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[LIVING ON THE OUTSIDE]

[I’m glad the album is done. It's still not good like I want it to be, but after almost two years of working toward making something like it it’s nice to finally turn that corner. I hear a confident first push in a stable direction. I’m excited to develop this sound further. But I’m not sure I care all that much now.

About a month ago, I shared a blog post where I was incredibly open about being queer. I figured that sharing it would be taxing on me; writing it sure as hell was. Since sharing, I've fallen into a bit of a depressed episode. It’s almost like sharing all of that triggered an emotional processing of everything I wrote. As time passes, I realize how right I was about a lot of things in that post. I also realize how many years I spent withdrawn, and coming out publicly about all of that will trigger a lot of trauma. I’m not someone who sees the need to bring myself up in this context very often, but I've found that hiding that much for that long has had deep negative effects that I didn't realize until sharing all that. The time was definitely right to talk about this.

I've been thinking back on my religious upbringing that led me to closet myself for years. Upon further research, I came across and found myself identifying with a few things I read about Religious Trauma Syndrome, a condition that comes from one struggling to leave behind an authoritative religious experience or faith that was stressful or emotionally abusive. It particularly looks at the trauma from indoctrination that one deals with later on in life after leaving the belief behind.


I grew up going to church and was baptized as a Christian around 4th or 5th grade. My family was always heavily involved in the congregations we attended. I believed everything they taught me. I had my doubts about the messages of sin, about the idea that the Rapture was impending, and whether or not worship was a genuine thing to engage in or not. I always shook off the doubts. I was in 7th grade when I realized I was queer. Hardcore Christianity, what I was immersed in growing up, views being queer as a sin and a choice. There was a massive amount of shame and avoidance very early on. I remember being a freshman in high school when I watched a pastor get a standing ovation for saying he felt that marriage was only between a man and a woman (this was around the time that same sex marriage was making the rounds and about to get legalized). I was about 15 years old, I was so young. It was the final nail in the coffin that made the Christian faith crumble in my eyes.


As I get older, I've observed that the type of faith I grew up in seems to be for people who have lost themselves in their suffering. I watched and heard people reach some depraved places because of their beliefs. The fear and intimidation used to get across is not loving in nature, though with deceit it claims to be. The idea was perpetuated that it was my fear or discomfort about "spiritual experiences" that was the problem, not the situation itself and I was supposed to push through it. That is easily the worst, most violating thing I have ever been taught in my life. I look back and I'm utterly disgusted and enraged by the emotionally exploitive nature in which that faith operates. For something supposed to be holy and good it was often cruel, almost evil sometimes. I don't believe in that. Over the years I personally have fought many intrusive thoughts, many of which rooting in self hatred and irrational thinking from religion. I've realized that though I left the faith years ago, my Christian upbringing colored the way I view the world and instilled a lot of corrupted thinking and logic in me. This is trauma. But I believe in myself. I believe in the stability that is being in your element. I believe love is warm, accepting and natural. I believe in people. And I believe in music. This is why I wrote that blog post a while back. (By the way, I'm well aware there are good people of good faith! I don't mean to hate religion, merely share my personal experiences. It's zealotry and exploitation I'm against.)


For years, I was always unaware of my traumatized state. I'm writing this for me, and I think writing this all down helped me to finally reclaim the narrative somewhat. I came out years ago, but it wasn’t on my terms. My coming out was horrendous and I was met with backlash which only made things worse. It occurred to me how that post was MY coming out; It was the coming out I wish I had in the first place and that I now have. Never Doing That Again was the soundtrack to processing all of that after the damage was done, and having the album to focus on after sharing that post made things a lot easier. Life outside the closet has not been easy. I have been fucked over so many times by this shit. Most of it has been in my head, and this album was my way of getting out of it a bit. I think that blog post (and this one) was what everything really led up to. Keeping my head down and following orders wasn't an option anymore. This album, the music, came second. Music services people, both the music makers and the listeners. I severely disagree with any musician who has it the other way around and want nothing to do with anyone like that.

I sit at the end of a chapter, feeling the beginning of another one. Though trauma remains, the closet doesn't haunt me like it used to. Making music helped me with that. Whenever I’ve lost my way, it has always helped me come back to myself. Making music is truly my passion in life. I am living on the outside now. I am never going back to that mindless place. Fuck that and fuck everything else.]


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