Over the last few days I've had some amazing conversations with friends about what punk means to them—the positive impact it's had in their lives, the people they've met because of it, the people they are because of it.
Now I want to hear yours, too.
This isn't to prove anyone right or wrong. This isn't to declare anything bullshit or not. This is just to share some stories.
I'll go first—here's just one of many:
When I was barely a teenager, growing up in a suburb of a suburb, I was, as so many do, existing on a diet of pure self-loathing. I was into "grunge" music—Nirvana, Alice in Chains, even Candlebox—and since a lot of that music was filled with even more self-loathing, it didn't really help my misery. (It comforted me, sure—I still love Nirvana—but it was hard for me, a 14-year-old high school freshman, to feel 100% comfortable with the lyrics to "Rape Me," for example. My love for Nirvana grew stronger later in life, when I was less intimidated by them.)
But when I was introduced to Operation Ivy, my outlook changed. Their music was just as snarly, just as imperfect, but their message felt so much more positive. Less "You're a fuck up, we all are, and it will never be okay," and more of "It's okay to be a fuck up! Let's figure this shit out together!"
It happened almost instantly in my brain, like a light turning on. I realized that being imperfect in society's eyes didn't mean I was a fuck up, and more importantly it didn't mean I couldn't contribute in some way. I wasn't supposed to just conform or get out of the way. That was just the beginning for me, and it was huge. It still feels huge when I think about it, even if it might seem unimpressive on paper blog. Thanks, punk.