Friday, September 28, 2012

An Open Letter to Nikki Sixx

Dear Mr. Sixx,
Can I call you Nikki? I feel like I already know you so well, even though you will probably never even know I exist. That’s OK, that’s how the fan/star relationship works. I’m cool with it.
I’ve been a Motley Crue fan since I was but a teenage Sassyfats. Young, impressionable, and drawn to rebellion. More accurately, I was drawn to the idea of rebellion. I was way too timid to actually do anything that would get me in trouble. In fact, I can only think of two incidents in my entire teenage years where I felt like I was capable of being a real badass, and both of them happened when I was 14. That was all I needed to get all the badassery out of my system. Incidentally, it was the same year chronicled in your book, The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star. Had you and I actually met at the time, you either would have blown me off because I was, in all honesty, way more of a dweeb than I would have admitted back then. Or you would have drawn me into your web of corruption just for funzies. Either outcome would have destroyed me, so it’s a good thing I never made it backstage. No offense.

Since I know the details about your rebellion, you wanna hear the details about mine? Cool. Here goes. Brace yourself, this gets ugly. (Ha ha)

My first overtly rebellious move that year was screaming the “F” word at my parents in front of my conservative grandmother because they wouldn’t let me hang out in night clubs with my older brother. My 14-year-old brain didn’t even comprehend that there was no way in hell my brother would have let me tag along in the first place, so it was a wasted argument. But my parents’ calm but firm “No” just pissed me right off and made me want to fight. I was screaming and crying and throwing in every topic under the sun to shock them. They reacted so calmly when I told them my goal in life was to be a rock video slut that I had to escalate. I thought for sure dropping the F-bomb in front of Grandma would at least get them to raise their voices. No dice. They completely ignored my outburst, left me hangin’ for a few minutes, then calmly explained that Georgetown nightclubs are no place for a teenage girl, no means no, and this discussion is closed. Took the wind right outta my sails and made screaming at my parents a lot less fun. So I stormed off to my room, blasted Girls Girls Girls, and brooded. That showed them.  
My other great rebellious moment happened at school. I’d had a run-in with my English teacher, and in the hallway after class I was loudly telling my friends what a stupid bitch she was. Some other teacher overheard me and sent me to the principal’s office. It was the end of the day, so I went home instead. The next day in English class, my ass got dragged to the principal’s office by one of the meanest administrators at my high school. He made me march – yes, literally march – down to the office. On top of insubordination and failure to report, he charged me with destruction of school property because I had “lost” (read: burned) the referral slip that other teacher had written. He even smirked at one point and told me how gratifying it was to take a blond-haired, blue-eyed girl like me who thinks she's above the law and drop her down several notches. Dude had some serious control issues.
As soon as Mr. Stallings (real name, by the way) let me go from his office, I burst into tears and cried the rest of the day. I was sure I’d never get into college now. (All that crap they tell you about things going on your permanent record? Yeah, I bought it. And yeah, I cared. See? Dweeb.) Since it was my first offense, my parents got to choose between two punishments: a three-day suspension, or me having to solicit the signatures of 80 faculty members stating I had apologized for my actions. Did my parents get me the three-day vacation? Nope. Instead I spent the next two days confessing my sins to 80 other teachers and begging them to sign my petition for forgiveness. Dad called it an integrity-building exercise. I stayed out of trouble after that so it must have worked. Imagine that.    
But my failed attempts at rebellion are not the real reason I’m writing today. I just finished reading your book yesterday. Dude. Just… Dude. I saw an interview with you one time where you described the time you woke up with a needle in your arm, so I knew you’d had some issues. But I seriously had no idea the kind of nightmare you were living.
I came upon your book in a roundabout kind of way. I’d heard your radio show, Sixx Sense, by chance one night and realized that you were behind a song I’d heard a few weeks earlier and liked. I know, that’s a vague reference coming from a self-proclaimed fan. But I have to confess (there I go with the confessions again), I’ve gotten so caught up in my 30-something, suburban working mom lifestyle that I haven’t paid much attention to what’s going on in the music industry. I’ve spent too many years just listening to whatever’s on the car radio and not really noticing artist or title. I know, lame. But once I knew about Sixx:AM, I started listening to your music incessantly. The lyrics were so gripping I was drawn in right away. And the music… Let’s just say the dormant musician in my brain was happy to have finally been awoken from its slumber. Listening to these songs over and over again made me realize you’ve been through some dark times. But I had no idea how dark until I finally got my hands on your book.
Even as a young’un I knew Motley Crue had a reputation for debauchery. I knew about the sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll lifestyle. Obviously not from firsthand experience, but I had MTV back in the days it featured music videos and the artists who made them. To my naive mind, it all looked like such a good time  – like the life of a rock star was just one big endless party where everyone was happy all the time. But MTV never showed the underbelly of that lifestyle. I had no idea that when I was locked in my room belting out Wild Side, for example, just how sordid your afternoon was the day you decided to crumple up the Lord’s Prayer in that song. Before reading your book, I thought the lyrics were a carefully crafted artistic representation of despair – I never knew just how much you meant those words when you wrote them.
It might be hard for some to believe, but some of your innermost thoughts from 1987 really resonated with me. No, I’ve never been abandoned by my family. I’ve never done illegal drugs, not even pot. I’ve always taken prescription drugs exactly as directed. (But sometimes I take three Tylenol instead of two. I know – shocking!) I’ve never even been what would be qualified by most people as drunk. Sure, I’ve been tipsy a time or two. But shitfaced, blackout-inducing, who-is-this-person-in-my-bed drunk? Nope. It’s just not my thing.
But I am intimately familiar with what drove your self-destructive addiction and brush with death: depression. That’s a demon I’ve wrestled with most of my life. I know all too well what it’s like to be uncomfortable in your own skin. I know what it’s like to wonder why you can’t enjoy the good things in your life. I know what it’s like to wish you could fade away from existence or magically become a different person. And sadly, I know what it’s like to teeter on the edge of giving up the fight to survive this life. I’ve been there. My rock bottom might not have had as many jagged edges or as much swill as yours did, but it was bad enough for me. If you take out the drug references, some of your later journal entries could have been written by me at some points in my life. And the more people I meet in this world, the more I realize just how many are out there walking around in a state of misery because they don’t realize a treatable medical condition is sucking all the joy out of their lives.   
So why am I blogging an open letter to you that you will probably never even see? Having read your book, sometimes while listening to the songs you wrote to go with it, my head is full. Wait. No. More accurately, my heart is full. I have to get this out:
Thank you for having the balls to publish such an intimate look into life at the bottom of a dark, smelly pit. You are a living, breathing testimony that it is possible to claw your way out of the depths of Hell and go on to live a rewarding life.
People with depression and/or addiction issues need to know that. They need to know that they aren’t freaks for feeling the way they do, that they’re not as alone in the world as they think they are, and that life can be worth living – if they get the right help. The more people like you step forward and share your stories, people in the pit have a better chance of finding a foothold to climb out of the darkness.

Mad Props & Exploding Fist Bumps,

P.S. Since we've done all this soul-baring here, could you and the boys play us out? You will? Awesome.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Life is Beautiful by Sixx:AM.

1 comment:

  1. Another great one. I was there for most of your bad ass times. lol
    Love Mike


Go on, spill yer guts!