18/21 "Silent Era" (album: Reset to Factory Specs) began with a prompt. I had this image in my head of a woman screaming in a silent film, but no one could hear her.
That's how I've felt in my skin for a very long time. Maybe always. I only recognized in pieces and layers as I moistened and peeled back the papier-mache strips I'd hardened to marble, how much armour I'd built. It had no cracks, no imperfections.
I've been at this unpeeling, undoing practice for more than a decade now. Since I was diagnosed autistic. I've been astonished to find new depths to my actual personality hidden beneath decades of desperately trying to be someone else. Of training the face in the mirror to betray nothing of those depths.
I know what I was thinking when I wrote this song. I know what my conscious mind was thinking. But the more I stepped back to look at it from the outside the more I understood what my subconscious mind had been writing about.
It's a page out of my diary, if I were the kind of person to keep one. Instead I keep songs in albums, like this one. They're my entire story.
"You didn't hear her but that scream left her throat
All that she had to give's on the cutting room floor
While you get your coat
She memorized her lines
Note for dubbed-over note
Do it again for the camera
And this time emote"
Somewhere between writing the songs for Reset to Factory Specs and 2 years later releasing the album into the world, I recognized that I was non-binary and I came out. My pronouns are they/them. I believe this has been the deepest, most hidden revelation about myself to uncover, and it is a strange feeling to be done.
I've been peeling back these camouflage strips for so long that to have nothing constructed by Past Me left to look under means it's time for a paradigm shift. (This will become a 2-year project beginning in November: more about it soon.)
Every reading of the cards I've done for the past month or more has pointed to a new thing starting for me on every level - internal, external, career, life. It's time. If one thing is clear, it's time.