Content/trigger warning: brief mention of suicide attempt
So I’m the lead singer for a metal band.
Yeah. It’s pretty cool. (Well, it was until they posted on Craigslist about looking for a new singer behind my back. I left.)
I recently wrote a song about anxiety. I called it “Stay Afraid, But Do It Anyway” after Carrie Fisher’s quote about following one’s dreams while mentally ill. The lead guitarist, who is really the creative force behind the group (although I hope to have more input on the lyrics soon), asked me what the title of the song was after I sang it for the first time. I told him, and I said it was a Carrie quote.
And the drummer–let’s call him Jimmy–said he didn’t like Carrie Fisher.
Fucking excuse me, dude!?
He proceeded to insult her for sleeping with Harrison Ford (yeah, if you were a 19-year-old undiagnosed, mentally ill, insecure young woman who had been drinking when a movie star fifteen years older than you came onto you, I bet you would have said no, right, dude? And don’t we all do ill-advised shit at 19? Especially MI people? I mean, I tried to drink bleach), not aging well (you better pray you still look as good as she did at 60, not that it fucking matters), and, to top it off, he said some bullshit about her being “bitter and angry” and “hating Star Wars“. Um…what? She had every right to be bitter about the shit that her brain and Hollywood put her through, and the thing was, she wasn’t. She had an amazing sense of humor about it. She didn’t only have an adaptive attitude, she made the rest of us laugh with her. And she didn’t hate Star Wars; her home was decorated with tons of Princess Leia paraphernalia. Harrison Ford hates Star Wars.
Oh, and don’t get me started on the saneism. He said his reaction to Carrie’s books was “stop bitching”. M O T H E R F U C K E R have you ever been bipolar?? No? Then you stop bitching about someone whose experiences you can’t begin to understand. I have four and a half mental illnesses, and I still don’t know what it’s like to be bipolar (although I do understand what it’s like to have your brain betray you, and to resort to wry humor and glitter to deal with it). And as for her relationship with her parents (touched on in Postcards From the Edge), she had every right to bitch about her dad, and she ended up having a good relationship with her mom. (Let me guess, Jimmy, you haven’t seen Bright Lights.) And trust me, having a good relationship with your parents when you’re mentally ill? PFFFF. Yeah, right.
I. Went. Off.
The lead guitarist backed me up, fortunately, but Jimmy was still being a dick, so I said “if we’re done pissing on one of my favorite human beings ever, can we rehearse?”
So we started up the song I wrote inspired by Carrie. I mentally said to myself “fuck you, Jimmy; this is for you, Carrie” as the first notes played. I proceeded to sing the ever-loving crap out of the song. I actually wrote a pretty difficult piece (apparently I hate myself…well, actually, we know I hate myself…depression and all that), but I did it perfectly.
When we were done playing, the lead guitarist said I sounded the most confident on that song, as opposed to the three others we had rehearsed that night. I mentally laughed and verbally said some only half-untrue crap about how that song was the easiest for me because I wrote the lyrics and melody, which I hadn’t done for the other three songs. But I wasn’t singing with confidence.
I was singing with “fuck you, Jimmy”.
Carrie used to say “resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die”. I know, Carrie, but the difference between poison and medicine can be the dose. From now on, if I’m having trouble getting into a song for the band, I’m not going to sing with confidence; I’m going to sing with “fuck you, Jimmy”.
For you, Carrie.
And fuck you, Jimmy.