Punk has been a big part of my life. I went pretty overboard with it in high school.
I was that girl. The one with the giant mohawk. All my friends were punk. I only listened to punk music. It definitely kept me in a box for a while, but it also saved my life.
I got into it all at a pretty young age. I first realized I wanted to “be a punk” when I was maybe 10. I also saw Blink-182 that year. I totally lied about ever liking them years later. Now I could care less.
I was angry and frustrated. I got picked on and bullied a lot. In junior high all the girls made fun of me for how I looked, and the boys liked to follow me home from school and run their bikes into me. As a result I had very low self esteem, felt hopeless, and hated pretty much everything.
Things changed a lot when I discovered punk rock. When the jocks were bullying me, I could put on Jock-o-Rama by the Dead Kennedys and thrash around, feeling a new sense of empowerment that had previously been completely foreign to me. At 14, I shaved a mohawk (it was glorious and stood at 2 feet… I’m still kind of proud of it). I got so fed up with high school, that I decided to transfer into a independent studies program and go to the community college full time for highschool credits after only my second semester. By age 16 I was going to punk shows every weekend, and a lot of weekdays. My school schedule gave me a whole lot of freedom as far as going where I wanted, when I wanted. I made lots of punk friends. We would all hang out in front of the local record store, just sort of, looking punk together.
I got into anarchism, existentialism… started protesting a lot (this was during the Bush administration). I volunteered at the local anarchist infoshop at 14, which was interesting to say the least. I started playing drums, played music with people, and more than anything, I found a sense of identity and community that I’d never experienced before in my life. To this day, I still think that punks are some of the sweetest kids out there. Also, some of the brightest, and smartest, and I still have an immense love for punk rock.
I also probably stressed myself out way too much about politics at a really young age.
So, I dressed super punk, was really into punk. I spent my 18th birthday getting a tattoo (although it wasn’t my first). I also got tons of piercings, and looked pretty crazy.
So, there’s a point to this, I promise.
First, I’d like to say that I’ve never been into doing drugs. I did experiment with a couple things (hallucinogenics) in my late teens. I smoked pot for a bit. But, that was too much for me to handle. I’ve actually had an ambulance called on two occasions because I got to stoned and couldn’t handle my shit. Did I ever try heroin or meth? No. Any hard drugs? No, not really. Not my thing.
The problem, is that because I dressed and looked punk, I was constantly being targeted.
I’m from the bay area. People are pretty liberal and easy going there. They’re used to seeing punks, goths, hippies, alternative people, wingnuts, and just straight weirdos.
So, of course, I move to a tiny town in bumfuck nowhere, where I was a constant target of the police.
At first, I thought I was crazy because the police would park on my lawn (literally, on my lawn, not even on the street), and just stake out my house.
I got a speeding ticket while parked in my driveway, and another for not having my insurance in my car (while in my driveway, just had gone to the car to look for my homework).
At the time I was going to college full time, and had a 45 minute drive to school each way. The police were constantly (practically on a daily basis), pulling me over and threatening to take me to jail because I had out of state license plates. They would threaten to tow my car, and just generally harass me.
This also coincided with when I started developing my anxiety problems. I stopped driving almost entirely. I dropped out of school in the middle of the semester, even though I was getting all A’s.
It was when they searched my house twice because they had got an anonymous tip that there was a meth lab in my house that I decided to move. I also began developing a phobia of drugs around this point.
Also, the summer previous to all this, I’d been detained by homeland security for 12 hours while they pointed rifles at me and accused me of smuggling drugs across the state line (dammit, really? no.), and then was detained a few weeks later by the secret service (I shit you not!), while they questioned me about my political beliefs. I’d just been parked and was meeting up with some old and dear friends (we were all pretty punk), when several unmarked cars pulled up, a SWAT van, and four cop cars. “Would you consider yourself to be an anarchist?” “What are your political beliefs?” Apparently Obama was going to be in the area, I had no idea.
So, I tried to clean up my act. I took out most of my piercings but one. I started trying to go for a more rockabilly look. Swing dresses, heels, dressing very nice altogether. It actually felt good, and empowering all over again.
However, now that I’ve been seeking help for the various mental problems I’d like to get under control, I’m constantly told that I “present very well,” and therefore don’t seem to be someone who is really in need of help.
It’s maddening. After trying to seek help for the past few years, I’m constantly being treated and even accused of being a drug addict trying to just get meds. I get that people do that. Really, I do. And that’s great. But looking at my records, anyone will see that I’m not just some druggy, and I legitimately need and want help for all this crap. I’m so fed up and frustrated by being profiled, judged by my appearance, and generally treated like trash. Thank you for listening. ❤