Mental Health: S.M.F.

Well, I would tell you what that stands for, but instead you can search it up for yourself. Those who know, however, will recognize it immediately and are part of a strange family of fans and freaks.

It’s been so long that I cannot recall now how I first heard of Twisted Sister or what induced me into buying that cassette of Stay Hungry with Dee Snider on the cover in full war paint and a huge, gnawed bone. What I discovered is that I became an S.M.F. from that point on. I rarely think of that album when people ask me about my taste in music. I jealously guard my love for that music because it has become so deeply important to who I am, particularly the me that I do not show most people.

When I first began to wear that tape out it was a time of life where I did not understand myself, my place in the world, or even why I was alive. That music kept me alive. My tastes have always been eclectic and erratic, but mostly it was more mellow fare. The heavier stuff was almost too personal as it fed the damaged mind inside my head. This music was written for me, expressed how I felt, and spoke directly to my frustrations and pain. I imagine those writing this have music that embodies this for yourselves. But Dee, Jay Jay, Eddie, A.J., and Animal Mendoza were only singing to me. It was a call to arms for everyone who felt pushed out with no place to go. I needed that.

The first time I contemplated suicide was just before my senior year. I had poppa’s old buck knife and I was at the playground of the old elementary school. I held the blade to my wrist, but did not draw it across the skin. I stopped. After returning home, though, I grabbed handfuls of that thick, curly hair that I hated and sawed it away. By the end of the next school year it was grown out again and got straightened. The net result, with my round face, made me look like a Meatloaf impersonator. I had outgrown my denim vest and by that point, with the anarchy symbol scrawled on it and some of Tolkien’s runes, but never replaced it.

I haven’t written in months and find myself struggling to express what I am trying to tell you. My brain is so damaged from recent changes that it is even more difficult than before to express myself. The basic point, though, is at a time when I didn’t understand myself and felt as though no one else could, Dee and the guys did. Anti-authoritarian, anti-censorship, defiant, and unapologetically who they were and still are. They will always be the greatest rockers in my book. They saved me when I was drowning. They created a home for people who needed one. They carried me through some of my darkest days, and, through tears, I screamed into the night with them. I shared their rage. They saved me.

Get on YouTube and look up some of their videos, especially the long version of O Come All Ye Faithful. Maybe you can see the connection that I found. Maybe you will feel what we do. Perhaps you will scream into the night with them. You might be an S.M.F. And we will welcome you home.

Good night, my darlings. I am going to attempt 30 posts this month and I am running behind. I have to get my mind back soon and hopefully this will help. All my love to you, wherever you are, and I hope you come back again. Until then, be gentle with yourselves.

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