It’s a day I thought would never come.
I’ve been listening to Marilyn Manson’s music for half my life, and the influence that’s had is profound. It’s taught me to be open-minded to ideas that are inconsistent with my own, and to be tolerant of people who are “different.” Marilyn Manson gave me permission to follow my own path, and the courage to be myself, whatever that meant at the moment.
My life has gone through many phases…from goth to glam, prep to punk.
These phases were my path to self-discovery. And if not for the strength I found in Manson’s music, I would’ve buckled to the pressure and harassment of my peers for being different. For wearing spiked collars and black nail polish. White lipstick and holographic shirts…
Or Abercrombie at a Marilyn Manson concert.
His influence wasn’t only in the clothes I wore, but also in the way I thought about life. I refused to follow the trends, and I became critical of our society. I wouldn’t allow myself to become another mindless sheep. Listening to Manson’s music pushed me to think for myself, and to question authority. And that’s exactly what I did.
It wasn’t always easy, and I made a lot of mistakes. But I’m a better person today for having been allowed to explore my individuality. And without the influence of Marilyn Manson, there’s no doubt I wouldn’t be the same person I am today. A little older, my “battles” are different, but I still refuse to follow the herd, and I do what I want with my life, not what’s expected (and trust me, the older you get, the more expectations there are.) I no longer dress in spikes or wear lipstick, but the attitude remains. I’m me…so fuck off!
About three years ago I went to a Marilyn Manson concert, and afterwards stood outside in the freezing Wisconsin winter for hours just for a chance to meet him. I never got that chance. It was frustrating to have braved the cold, risking frostbite and hypothermia, only to watch his bus drive away. But even as disappointed as I was, I knew I’d do it all again.
Then on Tuesday there was a post on Marilyn Manson’s Facebook page that said he’d be doing a book signing in Hollywood on Thursday night. I checked out flights, and they were expensive. I talked myself out of going. As much as I wanted to meet him, it didn’t seem reasonable to fly halfway across the country for a handshake and an autograph.
I kept thinking about it, and I knew that if I didn’t go, I’d have huge regrets, so I booked a flight to LA for the next morning and packed my backpack. Holy shit! I was going to meet Marilyn Manson!
In the morning I grabbed my bag, kissed Erin good-bye, and drove to the airport. Some hours later I was in LA, cruising down Hollywood Boulevard with a friend from high school (to whom I’m forever grateful and indebted!) She wasn’t interested in going since Manson didn’t have quite the same impact on her life as he did mine, so she dropped me off at the bookstore.
The line was filled with all types of people…from goths, to girls dressed in miniskirts. Some were covered in tattoos, while others had none. There was blue hair, pink hair, grey hair. Platform boots, high heals, high-healed platforms. Despite our differences, we were all united in Marilyn Manson impacting our lives in some way. Listening to other people talk, I heard stories exactly the same as my own. “If it wasn’t for Manson…”
As the people shuffled in to meet him, it wasn’t the “freak show” I’d expected it to be. People weren’t groveling or trying to attack him. Most people just shook his hand, exchanged a few words and smiled a lot. Of course, there’s always that “one person.” When it was her turn to meet him, she grabbed him and started kissing him. I think she may have even licked him. Manson just laughed.
You’d think that after fifteen years, I’d know exactly what I’d say when I met him. Nope. I didn’t have a clue. He’s heard a million times how he’s changed people’s lives. I thought about asking him his thoughts on Barack Obama, or Michelle Bachmann. Maybe if he’d heard about the dolphin slaughter in Japan. But when I was standing in front of him, all I could think to say was, “It’s nice to meet you.” He looked at me, smiled, and said “It’s nice to meet you, too.” Then we shook hands. He signed my book, we shook hands again, and I had my picture taken with him. Then I moved on.
After the signing was the première of his new video, “Born Villian.” Watching a Marilyn Manson video with Marilyn Manson is an experience that cannot compare to anything, and it’s a night I won’t soon forget.