What happened next really was my own damn fault. Yeah, it was Dawn's idea, but I went along with it. I was dumb, I was painfully immature, I was desperate to be anything other than what I was: an ugly loser. I am so utterly fucking embarrassed to admit to this, even anonymously.
Stereotypically speaking, heavy metal and Satanism have always walked hand in hand, no more so than in the 1980s, when every preschool was suspected of conducting ritualistic ceremonies between juice box break and nap time, and every record contained backwards messages encouraging teenagers to fuck chickens, shove statues of the Virgin Mary up their asses and then kill themselves. The simple truth of the matter was that it was all bullshit. Oh sure, there really ARE heavy metal bands who DO practice Satanism, but I can count them on one hand. And I've never heard a single record - metal or otherwise - played backward that revealed anything other than gibberish along the lines of "Croberashankamastafus."
But when you're fourteen, and poor, and boyfriendless... yeah, it's tempting to believe that praying to a dark deity will grant all of your dearest wishes sooner rather than later.
It was all painfully cartoonish and completely ridiculous. We burned a black candle here, recited a cheesy incantation found in a cheap paperback (written by a masturbating cellar gremlin covered in Cheeto dust, no doubt) book there, promised our immortal souls to Satan if His RedSkinned Horned Greatness would just make Kenny love me back, pretty please? Oh and also, could you make my hair as perfect as the girl in the Motley Crue video too?
So yeah, I spent a month or two worshipping Satan. Or rather, I wasted a month or two paying homage to the popular image of Satan - red guy, pitchfork, tail with a point on the end, blahdee blahdee blah. God, maybe at this point I should admit to having owned purple E.T. The Extraterrestrial shoelaces when I was 12, or that I liked Barry Manilow when I was 7. It would be less shameful than this.
I think I thought on some level that being a Big Scary Satanist would make people leave me alone. They'd smell the evil power I wielded and shrink before my mightiness and stop bullying me. People would be frightened of me, intimidated by me, afraid to antagonize me lest they be smote by a beam of pure sulfurous flame from the sinful pit of hellish doom. God was I stupid.
Of course, people found out. Like I wasn't stupidly drawing upside crosses on my brown bag book covers, double derhey. The bullying worsened. I didn't think it was possible. To this day I'm surprised I made it out of high school without being drawn and quartered or burned at the stake.
One girl in particular made my life a living Hell, pun definitely intended. Her name was Kris. She was a preppy with stiffly feathered hair, a lacquered complexion and a wardrobe right out of the Sears "Junior Executive Bitch Squad" line. She had one outfit in particular - a matching lavender suit, complete with wide brimmed hat, elbow gloves and a wrap. At fifteen, she looked like a 60 year old PTA president. She called my house at nights and on weekends, informing me that if I dared show my face at school again, I'd get my ass kicked. She would march up to me in the halls and demand to know what/who/why/how I worshipped Satan. One fine day during PE, she came up out of nowhere, right in my face and informed me that she and all of her friends were signing a petition to make me stop doing whatever it was she thought I was doing. At the time, the aforementioned Angel of the beautiful black eyes had listened to Kris's pronouncement and stunningly came to my defense: "Why don't you and your friends mind your own fucking business?"
Kris looked horrified. I know I was. I had thought that she and Angel were friends. Angel didn't even look mad, just amused and scornful. Kris stuttered something about how I was sick and evil, and then lamely wandered off. Angel rolled her eyes. That was it.
I never complained about this branch of the bullying tree, because even at the age of fifteen, I knew I'd fucked up, brought it on myself and deserved it. And because I refused to offer an explanation, apologize or defend myself, the bullying got worse, and worse and worse. You see, it's not true that ignoring the bullies makes them get bored and leave you alone. Silence is consent, and they will never stop, not once they know and see they've gotten under your skin. Once they wear you down, they won't stop until you're in ruins.
And sometimes, you make the mistake of believing that the only way to stop them forever is to ruin yourself.