Updated: Jun 1
I grew up in turmoil. The chaos stretched and twisted around me like a boa constrictor, tightening and gripping, clinging to me throughout my life in one way or another. Then, at my bachelorette party in 2002, I discovered one of my favorite forms of therapy--karaoke. Specifically, metal karaoke.
I poured my rage into singing songs like "Welcome To The Jungle," "Shout At The Devil," and "Mother." I realized I could channel my angst through my voice in front of a room full of strangers and feel lighter afterwards. I found this out around the time I was struggling with my then-business partner. Too late, I had discovered we made a terrible mismatch. I was working gruelingly long hours and spiraling downward in a passive-aggressive shit storm with her, thanks to the farce our partnership had become.
Every day, I drove into work feeling like I could die. My heart palpitating, rage boiling inside me... I was like a tea kettle on a stove set to "Hight Heat." Ultimately, I walked away from that situation, but I don't think I would have lived long enough to do so if I hadn't found metal karaoke as an outlet. The lesson: You can't be "good" all of the time.
I believe this can literally kill you.
At the start of my foray into the competitive air arts, my character was a little...naughty. Sassy, and maybe a skosh trampy, but aligned with the lighter and sexier side of life. Cue 2016--air guitar season and a time of death, including that of my mother and mother-in-law. As the icing on this tumultuous-time cupcake, my character's shadow side, Dark Picante, was born.
Being good all of the time, and always taking care of others' needs instead of mine, took a heavy toll on me. I needed to delve into my darkness, let it out of its tightly coiled cage. I was tired of being bullied and beat down by people and circumstance. I had a creative idea...I decided to start by making a paper mâché decapitated head. I named it Rodney. It was inspired by the villainous "The Kurgan" from the movie, Highlander. Rodney and I ended up becoming quite a duo, competing in air guitar competitions in San Francisco and even Oulu, Finland.
To back up, as a child, I feared everything. I was afraid of being possessed by the Devil and not getting into Heaven (an old man once told me I was doomed because I didn't go to church enough). So for me, to touch, as well as let out, the darkness within me, scared me, but soon became liberation--one I very much needed.
Through my air guitar performance in 2016, a time of death in my personal life, I channeled my feminine rage and vengeance with kicks and head butts to invisible faces. I decimated air testicles and shot down an air plane with my air gun. All the while, I strummed my air axe to Metallica's "Don't Tread On Me" with a ferocity I had never unleashed before.
If you look at a yin/yang symbol, it is light and dark enmeshed in two different directions--the known and the unknown. Dark Picante, the shadow side of my air guitar persona, helped me embrace my yin/yang/light/dark/known/unknown. I guess what I am saying here is, if you never look into your darkness, you will never discover what you are truly capable of. Not that I have that all dialed in, yet.
But it's a start.