Mental Health is a popular topic, these days, not just during Mental Health Awareness Month . We all know how to be kind to each other and that bullying is wrong but people are still attacked. People still feel hopeless and sometimes, people still commit suicide. This is not a new problem. I don’t know a single person who doesn’t have a trauma in the past like bullying, loss, depression, etc. Or they are going through emotional challenges right now. Life is just plain hard in a million different ways. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of answers but at least people are trying.
Sometimes people have awful experiences and come out the other side. That is when you have hope. People like Aurelio Voltaire.
Just A Couple Of Fans
Brian and I have been fans of Voltaire for years. For the past 16 years or so, I have gone to see him every time I had an opportunity. I went from going to see him in my club clothes that I can no longer fit into
to seeing him at conventions with our kids. (And he has always been super nice to those kids of ours.)
Of course, by now, he knows us and when we see him, it’s like seeing an old friend. An old friend who is insanely talented, kind, funny and dead sexy, but an old friend, none the less. 😉
Aurelio Voltaire’s music is not for everyone. A lot of his songs could be called “inappropriate” and some would be offended. Some, like us, would not. And that’s ok and that’s kind of the point.
I’m not writing about him to tell you that he is great and puts on an awesome show. (But, he is and he does…) I want to tell you about his struggles to get to where he is today. And hopefully raise a little awareness of my own.
I have heard Voltaire tell his story more than once. But, each time it still hurts my heart and makes me so happy that he made it through his personal hell.
Because Aurelio Voltaire who stands on a stage and performs with such confidence almost committed suicide at 17 years old.
This is his story.
When he was a kid, he would get beat up on a daily basis at school. They would tell him to kill himself. When he would go home, his step-father would verbally attack him. He had no patience for his love of stop motion and called it “playing with dolls.”
When he was 17, he couldn’t take it anymore and decided to take others’ advice and decided to kill himself. He circled a date on the calendar and made his plans.
One night, before the “big” day, Voltaire went to the local diner because that was the thing that you did in his small town. He made his way to a booth in the back and hoped to be left alone. A little while after, a few people walked in. They were dressed up in outlandish outfits. There was a woman in a maid outfit with Magenta colored hair, a man dressed as a butler and a man in a corset and women’s underwear. (Do you see where this is going?) They unapologetically walked past the small town folks and sat down at a booth.
Soon they spotted the sad kid in the corner. One of them came over and he said “You look like you could use a friend. Would you like to come sit with us?”
He didn’t know it then but this was a life changing moment.
He sat with them and asked what they were wearing. And why? They explained that they had been to the Rocky Horror Picture Show. He had never heard of it and they told him that he had to come on the following Saturday.
He crossed off the suicide date and decide to go see the Rocky Horror Picture Show instead
A New Beginning
This was when he started to realize that he wasn’t alone. That he wasn’t different from everyone in the world, just from the people in his small town.
So, after he circled and crossed out a few more suicide dates, he took a big chance. He packed up and ran away to New York. Now I’m not advocating running away but it definitely worked out for him.
When he got to New York, he quickly discovered that there were plenty of people who were into things that he was and maybe, more importantly, there were plenty of people who didn’t give a crap about what he was into.
Fast forward to Voltaire getting jobs doing stop motion for MTV, making albums, writing songs for Cartoon Network and being allowed to be who he is!
Voltaire’s story is heartbreaking but also one of hope. They say that no problem is permanent and his story basically proves the theory. You just never know what is coming around the corner and you never know how your actions and choices can affect someone else. So act wisely. For Voltaire, one night for him, around the corner came some “freaks” who would quite literally save his life. I wonder if he told them.
Like many others, I’m beyond grateful that this man is still with us and is happy. No, he is not for everyone and that’s ok. You’re not for everyone, either. But you weren’t put on this earth to fit into everyone’s box. You were put here to construct your own little box; a box that you fit in.
His story has so many reminders in it. It’s a reminder that everyone fights their own battles. It’s a reminder not to judge. It’s a reminder that we should be kind to each other. It’s a reminder that trauma can be overcome. It’s a reminder that no one has a right to tell you who to be and that no one is really alone.
And neither are you. So hang in there.
To quote one of his songs, “It’s not your fault , you’re innocent “
To hear his story in his own words, check out the video on my instagram, “the6parkersmom.”