And What I Lived For (Part 2)

Disclaimer: Nearly a stream of conscious mess. The following entry makes NO sense. But I don’t know how to fix it. So I’m going to leave it as is.

Punks are my people. And I miss my WNY best friends. They do what they want and tell it how it is. But also have the capacity to love more than anyone else. Those are generalizations, of course. Because, yes, they’re many things and come in many forms/varieties with different ideologies/attitudes.  Don’t try to absolutely define punk ideology because it changes with the times and the trends and the waves and the phases. Proof: the wiki. Punk is everything.

And that’s because you can’t really define a group of people. One of the few universal truths.

But for the most part, certain elements are true.

Punk rock is my soul. I can’t deny that. Dissent is my natural state.

More than anything, I believe in freedom and individualism. I will forever be an idealist who refuses to accept that things have to be a certain way. I will tell you exactly what I’m thinking even if it comes off as slightly abrasive. This doesn’t apply to older people. I respect them for the most part. I’m not about to get into it with my boss or someone’s parents or anything like that. I can be ridiculously sweet when I need to be.

Rebellion and independence and dissatisfaction and holding people accountable are all I’ve ever known in terms of how I’ve lived. Revolutions and social justice and counterculture used to be the only things I cared about.

I think I realized recently, for the first time, that hostility is more than just my current state or a temporary state that I go through sometimes. It’s kind of always been part of my spirit. I guess it’s only “hostility” when I’m actively unkind/disagreeable/unsympathetic/selfish/narcissistic. The other times, better words for the state are probably “opposition,” “defiance,” “noncompliance,” or “resistance.” One of my life advice friends says that he and I have “polarity responder” tendencies. He pointed out the fact that if it’s not honed, you can push people away.

I push people away. That’s the truth. But I was semi-incorrect about why. I knew it was the hostility. But I guess I didn’t realize the hostility part was permanent. The reason I’m pushing them away for the time being (and why I have in the past) is because I’m bad at honing the hostility in the aftermath of certain life events. Usually those where my heart is broken and my walls go up and my entire mentality becomes the “I don’t give a fuck” attitude. It’s not because the hostility only exists at certain points. It’s always there. I’m just more capable of controlling it and/or providing an outlet for it at some points in my life than others.

This doesn’t change my resolve to be less hostile right now. I’m still a firm believer in the fact that I just need to get it all out and then move on. I don’t know what else you’re supposed to do when you put it all on the line for a person and give them everything you have and open yourself completely and then get none of that in return. I think it’s ok to actively be on a defensive plan of attack after that. Not forever, of course. But at least for a little while until you heal a bit.

This realization does change how I see the situation and myself though. Hostility is not temporary. It’s part of me. But that can be a really great thing if used the correct way. I’m going to accomplish a lot of things that other people don’t have the motivation for because of this spirit I was born with. I’m obviously kind of bad at fighting for myself. But when it comes to fighting on behalf of others, I will knock you out. Not physically, of course, because I don’t condone violence. But when it comes to fighting for love or justice or freedom or peace or equality or anything like that, I’ll try forever. Obviously, punk isn’t necessarily about taking the defiance and doing anything constructive with it. But I’ve always been unable to live unless something constructive is coming out of what I’m doing.

On the drive home on Friday night, I think I sang my lungs out the whole way. It was a freedom catharsis like none other. I’m settling back into myself and it’s starting to feel right again. Between all the shows, roadtrips, and 80s nights in the last few weeks, I’m definitely losing my voice and my hearing. Soon, I won’t be able to communicate at all.

Speaking of shows, the Shamrock N Roll fest solidified my roadtrip epiphany. I can’t remember the last time I went to a punk show. The Street Dogs took me back to everything I was before I met Matt. I don’t know what happened or how I got away from that. In that moment, I knew I was finally free and also that I could never shut any part of myself down ever again. For anyone or for any situation.

Also, CHUCK RAGAN IS PHENOMENAL LIVE. It was him with an acoustic guitar and harmonica and his ridiculous voice + some guy playing a standup base + some amazing guy playing a fiddle. Honestly, one of the top 5 things I’ve ever seen. And that’s saying a lot because I’ve been to a ton of shows. I’m exclusively listening to Chuck Ragan on my way back to Pittsburgh tonight.

The Stiff Little Fingers were there too. It was like the time I saw Bob Dylan. Definitely one of those “I have to pinch myself because this isn’t real” feelings. You can’t encounter old school greatness like that and not be floored. They played all my favorite SLF songs.  My 17 year old self would never believe me if I tried to tell her that it actually happened.

Probable scenario:
24 year old Liz: Someday, you will see the Stiff Little Fingers live. Jake Burns will be right in front of you.
17 year old Liz: I don’t believe it. That’s too awesome/epic to be true.

And the Dropkick Murphys were obviously awesome. I would put them on a list of top 10 bands  that every person has to see in concert before they die regardless of any personal preferences for certain types of genres he/she may have. You can hardly have more fun at any other show. It’s a powerfully good time.

And I already mentioned the fact that the Street Dogs changed my life… so, yeah. They were obviously great too. They played Guns of Brixton. I think I died from happiness.

And life is amazing anytime you hear two Johnny Cash songs at one show.

Long story short: I know exactly what I’m living for. Live music and the realization of idealistic goals. These are no different from 7 years ago. I just got a little sidetracked somehow. But I’m rapidly getting back into who I need to be and what I need to be doing.

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