Inside I’m screaming

Outside it’s calm. Inside my earphones is rage. Loud screamy music that sometimes I have to avoid listening to because it triggers such rage and anger I don’t know how to deal with it.

Gigs cleanse me. I know – autistic – shouldn’t be able to deal with the sensory onslaught of standing in the midst of a huge crowd, all the lights, all the blue, all the sound, the flickering and fluctuations that wrap me tight in their arms and reassure me, just for a few hours, that nothing else matters.

As long as I hold on to the barriers next to the sound desk, I’m fine. The barriers stop me falling over, an anchor in the onslaught. A fixed point from which I cannot drift away from, but the temptation is always there. To let go. To fall into the blackness and light and let it swallow me up.

I never let go.

Outlets. Little pieces of controlled animosity. Jigsaw pieces fallen to the floor and stamped on, picture ripped off, cardboard left bare, context eroded and erased beneath a thousand stamping feet. Give me freedom. Give me oblivion.

Music is the only place I feel safe to scream. The only place I know I’ll always come back from. The lights go up, a friends face turns to me and the mask snaps back instantly. As if the prior 2 hours of eyes closed therapy have never happened. As if they were standing next to 2 minutes before never existed at all.

In the dark and the noise, no one can hear you screaming the lyrics with a vehemence that would terrify if the electric suddenly cut out. No one can see the cute little girl with hair in plaits head banging or dancing like a whore in a harem, the liquid beats seeping in through her ears, the bass wrapping her heart, dancing with her fingers, her wrists, her elbows, her shoulders, her chest, her stomach, her pelvis…every single inch of skin covered in raised hairs and goosebumps, eyes closed, inside and outside the music, the lights penetrating closed eyes, the synaesthesic images that the music creates painted vividly inside her eyelids.

There is freedom in invisibility to be whatever and whoever you need to be. There is an opportunity for cathartic shedding of old skin, of flaying the pain and grief from yourself, of emerging anew, breathless and laughing, footsore and fancy free.

Screaming into the bass and beats is my therapy. It’s my anchor. It’s my nemesis but also my saviour.

A life lived viscerally is the life, I think, of an autistic. I am blessed to be able to manage to go to gigs and festivals. I know this. If I could set something up to help more of us feel that wonderful catharsis, that stripping away, I would. It is the closest thing I have to a religious experience. God is a DJ. Or a rhythm guitarist. Or a drummer. Or a taiko drummer. Or a saxophonist. Or a fidder. Or a…

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