I have always been in love with the dark, the bleak, the desolate, the gray and abused. I’ve always been struck by the black, monochrome and heavy. In everything, I would say my tastes lean to the darker. I prefer rooms with the lights off (and music on). What does that say about me? I’ll tell you later.
Now, I’m not goth. At least not goth in the sense of the people who wear gigantic clothes with straps and clasps that don’t appear to have any use (a look Michael Jackson sported a tighter version of in his Bad era). I have never worn makeup outside of Halloween. I don’t hate my parents or really much of anything at all. I like jeans that fit and I’m transitioning my wardrobe to be able to wear collared shirts of some sort all the time. Typically my shirts are on the tightish side, but not in a “I fight in a cage” sort of way.
I like the gray, industrial skeletons of cities like Pittsburgh. I like the coal-factory-stained brick of block after block and the semi-abandoned look and feel of even some of the vibrant areas like The Strip District and Lawrenceville. I like the gothic tower of Pitt’s Cathedral of Learning. I like movies like American History X, Fight Club, Trainspotting, The Mothman Prophecies, Pi, Gran Torino, No Country for Old Men and movies that relentlessly beat you up. I also like the more stereotypically but gloriously dark movies by Tim Burton. I haven’t seen a movie of his that I don’t like. I like TV shows like Criminal Minds and Autopsy shows with Michael Baden.
The place this affinity is probably most apparent is in my music tastes. I like the spectrum of music, but many of my favorites lean to the darker side. I watched a documentary on Metal this past weekend called Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey which covered the whole, HUGE metal genre from an anthropological standpoint. I’ve watched it before, but it totally sucks me in every time (as does American Hardcore). I hum along to the soundtrack of Motorhead, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Motley Crue, and a variety of thrash bands. The narrator goes to Norway to explore the anti-church bands (like Mayhem) found there and finds much of their hate is not related to the genre but instead related to long-standing problems with the church that exist in the Norwegian culture.
I think in the USA, many Christian metal bands stand at the forefront of the new hardcore sound, particularly Underoath.
I know I am judged harshly by some people because I have tattoos, because I listen to metal and crave the harsh beating of a mosh pit even at my old age (28 as of time of publishing), because I’d rather play minor chords on my guitar than go play basketball (typically). I think my affinity for these dark things makes me dangerous to some people. It is an obvious manifestation that I’m going to have opinions, and sometimes I’m going to get…passionate about things. It means I’m willing and ready to fight.
I have sometimes felt that I have been called to stand in the gaps on the front line and secure a place where other people can feel comfortable. I used to get a little pissed that I didn’t get credit for what I felt were obvious sacrifices while the people behind me seemed adored. But you know what? I HAVE gotten credit where it counts. I don’t need people to see how hard I work…thought it’s very nice when they do. As I prepare to return to the front line as a part of Revolution Annapolis, I think I’m in a place I never got to at Common Ground; a place where I’m confidant, yet reliant on God and not dependent on affirmation. I hope I get some affirmation, but I know I’m doing what I’m supposed to, and God’s going to equip me for whatever gets in the way, so if I don’t get it, I’ll joyfully (rather than grudgingly) stay in the fight.
Bring on some metal. Bring on the punk rock. Bring on the pain. This is going to be fun!