Sister, Daughter, Mother, Headbanger
This is an existential post. You have been warned.
But hey. We’re still here! And this is a new post! Where were we? Well, I procreated, which means I lost a year of my life. (Some might say 18-plus, but who’s counting?)
And this new portion of my identity, that of mother, has me yet again thinking about performance and prescription (social, I mean). Expectations on how to mother, and what motherhood means, permeate every culture. It’s deep-seated and complicated, and we mothers don’t always help our case — there’s infighting and sabotage. But this isn’t a mama blog.
Still, the expectations borne of this new hat I’m wearing has me thinking about how much differently I see identity as a whole — how intersectional all our experiences, as a result of choices (real or perceived) are. And how we all affect elements of ourselves for different contexts. I now know that when I was younger, I cared far more deeply about fitting a paradigm; about fitting in; about being who I thought others thought I should be. Today? Today I don’t give a shit. I like what I like. Someone else likes what they do. It’s not worth fighting over whose notion of good is the best. I’ll leave that for 17 year olds in their parents’ basements.
The thing is, if you’re talking about performance of a “metal” nature, I just really don’t do it anymore. And not just since I had the kid. It’s also since I got old. (Old-ish. Older. Old-esque.) I have many t-shirts from many shows, but I don’t wear them every moment of every day. I listen to many different bands, but I don’t wear it on my sleeve. I haven’t been to a show since I had the kid, and I’m totally ok with that. I’ve also been playing catch-up with new music from the last year because instead of listening to screaming and blast beats I was listening to crying and hiccups. None of this means I can’t and don’t and won’t continue to love metal and identify with it. (And with all music that’s generally darker, sadder, bleaker than what’s on top-40 radio.)
But liking a particular genre of music doesn’t make me any different from anyone else, at my core. We all create means to access those darker, bleaker parts of ourselves. We’re humans. That’s what we do. Being a metal fan forms a part of my identity in the same way/s my other interests (running, writing, reading, gardening, feminist activism) join to make me who I am and allow others to categorize me and figure me out. I can see coworkers or new friends thinking, “That girl, that lady with that haircut and those jeans and that smile likes metal? But I thought all metalheads were angry dudes?”
And you know what? I like to render that stereotype moot. It’s a stupid one anyway. It ignores all the different types of people, all identities, who like metal for whatever reason. Because they like dark music. Because they like aggressive music. Because they like community. Because they hate humanity. Because their dad listened to it, and they love their dad. Because they want to piss off their parents. Because they’re rebelling. Because they’re joining in. Because they like fun. Everybody likes fun. Let’s not kid ourselves.