This Pride Month, Atwood Magazine has invited artists to participate in a series of short essays in observance and celebration of the month’s significance. Today’s submission comes from Tim Blunt of Sydney, Australia-based indie rock band FVNERAL.
FVNERAL recently released their triumphant fourth single “GOODB(i)YE,” a tear-jerking duet between singers/guitarists Tim Blunt and Ally Turner. “Writing ‘GOODB(i)YE’ served as a vessel for understanding and accepting myself,” Blunt explains. “It’s a declaration of wanting to do away with a lie I clung to for so long. It speaks of a need to be honest and real with who we are and how. Without this, we will continue to have a negative impact on those around us. With time having passed between writing and recording the song, it also now speaks to my increasing discomfort with identifying using a binary understanding of gender. Perhaps it’s still working some magic on me, and still slowly setting me free…”
Raised in the church in Sydney’s Bible-Belt, Blunt writes a letter to his younger self to let him know they’ll be okay – and that embracing the space in between categories and definitions can set you free.
To my dear little Tim,
First of all, you are so loved and I’m so proud of you. I know you don’t feel like it, but you’re one of the most resilient kids I’ve ever known. You’ve got this weight in your anxious belly and it somehow feels heavier every single day; when you’re dragged along to church and youth group each week; when your friends laugh at the kids who haven’t managed to pass; you sit in the back of a sex-ed class in a Christian school; when your uncle checks what side your piercing is on; when your youth leader tells you that bisexuality isn’t real beyond being a term that gay people use when they can’t accept the truth of their sinful behaviour; when the person you had your first queer sexual experience with threatens to ‘out’ you if you tell anyone about his very tenuous grasp on consent.
That weight in your belly is going to have an upsetting amount of power over you for a long time. It’ll force you into the closet and coax you into some incredibly unsafe situations with some equally unsavoury people. I don’t say any of this to scare you. I just want you to know that despite how alone you feel right now and how hopeless you’ll feel over the next few years, you’ll make it through. Soon enough you’ll stumble into a bunch of people who show you the warmth and gentleness you thought would never come, people who will love and care for you exactly because of who you are, not in spite of it.
While the idea of ‘coming out’ does stem from some deeply homophobic, hetero-patriarchal bullshit, the feeling of finally ‘coming out’ to yourself is liberating and I just wish you could experience it sooner than you will. You’ve spent (and will continue to spend) so much time fighting a war against yourself, armed to the teeth with the idea of sin and the consequence of hell, the truly dangerous words of youth pastors ringing in your queer little ears, and the burning desire to be somebody else. Someday, when you’re 23 to be exact, you’ll come home from a therapy session you can’t afford and start journaling on your bed. An hour or so later, you’ll be sitting there still, accompanied by a half eaten domino’s pizza and a guitar, and you’ll have written a song. It’ll be about finally putting up your white flag and declaring that the war is over.
While I don’t know if the war ever really is over – the years of being fed all of the religious toxicity and those experiences of pure humiliation, self-loathing and genuine danger, need just as many years of therapy to process – this song is about you taking the first little baby steps on the path to embracing the space in between definitions and categories, and working through it all. It’s about how proud you should be of even finding where the fuck that path was in the first place and how proud you should be of sharing it with the world.
I love you so much,
Stream: “GOODB(i)YE” – FVNERAL
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📸 © Jay Wennington
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