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People tell me there is nothing beautiful about punk rock. To them, I say: “Fuck you.”

Everything that is beautiful is in punk rock. When I opened up Lidia Yuknavitch’s Chronology Of Water, the first line was burned into my brain, “If you’ve ever fucked up in your life… this book is for you.” It was a beautiful, fucked up book, but I am going to borrow that line. If you’ve ever fucked up, punk rock is for you.

If you’ve ever sat down and listened to a band like Social Distortion, you know what I am talking about. If you haven’t, check out these lyrics:

You say you’re down on your luck
hey baby, its a long, long way up
hold back now, hold back your fears
you say you’re really down and out
and you feel like there’s no way out now
let go now let go of your tears some more

How many times have you asked yourself
is this the hand of fate that I’ve been dealt?
you’re so disillusioned this can’t be real
and you can’t stand now the way you feel

I don’t care about what they say
I won’t live or die that way
tired of figuring out things on my own
angel’s wings wont you carry me home

[Chorus:]
And when you’re down on your luck
hey baby, its a long, long way up
hold back now, hold back your fears
and when you’re really down and out
and you feel like there’s no way out now
let go now let go of your tears some more

[Repeat Chorus]

I triumphed in the face of adversity
and I became the man I never thought I’d be
and now my biggest challenge, a thing called love
I guess I’m not as tough as I thought I was

I don’t care about what they say
I’m gonna marry you some day
go ahead and wake up, its a brand new day
Angel’s wings gonna carry you away
Angel’s wings are going to carry me away
Angel’s wings are going to carry us away

(Angel’s Wings–Social Distortion)

Isn’t that what we’re all looking for in some way? Someone to look us in the eyes, take us by our shoulders and say, “You’re fucked up. I’m fucked up. The whole fucking world is fucked up. And it’s okay.”

But I’ll take it further. I’ll take it to Black Flag, The Descendants, and any other punk band you may or may not have had the chance to really listen to. Punk rock is about fucking up. Its about that time when you ruined everything with the best intentions and ended up sleeping on your friend’s couch for months. Its about the time you projectile vomited in front of a couple kids and realized you really were that drunk at eight pm on a weeknight. Punk rock is about finding that violent, primal side of yourself you try to hide and embracing it. Then punching it in the mouth.

Henry Rollins has been quoted as saying “Half of life is fucking up, the other half is dealing with it.” Some may misinterpret that as a depressing sentiment. It’s not. The other half is where all the beautiful stuff happens. It’s where you learn. It’s where you grow. It’s where you find people as fucked up as you are, reach out, and find the most beautiful thing about life is other people. Human beings. Stupid, imperfect, fucked up human beings.

Maybe you’ve never had to couch surf. Maybe you’ve never had an embarrassing drinking problem. Maybe your life has been all white picket fences and suburban clichés. But you’ve hurt people. You’ve tried your damndest to do the right thing and watched it blow up in your face. We all have.

The human experience is mostly about trying to make sense of a lot of shit that doesn’t make sense.

And it is beautiful.

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