Flashback Friday: “I’d Rather Die Than Give You Control”

Grade ten.  A history class field trip to Kensington Market and Chinatown, for vague reasons our teacher could barely explain.  Fifteen year-old me seated beside my crush.

Ah, Ian.  He wasn’t your stereotypical hottie, nor was he a jock, buff or any of the things society kept telling me I should idolize.  He was funny, quiet, kinda lanky and just goth enough to intrigue me.  He was also always kind to me, unlike most of those idiot jocks.  I was a little different too.  I think he got that.

So there we are, on those leather-coated bench seats of the yellow school bus, when a scene plays out from a movie cliche:

“Do you listen to Nine Inch Nails?”

“No, I’ve never heard them,” I confess, in a tone that clearly states, But I love new music.


He passes me one of his ear buds and changes my life forever.

We never dated — sorry, movie of the week fans — nor do I mind that nothing ever came of a schoolgirl infatuation.  We did remain friendly throughout high school.  Ian gave me a greater gift:  a way to handle anger and isolation.  A way to understand that somewhere out there, someone could be as frustrated and pissed off at the world as I could be — about politics, religion, relationships, even at myself.  Listening to Nine Inch Nails never made me feel worse; it was a way to release the pressure of life in far from ideal circumstances and keep moving forward.  None of the music I had pulled into my personal collection to that point gave me that sort of catharsis.

Even now, as life has settled into a happy routine, I, like Trent Reznor, still have plenty to be pissed off about.  Tonight, I’m going to enjoy a little music therapy at the Air Canada Centre.  Guaranteed in the set:  the song that began my love affair.

Missed our review of Hesitation Marks?  Click here.

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