Apparently I am a Pisces and according to Sailor J my life skills include whining and glitter and I thought I should perfect at least one of these skills. It’s just not right to waste one’s special talents.
The day started and somehow I was already late. I wouldn’t have to leave for work for another two hours, but I knew I was late for something, although I couldn’t tell you what it was. I proceeded to stub my smallest toe so hard I am pretty sure I broke it. I remember when I was younger and braver I had a similar thing and I was pretty sure I broke my other small toe, but I just kept on going to basketball practice (1.5 hours every day, just saying). But that was then and I was certainly more masochistic and now I am old and when things hurt I’m much more inclined to avoid doing things that further increase the pain. So I lay on the bed whining. After a while I got bored and got up.
At this point I’d like to tell you about my usual breakfast. I’m not sure when exactly this ritual started, but for over a year now I have the same breakfast every single day. Weird & obsessive maybe (?) but this is my space and there will be no judging here, not even of myself by myself. So I have a toast (this is how I say ‘a slice of toast’ so just appreciate my foreign weirdness and get on with it) with a substantial amount of peanut butter. Then I have a banana cut into slices with blobs of mascarpone and cocoa. And MOST importantly coffee with milk. From a moka pot. I cannot do instant coffee, I just can’t, I will just go without if that’s the only option. I’m not sure if you’ve ever been or currently are, addicted to anything, but I can openly say I am addicted to caffeine, big time. I cannot function without it.
Hopefully that’s enough to illustrate the impact of my morning post-toe-stub realisation that we had no coffee at home. If it isn’t, well, let’s just say that I felt something like … MY LIFE IS FALLING APART AND I CANNOT COPE WITH ANY OF IT!!!! After a Meltdown, an Idea came (my usual process), namely that I could go to the cafe on my way to work and get a coffee there. Heaven forbid it could even be a nice experience (I thought). HAHA! This was not the day. Sometime before leaving my house the withdrawal headache begun its work to crush my brain. I cycle to work, so I check the weather like a maniac, usually on all the available websites. Well, of course, THEY ALL FAILED ME. It was cloudy, but the weather forecast EVERYWHERE said it shouldn’t start raining until 2 hours later, and even then just a little bit. Based on this information I have not taken my black, bin-liner-like waterproof trousers and jacket. They are the ugliest pieces of functional clothing you can imagine, as well as being sweaty and uncomfortable and I prefer to stay away from them if I can. I went to the cafe and got my coffee, headache in full bloom by now. I did not even have high expectations of my cafe experience; all I was hoping for was a small, perfect oasis of peace in my hectic day.
I ordered my coffee and a customer standing at the counter shouted ‘What? How much? Nah mate, I’ll get my coffee somewhere else’ and stormed out of the room. I could see his point, the coffee cost £3.80 ffs. Which brought my attention to another customer standing by the counter who ordered a mint tea and proceeded to do air punches in the direction of the coffee machine. He picked up one of the giant coffee bean bags and asked the barista ‘Are these organic? Cause I came all this way to buy your coffee and it has to be organic, otherwise I don’t want it.’ The barista gently opinioned that she didn’t think most coffee beans are organic, and offered to google the brand. She did and the results were not good. The man huffed and turned on his heels, abandoning his mint tea and the coffee beans as he stormed out of the cafe, becoming number 2 in the span of 10 minutes. I have to admit, I could see his point also. So much for calmness. Nevermind, my headache was on the retreat as the lovely, lovely substance flooded my brain. Which is when the rain started. And when I say rain I mean RAIN. For fuck’s sake. I waited a bit longer in the hope that it’ll ease up, my faith in the weather forecasts unwavering. All the weather sites were saying it’s not raining. I did not understand. It WAS RAINING and it wasn’t stopping AT ALL.
There was no other option; I had to go back home to get my bin liner waterproofs so that I will not be murdered by the cold rain by the time I get to the office. I walked home in the stupid rain falling and obviously I had to change as I was WET and should’ve left for work 15 minutes ago. I changed my clothes and put on my waterproofs and they smelt like dog because cycling is sweaty and how on earth do you clean plastic clothing. The RAGE. I open the door and the rain had stopped. I said ‘fuck you’ to the sky and got on my bike.
Now I will tell you another thing about my daily routine; I always listen to music on my bike. Don’t judge me. So in this state of mind I thought the only appropriate music to listen to would be Converge. I put on the album ‘Dusk in us’ and set off. It was magnificent. I think I need to debunk a myth about listening to angry music when you’re angry; it doesn’t make you angrier. It allows you to be angry, and to express that anger. Which is exactly what was happening to me. I aligned my anger with Converge and it felt amazing. By the time I got to work I felt one again. It wasn’t me on the one side and anger / everything that made me angry on the other. I absorbed the anger and that enabled me to move on.
Which reminds me of mosh pits. I think that anger is generally quite a taboo emotion. It’s not very socially acceptable to be too angry or to express your anger in its pure form. The problem is that if you are a human, anger is a part of you and a part of life. We can easily keep moving through our days always suppressing anger, to the point we don’t even allow ourselves to acknowledge we feel it at all. My observation is that feelings which aren’t felt and expressed break to the surface in unexpected ways. Often they ripen and grow underneath. If you don’t release them they will take charge and at some point release themselves, generally at the most inopportune moment. Them feelings need to be expressed! Which brings us on to mosh pits.
I am by no means a mosh pit expert. But I’ve been in a few mosh pits and loved them all. I think I can track my ability to express myself through how I acted in them. The first one I came across was in the basement of our elementary school. It was very small, only a few Rockers (our school was divided into Rockers and Rappers) thrashing to heavy music. I felt very shy, and besides, I didn’t even wear all black or any black eyeliner so I felt really out of place. I stood by and watched in fascination, unable to imagine I could ever be that free, and then ran home ’cause my curfew was probably around 7pm or some stupid time like that. But time went on and I was lucky enough to meet wonderful people who took me to gigs and showed me the way, which amongst other things includes realising that nobody cares what you wear or how much paint is on your face. Mosh pits are a big human leveller; your clothes are likely to get torn, your shoes stepped on (you must wear strong shoes) and makeup will be ruined by sweat; some of which is probably even your own, although how could you tell.
On those occasions when I felt brave enough to really try, the total release of energy and emotion was mind blowing. You can throw your body around and people around you do the same and all the chaotic movement somehow balances out and supports you not to fall. Sometimes you do fall. My experience of this has ALWAYS been that the second I went under, people (mostly complete strangers) picked me up. Not one random person picks you up, EVERYBODY picks you up, hands reaching for you from all around to pull you back up to where it’s possible to breathe. It seems to be some unwritten implicit rule and one of the most humane things I’ve experienced. I was so surprised when this first happened. Mosh pits look dangerous and violent from the outside (maybe some of them really are) but the care in that togetherness of people loving the music is heartbreaking. And if you get too annoying with your sharp bony elbows and long hair people just throw you above their heads and carry you on their hands to the front of the crowd. Most of us don’t get to experience this kind of thing nearly often enough.
The second surprising discovery about mosh pits was for me the feeling that came afterwards; once I got home, and it filled the following days. I can best describe that feeling as lightness, giddiness, catharsis and calm peacefulness. Like something’s been resolved. Like all that smashing shook things into their right place.
What am I trying to say. Anger is important. Anger is sometimes the healthy side of us screaming that we or someone else are not being treated right, that we are being hurt. That someone else is being hurt. That there is injustice and that life feels sometimes overwhelming and oftentimes totally fucked. Anger is all of us, sometimes. And the spaces that let us express it are sacred. I’m getting a ticket to see Converge on 25th April in Manchester. See you there angry lovers!