I have had the misfortune of having my heart broken. The allegations against Marilyn Manson made me sad. I hope these things are untrue, but the main argument that I’ve heard is the accusers waited too long, so they’re lying. Like many artists, I have to pour my feelings into my craft, or the anger builds and becomes a kind of poison that will flow through my veins and ruin my days until I relieve the pain.
With that said, I was a very angry kid. I was born with a disability and struggled with pain and learning disabilities. I was one of those kids who could be found in the art room, painting or reading in an effort to avoid my peers. Books and music became my world. If I had my nose in a book, I had a way to go anywhere in the world. Books took me to magical lands. Music was my way to rebel. As a youngster, I blasted music by Hawthorne Heights and thought I was a badass.
When I went to high school, I discovered Marilyn Manson, ICP, The Grateful Dead, and I found Janis Joplin and her lust for life and art. I saw her as my kindred soul.
I hated life, and when I found this music, looking back on it, I saw this music as a way to express my individuality. I wanted to be such an individual and communicate this burning inner rage and feeling like a trapped animal. I saw the flower children of the 1960s as peaceful and free. I wanted all these things.
I was envious of Even Rachel Wood. When I saw the heart-shaped glasses music video, I went to Forever 21 and bought myself a pair of heart-shaped glasses; they were pink and white checkers.
I thought the abuse was my fault. I wanted to atone for my sins, so I got good grades, and I never got in trouble at school, unless you count wearing plaid pajama pants to school and getting written up. I felt the need to be good because I felt like I had done wrong, but inside that hard shell, there lived a little girl suffering.
Due to financial difficulties and emotional strain, my parents separated. I was too young to understand what trouble money could be and how much stress could affect relationships. I blamed myself for my family separation.
I always have trouble relating to people, so I would make up stories to make myself seem more interesting, and I would force my parents to buy me clothes they couldn’t afford in a fruitless attempt to be cool. I still miss my Band shirt collection. I was a very lost kid.
I was a victim of sexual assault, and those scars have been with me for a long time. When it happened, I was too young to understand the emotional impact of what happened. My abuser manipulated me, and I didn’t want to deal with the pressure of continuously hearing from other kids at school about what a piece of crap I was for supposedly lying. I didn’t want to deal with drama. I took back the claim. I regret that every day of my life. Marilyn Manson’s music helped me deal with a lot of the anger because I wanted someone to be angry with. When you don’t know how to articulate your feelings, it’s easier to have someone who feels them for you. More importantly, someone I deemed wiser and smarter and more successful than I was telling me my anger was okay.
I spent many nights dreaming about a life that I didn’t think I could have: a happy, successful life, a life that I didn’t think I deserved. I felt that no one cared that I was hurting. I attempted to speak out, but people around me manipulated me and made me believe that somehow I made a mistake, that somehow I enjoyed what happened to me or that I was wrong about it. I’m still unsure why I would have to lie about something that could be so damaging. I felt like people were judging me. I thought that my family didn’t love me. After all, they would turn a blind eye when I would cry myself to sleep at night or be unable to use a public bathroom because I was afraid of being molested or secretly watched while merely trying to perform a natural human function.
I’ve grown a lot since those days. I am still a Metalhead emo kid and love everything about the late Janis Joplin. As of typing this, I’m double majoring in a master’s program at Southern New Hampshire University. My damaged mental health kept me from going to my dream school in an on-campus setting because I was too afraid to leave home and be vulnerable to another attack. But that didn’t stop me from getting a degree, and now I’m using my degree to help other victims because I use my skills and communication to intern with a nonprofit that helps people who were victims of unspeakable crimes.
I’ve been very torn over the issue of the allegations facing Marilyn Manson. In a way, I’m incredibly grateful to the man who helped me through a dark time in my life, a time when I genuinely wanted to die. I do think anyone would care if I did. But the truth is I stand with all survivors because I know what it feels like to be alone. I know what it feels like to feel shame and hurt and confusion. There were times that I thought that I brought the attack on myself in some way. The most important thing that I’ve learned is that what happened to me was not my fault. I am not to blame, despite any character flaws or the fact that I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, that I trusted the wrong people, and that people around me had stigmas against the “weirdest kid in school.”
The thing that I keep hearing when bringing up the allegations are disgusting remarks like “obviously that person wants attention,” or “enough time has gone by why can’t they just get over it,” or “some people fantasize about being raped.” Those are all things I heard when I was trying to grieve, and that kind of talk was why I didn’t speak up. Marks like this can destroy a person.
I’m writing this because, very often, I feel guilty. After all, I was a teenager when I was abused, and I am an adult. I have many negative feelings toward myself because I didn’t speak up and I didn’t get help sooner, but I never realized how afraid I was of retaliation until recently. I can hear that vial person threatening to slit my dog’s throat if I didn’t do as they commanded, and then pretending to cry to the school resource officer because I was “lying and trying to ruin their life.” I’ve let my life pass me by, and I regret that.
As of today, I am trying my best to keep focused on the progress that, at times, can be extremely slow and frustrating. Other times, it’s painful because I’m reliving every event. But I don’t want any survivors ever to feel alone. Every time I take it upon myself, I can tell survivors they are loved because I know it hurts. There are days that I feel like I’m never going to get better. There are days I have so many fears about what other people will say, but at the end of the day, I’m doing the right thing for myself.
I still admire free-spirits; I view my therapy as my first step to being free. I’m dreaming again. I want to travel around the world.
It’s most important to acknowledge feelings in recovery. Throughout the day that I found out about the allegations against Marilyn Manson, I allowed myself to cry, to feel anger and hurt towards someone who has no idea I looked up to him. I’ve decided to come away from this with the lessons I’ve learned.
I’ve learned to be myself. I’ve learned that I love writing and creating macabre and scary things. I’ve come to believe that gender roles are stupid. I will always appreciate those lessons, which is part of me becoming the person I’m supposed to be in breaking through the chains that society wrapped around me. I want to say that I believe you and remember that you are valued and strong.
Featured Image by Keely Messino