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Don't be afraid of the dark...Embrace it.

Updated: Mar 12

Me as a cross roads demon. A kiss for your soul?

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.

Chew or be chewed! Mad Max inspired photoshoot courtesy of Lenny Gotter

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.

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