Before I continue on with this post, a background on me is required for you to understand this about me. Don’t continue reading if you don’t want to read about real things and a “dark” period of my life. PG-13 warning.
I remember it was my sophomore year in high school. We were watching Bowling for Columbine in class. Part of that documentary had an interview with Marilyn Manson. Some questioned whether or not Manson’s music played into the school shooting, that his music influenced the killers. But in that interview, I didn’t get an idea of a man that’s demented. In fact, Manson came off as one of the most intelligent, misunderstood people ever. (And this is also part of the reason why I am fascinated with outcasts of the world. I understand the misunderstood.) His belief that people shouldn’t be asking him for his voice opinion, but the voice and opinion of the hurt, struggling kids. They were the ones that needed to be interviewed, not himself.
At that time also, I was really into wrestling and the WWE at the time used one of Manson’s songs “The Beautiful People” as their theme song for one of their shows. Then they used another one of his songs, the one above, as a theme song for a pay per view. This was the first time I was ever exposed to his music. Before that, I had the general stereotypes about him. He was just so strange that a lot of people thought that if you liked his music, you were demented. But I kind of liked it on a first listen and I decided to see what it was all about. I wanted to see if my initial perception of him was justified.
And so goes me in my time of confusion in high school. I was a young man trying to find my way. I wasn’t to say I was an emo loner or anything. But it was during that time I started to really absorb the world as a whole. I was not an outcast at my school, but I wasn’t a jock, I wasn’t one of the handsome people. I was part of a circle of friends that were so miscellaneous that I felt that I was just that.
Anyway, I ended up listening and buying Manson’s music out of curiosity and also mainly because it sounded great on the outside. Of course, I wasn’t going to believe in every lyric of every song. A lot of it was twisted and weird. But there were some really strong, powerful messages in his music. Some songs were pretty bad, I admit that. But it wasn’t all about evil things all the time. It actually touched on a lot of human emotion and destruction that we deal with every day. In fact, it was pretty real and graphic that I was attracted to it. There are some gems that people don’t realize. It just wasn’t a pretty picture that Manson painted with his music. But I saw through some of it.
How often in our lives do we get so caught up with society, our failings in our own eyes? We’ve become somebody we don’t want to be? That’s what his music was. It was about the pain of the world. But it wasn’t emo at all. In fact, it was more of a reality check. It was just painted in a way that was scary and unconventional.
I was intrigued. I really liked it. But that phase of my life passed on and I moved onto other genres of music. But this past week, it came back to me for some reason. How come? I wasn’t sure. But “The Fight Song” stuck out to me for some reason. I listened to the song again and re-read the lyrics. And somehow, someway, the lyrics actually brought me closer to God.
I’m not a slave to a god that doesn’t exist
I’m not a slave to a world that doesn’t give a shit
That’s the chorus from the song. It’s pretty simple and straightforward. The song itself is about fighting all the pressure and perceptions that hold us down from ourselves. In a way, we can’t just let it pass us by. We have to fight for our own livelihood. We have to fight for our own purpose. We cannot be held down. It takes a strong person to withstand all that nastiness surrounding them.
So the chorus to me told me that I cannot be a prisoner. I could not be a slave to a god that doesn’t exist. What god? The god of greed. The god of lust. The god of society’s expectation of us. The god we created. Money, sex, property, status — all man-made. It’s not important in God’s eyes. But we’ve made it as a false idol. We’ve turned all that into our god. It’s not real, but we’ve made it real.
We cannot be a slave to that.
In a same sense, we cannot be a slave to a world that doesn’t give a shit. That part really was hard to understand at first but in a way, we’ve surrounded ourselves with people who are just that. We’re disposable to our peers. Once we no longer have value to them, we’re fired or just forgotten. Is that what we want to make out of our lives? Is that how we want to live? Are those the people we want to be around?
God values us. His people value us. They do give a shit about us. They care when we fall. They care when we succeed. God sees meaning in us and invests in us. I don’t want to be part of a world that doesn’t do that for me. I don’t want to be a statistic. I want to be that one coin that’s found, that one sheep that’s found. I am not one in a crowd that nobody sees.
And somehow, Marilyn Manson reminded me of one of God’s greatest message. I’ve written before about being valuable and it’s still sad that even though I know the value of that reminder, I forget it so much. I try to please people so hard all the time. I feel that I am not good enough, that I haven’t lived up to a certain standard. But it took one dark, demented, intelligent man’s lyrics to remind me that I am valued. I cannot be held down by my own impersonations. I have to fight out of it.
I haven’t listened to Manson’s music since high school. I was past that phase. But I decided to listen to his music again. I did it again to figure out why I was so attracted to it for a short period of my life. As I listened to it, the beat and instrumentals still sounded great. But when I gave a chance to really dive into the lyrics, I remembered exactly why I was a fan of it.
It’s sickening. It’s dirty. It’s deformed, misshapen. It’s creepy. It’s exactly who I was and still am. It’s also exactly a great description of the world we live in now. Much like a lot of the lyrics, I still struggle with my own filth. I still struggle with finding my place. I still struggle with just being me. That’s what the music meant to me. He told it in a more twisted way.
In no way, shape or form was I even close to wearing all black, being emo, going to some anger management issue. In fact, listening to his music opened my eyes and my heart in a way. It didn’t sugarcoat the world like some pop music that’s so popular and acceptable. It told me the world is real and I have to fight all that’s bad from it to get to my redemption.
That drove me. That gave me that desire to find my true purpose and true value. It helped me find God.
So yeah, this was part of my faith journey to God. Unconventional, yes. But is any faith journey conventional and convenient?
After all that, I am better for it. And it partially came because of lyrics by Marilyn Manson and his words in that documentary. He reminded me about the nasty world we’ve created and how we cannot be slaves to it. And by that, it drew me to God. And it would be right after high school where I saw God for the first time and my life was changed forever.
You look at me now and you would have never known this about me. But you have to peel that layer to see my core and foundation. Same thing with Manson. I peeled some layers to really see what he was about. It was strange, but it was also eye-opening.
I kind of wished that Manson didn’t present such a powerful message in such a strange, twisted way. But maybe it was because it was so twisted and real, that I wanted to understand it. It painted the picture so perfectly of a world we live in and for me personally, how much I needed to stop being a slave of my own demise and to seek my salvation in God. That’s what I got out of it and I am very grateful it drew me closer to God.