23 August 2009

relatively unknown

I'm often asked, "What's so good about Incubus (the band)?"
And out of habit, I generally reply with something along the lines of..."They're versatile. They can play any type of music, and Brandon Boyd has the voice of angel."

Of course all of this is true, and obvious factors of why I never grow tired of their music, but if I was to be completely honest and give a genuine answer of why they have been one of my favorite groups, if not my absolute favorite, for almost 5 years now...

"The Warmth" saved my life.


Reckless, naive, and hazardously manic depressive. Definitely a concoction for my finest years. I think the hardest part is recalling exact facts, since I used to be a compulsive liar and could convince myself I was sick to the point where physical symptoms would show...but the one thing I don't want to lose is my story. Thus however implausible what I write may seem, I am thoroughly convinced that this is 100% the truth. Isn't that so off? I can't even write a memoir without doubting myself and plain, simple history. To think that I've skewed my perception of everything I've gone through by lying my way through the first half of my life is pretty sad in itself, but that's another story for another time, and I want to get back to Incubus.

To avoid a climatic build-up, especially since I'm not nearly literate or eloquent enough to make it sound dramatic: I attempted suicide. I used to toy with death, the concept of death, the consequences of death, and everything to do with it. A lot. Constantly. But not nearly enough to come to my senses. Yet.

I could elaborate about what led to the whole incident for hours, but tonight (this morning?) my focus is on the power of lyrical influence. For the time being, I'll attempt to explain that though trying to take my life was the worst mistake of my life, it was not the turning point. I didn't rise from collapsing on the cold tile floor a changed pre-teen, teenager, girl, woman, person, whatever. In fact, I would have kept trying until I got the formula for death correct was it not for Incubus.

Here I realize I should be crediting my mental recovery to God, my personal (definitely) Savior, and I do; I just want to explain how He worked through a very non-Christian associated means. Anyway,

I've mentioned before that I was previously an avid Xanga user...I've never been one to hide my emotions, and throughout this whole time in my life it was blatantly obvious that I could rapid-fire through mood swings at the speed of which one inhales and exhales. Embarrassing, but true. It happened that on one of my blogs, someone I did not know well at the time commented with the lyrics,

So don't let the world bring you down
Not everyone here is that fucked up and cold
Remember why you came and while you're alive
Experience the warmth before you grow old
- The Warmth (Make Yourself)

A bit vulgar at times, but the point Brandon Boyd sang got across. I listened to the full song on the request of the commenter; the same person offered to make me Incubus CDs; my interest was secured, and I never lost that interest.

I realize this blog is rather a motley of ideas thrown together--it's just very hard to explain this without explaining other things, and finding the right place to cut off those things before I have to fully elaborate on it using other things...but my point is that attempted suicide didn't change my life. It brought me to a point where I was completely apathetic, and wore a face everywhere I went in public. It made me miserable, and unsure of my beliefs in...everything. It made me even more insecure, even more worthless, as I constantly told myself, and even more a mess. It's likely I would not have "recovered" (if you can even call it that) lest I had heard "The Warmth." And I didn't just hear it; I listened to the point where it hurt. I chewed on the lyrics and the implications entangled in Boyd's vocals and I digested the song. It was only through those four short lines that I discovered hope for a complete reinvention. I felt God reaching to me through those lyrics, and through them I managed to find a small foothold that held long enough for me to completely grasp what I had been doing to others and myself through my behavior, and vow to change.

Five years later and I'm about to find myself in the place of previous small group leaders, all of whom I look(ed) up to. Five years later and I've already been a small group leader for the largest Chinese-American conference in the northeast United States, and definitely only through His grace. Five years later and I'm considered a role model. Five years later and I'm almost considered a predominantly-happy person--and trust me, what people currently label my "mood swings" are nothing close to what used to harbor in my heart. Five years later and I'm optimistic; a dreamer. Five years later and I'm free of that apathy. Five years later and I'm alive.

As one who complains all too much, I have less right to this than any other human being I know, in my opinion. I have been saved; I have been set free. I have been able to make a 180 degree turn, and become someone who is undeniably a mentally healthier person than who I used to be. I have been given an amazing support system called my youth group, or as I like to say, my second family...I am blessed beyond measure, and though I do my best to give all the glory to God, I always trace this change back to how He worked in me through Incubus. Through "The Warmth."


It is entirely too hard to tell this story in the short time given to me for answering such a question. Why do I love Incubus? Why do I always find myself playing their songs on repeat for hours on end? It is because I found a warmth, an awesome, merciful God, and a wonderful life through one of their songs. And maybe, if the questioner takes the time to listen, they'll find something as beautiful as I did.

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