Since today is my birthday, I felt it would be fun to share an older article I wrote ten years ago, giving some insight as to part of my personality. Dusting it off, shining it up a bit, enjoy.
Let’s see…how do I tell this without becoming long-winded and downright boring? Wouldn’t want anyone to catch narcolepsy at their monitors…drool hurts the keyboard…begin with a brief synopsis, shall we?
Born in 1973, the year The Exorcist was in the theaters. I was at the original showing, albeit in-utero…my mother tells me I enjoyed the movie immensely…grew up a Navy Brat, lived in various countries and states within this great nation of ours (U. S., for those of my brethren and sisteren reading this from over seas)…been a bit weird since childhood, discovered a taste for horror after sneaking downstairs to watch HBO and catching the transformation scene from American Werewolf In London when I was 7; my father once told me that he considered it odd that, at the age of six, I was rooting for the robot Maximilien from the movie The Black Hole, despite being an obvious villain…at the age of 9, I received my first radio, and discovered the dark enchanting sounds of the New Romantics, New Wave and European music, particular favorites being “Hungry Like The Wolf”, “She Blinded Me With Science” and “Der Commissar” (never knew who the artists were at the time, just knew I preferred them over the overtly happier pop sounds)…parents divorced that same year, although traumatic, my younger sister and I were still brought up in very stable and loving family units, due to the strong German and Swedish families we came from…
My parents were quite straight-laced and Ozzy-n-Harriet, so it’s been a great matter of debate as to where my sister and I got our morbid streaks. My theory is that, they repressed their dark sides so well that, while in-utero (that’s the second time I used that word, w00t), the residual backwash saturated us to the point of genetic mutation. Or, we just got off on making them freak out. Either one would hold up in court…
From third grade on up through High School, I was always considered to be “that weird kid”. Things got weirder in Junior High when I discovered Stephen King, speed metal and Evil Dead 2, not necessarily in that order. I was also diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome (not a “swearing disease”…my ticks were physical, and involved head twitches) coupled with severe manic depression, and put on several medications. My Freshman year was the darkest period in my life, culminating in several suicide attempts, destructive antisocial behavior, and several trips to the psychiatric ward. Long story short, after my fifth trip to ze loony bin, I accepted Jesus Christ as my savior, due less to the Christians who avoided me like the plague and more to the lyrics of a Stryper song. Go figure.
Here’s an interesting paradox. Even after I became a born-again Christian, my tastes continued to get darker. Only this time, they got darker with a decidedly Christian world-view to it. Which, of course, made me a bit of an oddball in the accepted Christian circles.
In college, I discovered through a friend the music stylings of Mortal, Under Midnight, Dead Artists Syndrome, Saviour Machine, and of course Circle Of Dust and Brainchild. At the college station I DJed at, I would bring out the old vinyl copies of Sisters Of Mercy, The Cure, Art Of Noise, and other obscure and weird artists that caught my fancy. I also helped plan the Halloween film fest, discovering the old silent German impressionism films like Nosferatu and Metropolis. All the while, not once did I think that enjoying these kind of things conflicted with my faith.
From 1993 through 1997, I was involved with a church that was very charismatic. At first, I thought I found a place where I could truly worship Jesus freely without being shackled by tradition and rules. Near the end of my tenure there, I found myself under more rules and shackles than I ever thought possible. I was constantly being told, usually through the guise of a “word from the Lord”, that the kind of outreach I was going for wasn’t of God, that the music I listened to wasn’t really “Christian music” (I cannot tell you how many times Argyle Park and the like were referenced by name while they were channelling the Big Giant Head), I was being oppressed (if not totally possessed) by demons, that I needed to constantly submit to God to ever be used by Him…yadda yadda yadda. At first, since I was a bit naive yet zealous in my desire to serve God, I would agree and try to conform to what they thought was considered Christ-like and Godly children of our Lord. Yet, all that time, as time went on, there was a massive conflict in my being that said something wasn’t quite right.
The straw that finally broke the proverbial camel’s back was the night after a midweek evening bible study, when my presence was requested in the back office, where I was ambushed by the pastor’s wife, the assistant pastor, and one of the ladies of the congregation that had that oh, so special anointing that someone like me can never obtain. It was surreal- I was sitting there, silent, and for forty-five minutes those three ripped my spirit to shreds. I was told that unless I shaped up, God would spit me out. My ideas for reaching out to the so-called Mansonites was mocked. My faith was questioned. The lady who was specially anointed with several herbs and spices (also came in extra-crispy) wept openly as she described the demons that were constantly hovering around my body. My music wasn’t godly. My clothes weren’t godly. The fact that I wanted to work and pay off my debts instead of spending every waking hour inside the church submitted to their authority wasn’t godly. I was essentially told that I was about to be spit out of God’s mouth.
And in the end, I agreed with them. Stupid idea? Yes. But remember, this is how depraved my personal relationship with God had gotten. I was an empty shell of what I once was.
For three weeks after, I still attended Sunday morning services, though not as alive as I was. I was miserable. Then, the last day there, sitting through yet another one of those “if you proclaim your wealth and health, you’ll have it” that have been dominating the sermons for the past couple of years, something inside me said, “You’re done here.” I got up and left. And I was followed out by the assistant pastor, who let me know outside in no uncertain terms that I was fallen away, and will be accepted back if I ever decided to go back to God. Funny thing was, I knew I was following God out of there. Again, delicious irony.
For several months afterwards, I prayed. I found myself still attracted to the darker side of things as a Christian. I started wearing all black due to the Johnny Cash song. I kept my fingernails painted black as well, as a statement of how I viewed things. I found myself a lone darksider (for lack of a better word) Christian, stuck in a culture dominated by CCM, Tooth & Nail alternative, and the whole “Jesus Freak” catchphrases. I prayed to God that, if this is what He wanted me to be a part of, then change my heart to fit in with the normal and accepted trappings of Christianity. If not, then it was definitely up to Him to lead me to others that are at least like-minded that I can learn from each other, and had some experiences like I had.
Then came that fateful Jan. / Feb. 1998 issue of HM magazine, that featured on the little-known Goth and Industrial scenes in Christian music. That was a complete answer to prayer, as it was my first official look into a culture that I consider home. That year, I officially took on the moniker NecRoSarX, which is translated to Dead Flesh, which reflects my slightly morbid Christian outlook. In 1999, I attended the Cornerstone festival for the first time, and became well acquainted with The Asylum tent and its multitude. I was a complete newbie, and I’m sure I ruffled quite a few feathers from the elder attendants, but I was eager to listen and learn, and gain a more rounded sense of my new-found group (whether I was accepted or not). I made some very good friends there, and the other two times I attended deepened my commitment to who I really am. I also joined Xnetgoth that same year. I just lurk a whole bunch.
To wrap things up, I don’t necessarily consider myself “Goth” in the traditional sense. I do, however, praise God that I was lead to this extended family of mine (whether you count yourself a Christian or not). You might say that I’ve always had gothic tendencies…it just took me a while to figure this out. And now, in my early 40s, it’s just getting weirder and darker…and I wouldn’t want it any other way…
And believe it or not, this was the super-condensed Reader’s Digest Edition of things…trust me, I was merciful…
p.s. – I started referring to myself online as “Uncle NecRo” back in 2003, after my sister and brother-in-law told me I would become one in real life…and because “Cousin NecRo” sounded too Dukes Of Hazard-ish…