Resident goth, metalhead, poet, illustrator, and ghost.
On the Forest's Edge
Illuminated by the lantern light, long grass swayed against the boy’s legs. He came to a pause. He took a moment to stare at the treeline’s silhouette against the star-speckled night sky. It wasn’t there the day before, or the day before that one, or as long as he had enjoyed wandering the fields behind the family house. He was hesitant, but the forest’s edge beckoned him. It wasn’t long before the trees towered above him, small as he was, their canopies stretching out and covering the sky with their branches. The boy looked in every direction around him, the night still and silent. He entered the forest. There were no animals or bugs, nor the sounds that accompany them, only the whistling of wind through the leaves. Something about the gnarled trunks reminded him of human forms. If he stared long enough he swore he could’ve made out a face, or maybe it was only a trick of the low light. He felt exposed.
It was a warm midsummer night, and Elijah lay sleepless in his half-empty bed. Accepting the fact that he wouldn’t be asleep anytime soon, he shifted the blankets off him and stood, the wood floor cold on his feet despite the humidity outside. He opened the window beside him, gazing into the miles of tall grass stretching to the horizon that expanded into a moonless sky. He loved the rural American Midwest, adored the isolation and the endless plains. To him, it was the best place on Earth. A breeze blew in, carrying the scent of a coming storm. Taking in a deep breath, he left his room and wandered the hallways.
It Wasn't a Phase, Mom!
I wasn’t exactly liked in my early years. I don’t quite know why, but who knows if there was ever a reason for the bullying. Kids can be cruel, and I was an easy target: weird, awkward, bookish, and sometimes blunt. Hell, I’m still like that. When middle school came along, I was desperate for a place to fit in. The fateful moment my 6th grade teacher played a Paramore song in class, I remember looking them up at home and going “Isn’t that some emo band?” And yes, yes they were. I listened to more songs, more bands, and I found somewhere where I wasn’t left out, where I wasn’t the weird one, because everyone else was weird, too. The 2014 emo scene was where I finally found where I belonged. My music taste has since evolved, but I never truly abandoned my roots. How could I, when it made me who I am? I have a long list of songs I love from that era, but I’ve narrowed down my early teenage years into four songs for your convenience.
Catharsis: An Insight into the Effects of Metal and Extreme Music
When most people think of metal music, they may imagine violent scenes of devils and bloody gore and mosh pits. However, those observations are only on the surface level. Ever since the metal genre’s inception in the late 20th century, it’s been held up as a danger to youth and all who dare listen due to the rebellious and extreme overtones of the scene. To worried parents, the “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” lifestyle was bound to rub off on their children if they listened. Although these misconceptions have mostly cleared up over the decades, they still exist in some form or another. There’s a common belief that metalheads (along with participants in other alternative subcultures such as goth and emo) always suffer from depression or engage in self-harm, but this just isn’t the case, and isn’t significantly more common than in other circles. Extreme or unclean vocals (informally known as “screaming”) are also a contributor to metal’s unruly reputation and, to untrained ears, can definitely sound like disorderly nonsense. The music might come across as aggressive and off-putting to some, but for people who enjoy it, it can actually derive a sense of calm and release. Metalheads and other listeners of alternative or extreme music genres find solace in the chaos. Especially in a messy world with messy emotions, they need a “messy” way to get it all out. Despite its unseemly reputation that has persisted since its beginning, the benefits of metal and other extreme genres of music heavily outweigh the detriments to avid listeners of the genres: from the music being used as a method of catharsis to a like-minded community that serves as protection against the world many metalheads feel outcasted from.
It was a warm midsummer night, and Elijah Clarke lay sleepless in his half-empty bed. Accepting the fact that he wouldn’t be asleep anytime soon, he shifted the blankets off him and stood up, the wood of the floor cold beneath his feet. He walked to the window and opened it, letting in the fresh air. He gazed out into the miles and miles of tall grass stretching to the horizon that expanded into a moonless sky. He had to admit, he loved the rural American Midwest, adored the isolation and the endless plains. To him, it was the best place on Earth. Wind blew in, carrying the scent of a coming storm with it. Taking in a deep breath, he walked out of his room and into the hallway.