I was a “punk” once. Well, I was a wannabe punk, which, in my opinion, is significantly worse.
I was 21, and a lost college graduate. I’d moved 7 hours from home to start a graduate program in Northern Illinois in a college town where I knew not a single person. Insecurities ruled the day. I was inexplicably fond of wearing NY Yankees baseball caps, Limp Bizkit t-shirts (you read that right. yes, they “spoke to me”), and my hair in pig tails or braids. It goes without saying that I had not been on a date in years. YEARS. I did ridiculous stuff, like watch TRL everyday, seeing the same Britney Spears or Backstreet Boys or J.Lo videos over and over and replicating their dance moves in a way that only a chubby smalltown girl with coke bottle glasses can.
I was a geeky lil wannabe punk girl stepping out, not on faith, but on fear.
My time in graduate school was transformative. I’d never been away from my family or the circle of friends who had known me my entire life. I’d never lived somewhere where no one knew who I was or who my mom or dad were. As I began to make some of the most amazing friends of my life – people who were able to see past the Limp Bizkit t-shirts – my confidence slowly began to creep up. These people liked me for ME. With time, I began to strip away the t-shirts and the hats and the faux attitude.
Several of those people remain amongst my closest friends on the planet. They watched me bloom. They watched me HATCH.
Some days I want to be a punk again.
I could wear black eye make up and listen to inappropriate rap music with lyrics that make my now sensitive non-punk self blush. I could dig out the old Limp Bizkit shirts.
But the truth is, I want to be a different kind of punk these days. Intolerance, ignorance, hate… poverty and death – all pushed out of the news to make way for the latest sex scandals and political gaffes. Another 16,000 children died today from malnutrition or other preventable causes – did you see it on the news? I did not. I want to rage against SOME kinda machine. We all do, don’t we?
I’m quaking to hatch again. I’m listening for that still, quiet voice.