You know that Henry Rollins has had a huge impact on your life but you only realized recently that he is probably the reason you're still alive. He's always been there, not necessarily for just for you. But he'd always show up when you were struggling. Something in the universe brought his art to you and you remember how this saved your life.
You remember the first time you heard the growl of his voice. You were a teenager and you were angry. You were mad at the world around you and how it worked. You hated going to school because you were afraid of a lot of the kids there. You were the skinniest, smallest, and shortest kid in your grade. This made you the perfect target for bullies.
You still remember the taste of your own blood pooling in your mouth after getting punched in the face on the bus by someone younger but bigger than you. You remember being mad that you couldn't do anything. But then you heard it. You heard him. You found yourself a copy of Black Flag's Damaged and it changed your fucking life.
The music moved faster than anything you were used to. Rollins' voice was filled with so much energy, it was so raw. It sounded the way you felt. It was an explosion in your head. An explosion you needed. You remember starting the next school year as a different human being. You transformed into someone strong, someone intense, someone who had a permanent "fuck you" plastered all over his face.
You started working out and any time someone tried to bully or push or shove you around, you made them bleed. You let the anger out. You defended yourself. The sheer change in physicality you underwent made you confident, tough, and sure. You were no longer the skinniest, smallest, or the weakest.
But as time went on, you got older. Wiser. You put your fists down, permanently. But you still found yourself struggling. And just like that, Henry entered your life again. And instead of music, it was his spoken word. If you could call it that.
You remember coming across a YouTube video of him standing on a stage, hand holding a microphone with the wire wrapped around his fist, and talking. Just talking. And you listened, for hours. Some of the things he said made you laugh and some of them made you think but he really made you feel comfortable with yourself.
Remember when you spent a year out of school working on your mental health. And when you came back you had to enroll in a Speech class and how you were scared to talk about anything in front of a group larger than three people. You didn't know how you'd tackle this but then there he was, again, popping up on your screen.
There was something about listening to him speak that made you feel at ease. That made you feel less alone. And you knew, that you would have to make a speech about your crippling depression in a few days and you were looking for inspiration. You were looking for something that would, hopefully, make you feel better about telling this story -- your story -- to a group of strangers.
And you were angry that you were afraid of failing. You became anger the same way you did as a teenager. And knowing that you were afraid, made you even more angry than you were before. You got mad, you tensed up your fists, and your shoulders and then Henry, he started talking about anger.
He started talking about it as a tool to "get shit done". And you haven't thought about it this way before. You remember your life before this moment. You remember getting mad and planting your hands into door frames. You remember slamming your head against walls and screaming. And you felt so stupid, for not using your anger the right way.
And today, you're still angry. Angry at the world or yourself or someone else, whatever. But instead of "checking out" or succumbing to what many of your friends have succumbed to (drugs, drinking), you try to use your anger to make yourself better.
You have a YouTube bookmarked that you still watch every couple of weeks because you are human and you forget what it means to be alive so you have Henry Rollins (your idol, your hero, the punk guy that saved your life a couple of times) remind you: