The first Decline of Western Civilization had a huge impact on my evolution in this world.
About five years ago, I was your typical soft spoken, shy, somewhat naive Asian girl with a lot of anger burning within. I was just starting out with the whole band thing and my guitar player at the time showed me this film.
Upon watching it, I was instantly captivated. There was this overwhelming feeling in the pit of my stomach that I can only describe as the antithesis of alienation.
My whole life I never felt as if I really fit in anywhere, here was a place all along that felt so right to me. A place I felt I could finally belong and just be me.
Basically, my thought process at the time was something like...
"...my whole life I've felt like a freak. And here's a place where even BIGGER freaks congregate. Freaks that say and do freakish things that piss off the majority, while being applauded by their peers! Hell, I might even be a LESSER freak in this kind of environment!"A comforting thought.
I felt I had found a place where I could flourish in life. Within it's realm a stage and an outlet to voice all the anger and frustration I had never been able to purge from my body.
My only form of self expression before singing had been the fine arts. Specifically painting, which quite frankly, really didn't do it for me in the wake of all the anger and frustration within.
On the screen, a crowd thrashed around in black and white. Riots were breaking out. A swirling mass of energy triggered by words. Words that came from a place deep within the pit of this person's being, forced out through uninhibited screams that looked like bliss.
I recognized that place the words were coming from. Different circumstances, yet the same emotional turmoil, anger, frustration. I knew those feelings intimately. Most of my life I longed to be rid of them.
I thought to myself;
"I'm angry! I have shit to yell about! I want my words to invoke such passion in people! I want to play a show and trigger something of a mass hysteria! I want riots to break out and things to be on fire! I WANT THAT. ALL OF THAT."So I yelled.
I was angry.
In an unrelated, (or maybe it was completely related) event, I got fired from the soul sucking job that for years had treated me like a piece of shit no matter how hard I worked or how innovative I was.*
At that job, I was a woman in a boys club, therefore, I was a piece of shit. My boss liked to make sure the women in the organization knew their place. Especially me, for reasons I will never know. Being treated like shit daily, while being made to jump through impossible hoops, with a proverbial carrot dangled just out of reach, can really piss a person off after a while.
When they finally fired me for reasons bordering on "just because," I felt incredibly cheated and used by that company. It felt very much like being cheated and used by someone you thought you were mutually in love with.
After that, I felt like there was something wrong with me. If i could work so hard, be such a good employee and still get fired, I was probably doomed at any job. I decided I was flawed and possibly just was not cut out to be a normal human being. I decided to devote all my newfound freedom to advancing my music career and see how far it could take me.
And you know what? Three years later I am not so angry anymore.
I watch old videos of myself right as I had embarked on my journey and come into my own in my singing and performance. I was SO ANGRY. It is startling to me now.
It's quite a contrast to my current style, which is almost a satire of my former self. I don't feel this pervasive sense of anger when I sing like I used to. Sometimes, I even feel silly trying to replicate being as angry as I was before. Because i am not.
So now, I embrace the silliness of trying to tap into that anger when I am no longer angry. The anger is gone, I am now having fun.
Many of my songs come from a place of bitter hurt and anger. The song itself is the antidote. Over time it washes the anger away, becoming pure fun. It is a wonderful thing.
My life has been enriched by my accomplishments ever since I decided to devote my life to music full force. One of the reasons I've made such strides in a short amount of time is because I have taken great care in cultivating good relationships with people. If you genuinely give a shit about other people, they are more likely to give a shit about you. If you really jive with those people, amazing shit is bound to happen. It's a simple formula that many people seem to neglect.
Try taking an interest in someone else without your own agenda lingering in the background. You'll be surprised.
I work with such good hearted, hard working and talented people. Not Dead Yet Records and The Theadora Kelly Project work together in tandem, constantly reevaluating our goals with one another to make sure our big pictures are in alignment. That we are all working for the same big picture is paramount.
We have cultivated working partnerships with others, which creates an even bigger force. This allows us to be able create with resources that would not be accessible without these mutually beneficial working relationships. We are able to do a lot with a little, resulting in work we are proud of.
I will one day look back on this time in my life with no regrets. I face hardships that are greater than I've ever faced before. But somehow the struggle is less when you do what you love.
I may not always know where my next meal is coming from, but I do know I am making important sacrifices now, to achieve great success and satisfaction in life. I know I have people that believe in me and what we are doing. We know our work is important. It keeps us pushing forward towards a bright future.
*Upon a well meaning recommendation, I started following Suzy Orman who is the supposed guru of getting ahead in corporate america. Her techniques aim to move you up the ladder while positioning yourself as an irreplaceable asset in the eyes of the company from the ground up.
I followed her tips and techniques religiously. Her tips got me fired. Evidently, being too innovative and implementing cost-saving strategies that are brilliant enough to get you noticed, can make your boss feel that an underling is a potential threat to their position.
At that point, the boss will spend a considerable amount time devoted to undermining all projects and bullying said threat and anyone trying to stand up for them. Be warned.