In some ways, I can barely remember what life was like before I joined Mute Prophet. Such incredible things have happened in the last five years, it almost feels like a completely different existence.
It’s been like a rebirth. But it hasn’t always been easy – and I feel it’s necessary to do what isn’t usually done, and share these stories with you.
Have you ever heard the Epica song The Phantom Agony? To me, it’s about being so emotionally numb, so unable to feel, that part of you doubts you’re real at all. You feel like a ghost. Your perception of yourself and the world around you is so dulled, you’d swear your day-to-day life is a dream that you won’t be able to remember upon waking. You aren’t you, you’re just a disembodied spirit observing someone who happens to look like you.
That describes something I struggle with on a daily basis, a very rare mental state where depression and PTSD intersect, called Depersonalization.
I’ve written so many songs about this feeling, but I think Pleasures of the Blade sums it up best: “All I need is one, one instant when I know the difference between pleasures of the bed and pleasures of the blade, both seeming equal in their sweetness and seduction.” It’s so damn hard sometimes, to keep fighting when there’s nothing but numbness. But ultimately that numbness is related to something that was truly life-changing for all of us.
See, the Depersonalization was caused by extreme physical trauma. I was beaten half-to-death, raped, and almost killed. And then the guy who did it somehow convinced most of my friends that I abused him. To this day I’m not sure how he explained away my being hospitalized from the injuries, but…oh well, I guess sociopaths can convince anyone of anything.
But suddenly everyone I knew thought I was a monster, and by extension, they thought the same of Kevin and Chris – my bandmates – for believing me.
It left me in a really dark place. I drank heavily, I abused drugs, I cut myself for the endorphin high (cliche, I know, but it worked for a little while), and I fantasized almost hourly about swallowing my entire medicine cabinet. In the end, singing for Mute Prophet was the only thing that gave me a reason to keep living. Being socially blacklisted, suddenly all we had was our music, and y’know what? That was just fine.
I remember trying to rig up a booth to record vocals in my bedroom. We broke the doors off my closet, stood them up by taping an old microwave to the outside, filled the closet with clothes, and glued heavy blankets to the insides of the doors. Here’s a picture of it, featuring Kevin back when he had skinny arms and short hair!
None of us had the money for a more professional setup at the time, but I honestly cherish the memory of making due with what we had. We would stop at nothing to make music, least of which would be less than ideal equipment. That’s also why I dress the way I do – to prove to myself that I don’t need to hide after everything that happened. PTSD can often cause the instinct to hide away and avoid attracting attention – if you’re visible, you’re not safe. And I will not give in to that false instinct.
So I wear makeup and busty corsets and weird-ass cage bras, anything to force myself to stand in the spotlight – and I deal with the subsequent accusations that I’m using sex appeal to sell our music – and at the end of the day, it actually helps me SO MUCH.
In fact, judging from the number of hate comments I get for “flaunting triple-D tits,” I’m fairly sure it would actually be EASIER to sell music if I dressed a bit more conservatively. But we’ve all talked it over, and…well, we’re no stranger to taking the hard road. Every time I put on a corset I feel like it’s another step toward healing my PTSD. It adds another layer of healing to a band that’s all about healing. So it’s well worth the price of the occasional bad first impression to be true to our art!
It’s an amazing thing, a sort of glue that binds Mute Prophet together despite our separate life experiences, this goal of turning tragedy and pain into something triumphant. Ultimately this band is something that literally saved my life, giving me an outlet to transmute things I would otherwise never have been able to overcome, into something amazing. Suddenly the horrible things that happened to me don’t hurt quite so much.
It’s not just me of course, we’ve all had our struggles – Chris was homeless and lived on the streets, Kevin nearly died from an autoimmune disease – and all of us credit this band for helping us through it.
And we’ve even been able to find an audience – including YOU. Musicians have no other way to judge their impact on the world, other than how listeners receive their music and their story. You show all of us that we aren’t alone, and after everything that’s happened, I don’t think words can convey how much it means to be able to connect with people like you now.
So please, leave a comment below or email me and let me know how you feel about this post, or even just to say hi. It would mean a lot.
Thank you again for reading, and please do leave a comment below or shoot me an email if you feel like saying hi ❤️