. Her armpits exploded with bushy pride and she always had such a brilliant smile decorating her lips. I wanted to be free. I read stories from other fans about their meetings with Amanda. About how they would go back and forth sharing their stories, they would stare each other in the face, say not a single word, and the tears would come. I wanted to be vulnerable. She painted her eyebrows in and got naked in the name of art. I wanted to be confident. She cried while looking back at a room full of people who knew how she felt, that she knew felt like her. I wanted to be seen and not just looked at. She did whatever she wanted to, so positively, so passionately, so freely. I wanted to love myself. She kissed females in public because she could, because she liked to. I wanted to kiss one of my female friends on the mouth and tell her all of my secrets without feeling shame, without feeling guilt.
But most of all she had overcome some serious things. It seemed as though she had, what I read said she did. I wanted to accomplish that. I kept Amanda close to my heart, in my mind, because she represented hope and in a way, a possible outcome to my current feelings. I could be content one day, also. She proved that to me. I could be comfortable in my own skin one day if I wanted to be.
I never fully lost my interest in Amanda. I listened to my copies of the Dresden Dolls album’s relentlessly, I bought Who Killed Amanda Palmer? the album when it came out, and spent an extensive amount of time and Newbury Comics, reading and reading again the book that was to accompany said cd. Then I think, I lost my interest in keeping up with music because I discovered alcohol and getting drunk was something I liked to do instead of most things for about two years or so. Once that settled down though, I got back to where I was. I did some sleuthing and discovered that my radical lady had been doing very, very well for herself. I felt like a proud parent, my heart swelled. I’m serious. I think it truly did. I felt something, anyway. It traveled up my throat in a giant lump and my eyes stung as the tears tried to push out oversized through my ducts.
Amanda had fallen in love, got married, was working on a play, about to release a book, traveled all over the world, did a TED talk on crowd funding and learning how to ask, was about to go on a book tour, gave the middle finger to her record label, was funded by her beautiful fans to create a more than glorious record (entitled Threatre is Evil, in case you wanted to get down on that. It’s available for free on her website), worked with so many amazing artists, and I just… I felt like I needed to cry or hug her. I wanted her to know that at another time in life, she had found a way to fill me with hope again.
God. I fucking love Amanda Palmer.
I bought the Art of Asking and have only been able to read it a few pages at a time. Every time I read a bit more, I’m shook. I’m used to relating to stories by fitting my own life occurrences to them- tweaking details so my story is a bit similar. Finding parallels that just barely exist. I’m not used to reading someone else’s story and being able to relate to it because it’s also my story. Maybe not all of it. But the things that I do find that are terribly comparable mean the world to me and sometimes cause me to feel anxious, overwhelmed. I believe that, that overwhelming feeling is love. Some kind of weird, pure, true, honest, thankful, grateful love. The kind that understands, wants to comfort. The kind, like I mentioned, that says, “I know. I understand. I want you to know that.”
I’m twenty-four now. It’s been ten years since I first fell for Amanda Palmer and her vulnerable, honest, loving way of life. I don’t shave for weeks if I don’t want to. I wear dresses with boots. I live in a fragile state of sensitive vulnerability because I think it’s the most honest way to go about living. I shade my eyebrows in until they’re thick like caterpillars. Nudity for the sake of art no longer makes me uncomfortable. I feign confidence because that’s all that confidence is. Faking it, winging it. I feel like I know a handful of people who truly see me and don’t just look at me. I kiss people because I love them and care about them. I kiss based on feelings not on gender, I kiss based on feelings and not on wanting to feel feelings. I never got the chance to tell my friend how badly I wanted to kiss her on the mouth and tell her all my secret plans to take over the world. I’ve come to realize that it doesn’t and won’t ever matter. I don’t feel ashamed or guilty for wanting to show people affection anymore. I’ve learned how to love myself and in turn, I’ve learned to love others more.
Most importantly though, I’ve learned to let go and overcome. I’ve learned to not forget, but surely forgive.
I don’t give Amanda credit for all of these things. I believe that they would have happened and worked out because that’s the only choice I have given myself; to figure it out. But I will say, my beloved Amanda Fucking Palmer has been an amazing driving force, co-pilot, friend, pillar of shining rebellious hope, and faux-lover for the last ten years.
I feel so very, very lucky to have discovered someone who can sing about a woman’s pubic hair and still manage to bring me to my knees. What a beautiful, talented woman.
Here is Amanda Palmer covering Lua by Bright Eyes for your listening pleasure.
Over and out.
ps. today at Newbury Comic’s an older gentleman said “excuse me, young man” in my general direction. I didn’t know the correct way to deal with this when it’s a stranger and not simply a friend fucking with me. So I smiled and said, “uh, yeah! definitely!”