Sometimes, people ask me about how punk rock has shaped my life. Well, obviously quite a bit since I’ve used the term in my branding here on my website. On a few occasions, some people who are older than me have said that I’m too young to have remembered 1970’s punk. (I know this will give away my age, but I don’t care. I was born in 1972.)
My answer to that is usually those naysayers were too young to remember punk rock too, since it started in the late 1960’s with Iggy and the Stooges and the MC5 in Detroit. (Yeah, I need to represent since I’m a life-long Detroiter.)
Other people will throw the term “poseur” around quite a bit. I’m a bit eclectic in my musical tastes. It confuses people. My true friends get me, so I’m blessed in that department.
Of course, I don’t like to give a f*ck about what people think of me or my tastes. I think this idea is a great way to start my list of 10 Things That Punk Rock Taught Me About Life:
1) What others think of me is none of my business. This is one of the hardest things to practice–at least for me. I joke nowadays that I’m getting too old to care about what people think of me. I know some might say that I’m too old to go to certain concerts, wear punk rock clothing, or like certain things. You know what they say about opinions, right? I don’t think I have to type it all out for you. There always will be naysayers or people who don’t get you. Who cares? Do what feels right to you. If you are happy, having fun, and are not hurting anyone, why does it matter what others think?
2) Be the real you. This one is similar to #1 above. Life is not a dress rehearsal, so be the real deal. Don’t try to impress anyone. Don’t try to be a watered-down version of someone else. Be you (since everyone else is taken).
3) DIY is a lie. For years, I’ve been a DIY (Do-It-Yourself) type of gal. This is part of the punk rock ethos, doing things yourself. It works really well for making cupcakes, sewing your own clothing, building your own porch/deck, producing your own music, but not so much with some things. I myself have sometimes had to hire coaches. I also hired someone to make me graphics. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign that you are a human and can’t do it all. Accept that help is sometimes needed.
4) Learn the rules so that you know how to break them. I have never seemed to fit into the norm. Working for The Man in Corporate America never worked out for me. I tend not to believe in blindly following authority. However, I have discovered that it’s good to know the rules in any given situation. Then, you know how to break them in your own way. There always are loopholes. I’m not talking about breaking the law or committing crimes here, by the way. I’m talking about familiarizing yourself with what is required so that you can use your creative talents to get around the rules. You have to find your own way with this, but I have found resisting never seems to work. So, I prefer to be CREATIVE. It’s much more fun and well, easier.
5) Question everything. I don’t ever like to take things at face value. I like to question everything, especially the rules (even though I advocate learning them so you can break them!). Any time someone comes along saying that their way is the only or best way, I really question things. I always tell clients to only take what resonates with their inner knowing. Just because someone is a psychic, healer, leader, expert, or guru, it doesn’t mean that they necessarily know what is best for you. Only you know what is best for you.
6) Rebel in your own way. I smile whenever I read about the Straight Edge punk rock movement. Here you have kids and people being punk within the punk rock movement, swearing off things like violence, sex, and using alcohol and drugs. I relate a bit to this rebellion within a rebellion, although I do like a Pabst Blue Ribbon or Corona now and then. My own personal rebellion is to be loving. Yes, you read that correctly! I am polite, kind, and friendly to everyone I meet (I try my best to be this way, but I’m not always perfect with it). Part of me gets a delight in doing this since so many people can seem so busily self-absorbed in today’s modern world. I don’t want to be self-absorbed. I like to be fully engaged in life. I like the idea of random acts of kindness like holding doors open for people, letting them cut into traffic, or talking to cashiers like they are real people, not machines. Try it and see what happens. You might be surprised.
7) Be seen and be heard. I always feel a bit of me light up whenever I hear that opening line of Poly Styrene and the X-Ray Spex’s song, “Oh Bondage! Up Yours!” Often, yes, women grow up with this notion that we should be seen and not heard. I was shocked one time when I realized how quietly I was playing my electric guitar. Hubby cranked my volume up and I started to hit the strings harder. Wow, I didn’t even realize that I was doing this quiet guitar playing. Soon after, I found myself speaking up more about important issues. I found this part of me again in my late 30’s. More and more, it’s hard to be silent because of the creativity that wants to pour out of me, along with just feeling like my voice is needing to be heard. The more you speak up as a woman, the more it opens the door for other women to speak up too. It helps to heal everyone in the end.
8) Life doesn’t have to be hard. I used to come from the school of thought that the harder the life lessons, the more you evolve spiritually. This is such bullshit. It’s possible to learn lessons through fun, joy, and laughter. It’s just a different set of beliefs and thoughts, that’s all. In my younger days, I thought it was me against the world. This is such a limiting belief because it didn’t open me up to meeting as many like-minded people as possible. If you open yourself up to the idea that life is fun and actually really good, it’s possible to meet fun people to share your journey of life with. You’re not meant to suffer. That’s just a belief or idea that can be changed.
9) Music is healing. When difficulties arise with the corresponding challenging emotions and feelings, it can be too easy to numb yourself or self-medicate with chemicals. I have found music, especially punk rock to be a very healing, transformative tool. When you need to process through emotional issues, punk can be catalytic. It mobilizes you to get off the couch. It’s hard to wallow in your own misery with good tunes. I find it makes me at least sing or pick up my guitar. Or, I might journal to the music. I find it snaps me out of wanting to stay in that dark place. I give myself a deadline though. I don’t want to dwell too long in the sadness. (Of course, if you are depressed or anxious, please see the appropriate health care professional for your situation! It’s okay to get help!)
10) Sensitivity is a gift. When I was growing up, I was told that I was too sensitive. I always have been an emotional empath, which means that I feel others’ emotional stuff, in addition to my own at times. I’ve learned how to manage this better as a young adult, but from time to time, I can feel self-conscious about being so sensitive. As I’ve traveled along the punk rock path of life, I’ve met others who are sensitive. These people are my tribe, often being artists, musicians, healers, creatives, and activists. Punk rock has a reputation for being in-your-face, loud, edgy, and bad ass.
But, there sometimes is a quiet edge that some of us punk rockers have inside of us. We channel those angst-y feelings into our art or life’s work. We use our passions to move us towards helping others and being of service to the planet. I like Joe Strummer’s quote, “In fact, punk rock means EXEMPLARY MANNERS TO YOUR FELLOW HUMAN BEING.” That about sums it up for me.
I’d love to hear about what punk rock has personally taught you too! Please feel free to write a comment here. I’d love to hear about your punk rock journey through life!
Blessings and gratitude,
©2011, Lisa, Punk Rock Psychic™, http://punkrockpsychic.com