Posted by: Devin | December 22, 2014

Joe Strummer Day 2014 #01

Please ignore typos.

I discovered The Clash in 2001, the age of seventeen. I was growing up in a small, close-minded town, scared, depressed, feeling unable to be myself. Finding The Clash (I got Clash On Broadway through a CD by mail club…I’d just discovered The Sex Pistols and kept hearing The Clash mentioned so gave them a go.). First track, Janie Jones demo, was all it took. These songs opened up my entire existence. They gave me strength and inspiration and opened my mind to the power of music.

It was instant, strong, powerful love. It was like I’d been a fan my whole life. The connection was that strong. I couldn’t believe how I’d survived without them.

I would sit in my room after a day of being bullied, and I’d blast the self titled album. Slowly, with the help also of a new friend, I started caring less what people thought. By the end of the school year, I was wearing hideous, studded jean jackets and shirts covered in Duct tape and Clash lyrics… Breaking free… HAVING FUN. Realizing if someone thought I was weird or nerdy or whatever, that was their problem, not mine. I still had and have bad depression issues, but Joe really helps me through it.

I only was a fan a year before I got onto my LiveJournal page. I saw a post this fellow Joe fan made, and I thought it was a joke.

No.

No.

It was true and it wasn’t FAIR. I just got into his music, I hadn’t even listened to it all yet, I needed him, I needed to let him know I loved him and he helped keep me alive, literally. I NEEDED TO HUG HIM. THIS WASN’T FAIR.

And I shut down from it. Like every death I’ve known personally, I. Didn’t. Cry. I didn’t let myself. I couldn’t
It would hurt too much and would make it real. I couldn’t.

So for TEN YEARS, I hardly listened to his music at all. I loved him so much, I wanted to listen to him, and I’d try to, but I could take about five songs at a time before I had to stop. Afraid.

When Streetcore came out, I listened to it once all the way through and GOT MAD AT MYSELF for never seeing him and for feeling like crying.

Like I said, I’ve had issues with grief my whole life and instead of crying and healing, I’ve just bottled it up and hidden it.

But then, a few years ago, something happened. Something wonderful.

I’d gotten into Jim Jarmusch, and I mean his looks as well as talents. I’d heard he was in a film called Straight to Hell.

Then I saw Joe was in it.

I figured I could just fast forward to Jim and it would be fine.

I put the film on, though, and before I knew it, there he was. Joe. The musician who had sung while I cried in my room, as I wrote poetry, as I struggled to find reasons to stay alive. The guy who had made a difference in my life without ever knowing.

AND HE WAS BEING STRANGE in the movie. And I REALIZED I WAS LAUGHING at the things he was doing.

At first, I thought something was wrong with me. Why was I laughing? This couldn’t be right. But the more I watched and thought about it, the more I realized… Laughing was okay…

Laughing was a sign of human emotion.

And then, feeling this INTENSE epiphany as I laughed at his scenes in the film, I realized CRYING IS OKAY TOO.

I sat there, and it was seriously, as cheesy as it sounds, like an anvil lifted off my chest.

I started crying.

Not small tears. TEN YEARS WORTH OF TEARS, kept inside because I was afraid.

I cried. And I cried. And I cried. Off and o for THREE DAYS.

And then I put on his music and realized I could listen to it all the way through. I’d finally grieved, AND I HAD ALL THIS STUFF OF HIS I NEVER GOT TO HEAR BEFORE. THIS WAS SO AMAZING.

I still cry for him about twice a month, and of course on Joe Day. I don’t know WHY it took me ten years, but I accept for whatever reasons I just needed that long.

I could go on and on. The gist of it is that I didn’t meet him, but he has changed my life, saved me, and in ways spiritual and through the eternal magic of art, I believe he is still here.

You are so loved, Joe. Always.

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