I was almost fifteen. I picked up an Evanescence album from HMV. Amy Lee had the most beautiful voice and sang to me about going under and waking up inside and she just took over me, I could hear her in my sleep. The cover of the Fallen album is a dark and moody blue portrait of her.
My grandfather passed away two years earlier and I couldn’t bring myself to cry, I loved the man but all I could do was numb myself to it and everything that followed. It was almost fashionable to feel this way, along with Linkin Park’s aptly named Numb released around the same time a theme seemed to be occurring. Music soon became my everything, a small piece of the world that understood me and accepted me. Until this point I had no recollection of living after his passing until I heard my new favourite rock bands telling me that it was okay to scream or cry or feel nothing at all. I felt nothing. In my head I was ‘born live die’ with no in between but still there was a speck of hope.
So I was in my typically teenage terracotta room with my posters watching over me and my memories BluTacked to the spaces that were left, sitting on the bed crossed legged next to the album of my new idol. Her eyes bore into my soul from behind the plastic casing like she was going to jump out at me and start belting Bring Me To Life from the top of her lungs. I kept looking at her. I got up from the bed and grabbed a pencil and paper and then looked at her some more. I had finished school for the day on half day so I had all afternoon alone with Amy, looking at her symmetrical face and wondering…
However long it took I ended up staring in awe at a perfectly drawn copy of the cover and Amy Lee now staring at me through graphite eyes. I stared right back like a wide eyed god who had just created life but it was my own, reborn into a world as a valid human being with a skill and a reason for living. With scrap paper and a chewed up old pencil I created myself. I felt pride. And it was glorious.
To be good at something was the one thing that I had always desired, I needed to feel the pleasure of seeing an image and being able to document it by becoming a human photocopier using just my eyes and my hands. It was amazing to me. My odd little hands made something, something that no one who I knew could beat. I won the race without needing to run. In my dreams I was flying, this was it, this was my path.
It’s been a long time since I had thought about the day I woke up. These happy thoughts give me hope that I’m not finished yet.