Adolescent Boys' Use of Emo Music as Their Healing Lament

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<p>Adolescent Boys' Use of Emo Music as Their Healing Lament Author(s): Aaron P. Anastasi Reviewed work(s): Source: Journal of Religion and Health, Vol. 44, No. 3 (Fall, 2005), pp. 303-319 Published by: Springer Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27512872 . Accessed: 09/01/2012 22:15Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms &amp; Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.</p> <p>Springer is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Journal of Religion and Health.</p> <p>http://www.jstor.org</p> <p>Journal of Religion and Health, Vol. 44, No. 3, Fall 2005 (? 2005) DOI: 10.1007/sl0943-005-5467-9</p> <p>Adolescent Emo Healing Music</p> <p>Use Boys* as Their Lament</p> <p>of</p> <p>AARON P. ANASTASIABSTRACT: or continue a process Emo music is one avenue God can begin of which through and understanding. to found through God can use songs of lament connectedness, healing sharing, can also offer an environment to of pain. Emo music for the suffering individual bring awareness can to think about and develop to describe In some cases, their pain. the music begin vocabulary serve as a prayer of faith for the adolescent, him to connect with God. allowing</p> <p>KEY</p> <p>WORDS:</p> <p>music;</p> <p>suffering;</p> <p>healing;</p> <p>connection;</p> <p>adolescents.</p> <p>are many types and levels of suf are lost, hopes are shattered, Dreams experiences suffering. fering, everyone no outlet and pain is held for expressing inside, muted. Having pain and heartache be worse than the suffering itself. This silence may rages inside, Life is difficult. People suffer. While there out in desperation, to this silent but few hear.1 While all are vulnerable asserts Henri and loneliness, disconnection, suffering, pastoral psychologist in particular adolescents this at a deep and painful level.2 Nouwen, experience to adolescent Janet Sasson Edgette, American adolescents According therapist are suffering from a desperate need for connectedness, for a sense of belonging.3 crying in this position. adolescents find themselves Many They have an intense need to feel loved and accepted. They desperately seek love and acceptance but it. Adolescents to attain often lack the means need to express their pain and in order for healing to take place, but first they must have language suffering to psychologist and opportunity for this expression. Pol William According connections with others in order to need to establish lack, boys meaningful in early ado the traumas of shame that are commonly conquer experienced the destructive effect of the "Boy Code."4 The "Boy Code," including a man, are raised to think a boy, and eventually is what says Pollack, boys which should be like. These attributes include a stoic, stable independence, lescence,Aaron P. Anastasi, M.Div. is a graduate of Princeton and works</p> <p>at Allentown Presbyterian Church as the High School Youth Music Director in AUentown, NJ.Correspondence to aaronanastasidaol.com.</p> <p>Theological</p> <p>Seminary</p> <p>currently</p> <p>303</p> <p>G 2005 Blanton-Peale</p> <p>Institute</p> <p>304</p> <p>Journal of Religion and Health</p> <p>an to violence, is attracted self, which daring an understanding and status, and dominance power, imperative and is not "masculine" but "femi emotions is for "sissies" that expressing he refers to as a "gender straightjaeket."5 nine"?which a con and they want and understood, boys are eager to be heard Many as the accompanied This for with others as well nection healing. longing it is seen as weak and "feminine." Many nurture is often kept silent because never shows weakness, to achieve a false, boys suffer from the effects of this "Boy Code," longing for outlets of While they fear the they feel the need to share their emotions, expression. if they choose to be vulnerable those around that they may undergo shame of sharing to this "Code." Instead their emotions, these boys re who ascribe a great and repress in their suffering. main Therefore silent boys experience level in order to deal of pain and need to connect with others at an emotional adolescent healing. experience to the boy code, which he says is for the boys who subscribe The mantra is "Everything's the "Boy for most, fine."6 Still in operation, inescapable just in the nineteenth which Code" is an outdated that began model century, in a gender constrains and men, them This boys putting straitjacket.7 forces boys to conceal their true feelings and causes them to live straightjaeket are held back, restricting lives. Wide ranges of emotions semi-inauthentic boys emotion of anger.8 male only to the acceptable Male infants are more expressive emotionally some point this changes for most boys. Pollack this shift ashamed of behavior. The first a wide if they express cause is shame. but at female infants, causes two primary for are made Little boys to feel than</p> <p>views</p> <p>of emotions?especially of weakness, variety Little boys are raised to be tough. The second reason fear, and vulnerability. are typically from the separation their process. regards Boys separated around age six. The boy feels at a much earlier age than girls, usually mothers to feel ashamed are if these feelings and disconnected but is made abandoned Pollack calls this the "shame-hardening the boys process," where expressed. are told to act like a "real man," to keep emotions in check, and to show a sense of independence.9 to erode self-confidence and This shame haunts boys all their lives, serving them feeling sad, lonely, and disconnected.10 undermine self-esteem, leaving is the feeling that accompanies emotional In fact, the disconnection. are what many disconnection emotional feelings surrounding psychologists call "shame."11 to adolescent adolescent girls are not According psychologist Mary Pipher, their hurts the type of connections that allow them to communicate making and needs, and because of this lack of connection, they too are suffering. While Shame adolescent girls suffer on adolescent boys.12 and feel disconnected, the scope of this paper will for suffering them in their focus adoles present</p> <p>One outlet that may provide and expression language crafted to meet cent boys is lyrics and music carefully</p> <p>Aaron</p> <p>P. Anastasi</p> <p>305</p> <p>and freedom offer them the beginning This may steps of healing suffering. silence. As the adolescent listens to the lyrics of a song to from languageless and is thrust into an environment which he can relate, he feels connected ripe for facing and dealing with issues of pain and heartache. The song may pro to the adolescent vide the raw material and the space?the environment?for and needs. his feelings or a calls this space a "holding Robert Kegan environment" Psychologist a context in which is provided for the individual environment,,, "psychosocial serves the dual functions to Kegan, this environment to grow.13 According of which in timely and contradiction, "confirmation both securely hold, and, in the emergence assist of, the developing fashion, person."14 This environ can provide a safe place for the adolescent to begin to sense pain, while it ment as a challenge to deal with function that sensed pain. may simultaneously begin Connection healing manent to the music in the process and lyrics is merely of preliminary a suffering lead to deeper, more adolescent and will hopefully per I will argue in this essay connections with other trusted individuals. to participate environment and the opportunity that God can use this holding to begin or continue of lyrics and music, in the lament process the healing as an expression of of suffering adolescent lamentation, process boys. This balm, a faith, can serve to connect the sufferer to God and provide a linguistic to assess</p> <p>healing of pain</p> <p>state individual away from a mute process that may lead the suffering toward a place of change and solidarity. I will present of suffering. three phases First, I will discuss Soelle's Second, of lament that Soelle begins five voices of lament, continuing the conversation this two. Third, I will show how popular of phase in her understanding ("pop"? is the more and the music adolescents used word among commonly as lament. Fourth, I will offer Emo (short for emo functions industry) music as an adolescent form of lament. tional) music</p> <p>The three phases of sufferingDoroth?e to ethicist and theologian and pain have a Soelle, suffering According the sufferer. She describes way of corroding and inhibiting language, silencing of suffering: and change. Each of the three three phases lamentation, Silence, is reflected in the different takes. The forms that language phases of suffering of first phase is a muted, phase, while the second is the beginning languageless a psalm-like that gives voice to the sufferer. Phase of lamentation language where the pain itself can three is characterized by unhindered self-expression be openly discussed and sorted. The third phase is a stage of change. one of suffering: Silence Phase is a phase of languageless The first phase of suffering of suffering includes isolation?the The burden always</p> <p>silence more</p> <p>and</p> <p>isolation. the suffering,</p> <p>306</p> <p>Journal of Religion and Health</p> <p>more</p> <p>and this suffering is related isolation, of pain, The initial phase of language.15 The lament that feeling numb and mute. This suffering itself in unfeeling expresses no longer provide Institutions and rituals that might process they offer a learning silence.</p> <p>a lack to a lack of communication, and isolation leaves one suffering comes at this stage is inarticulate. or impulsive outbursts. brooding the sufferer with language, allow for escape from this nor do stage of</p> <p>languageless is left with few options. The result is neuroses. For this reason, the sufferer to sort out necessary This neurotic, disallows persons suffering stage steps to becomes merely In this the sufferer's be free. Therefore, behavior reactive.16 is impaired, first phase of suffering, and the sufferer one's course of action All hope seems lost. to learn from the suffering. lacks the wherewithal The sufferer is marked loses of suffering This phase by self-centeredness. In silence and disconnection, the ability to feel for others and isolates himself. viable the sufferer views death as an attractive, option. The focus becomes is consumed with this single goal. Much termination of pain?the whole-being of the body become the other members like physical pain, where secondary so this level of suffering may be all-consuming. While there and unimportant, is stuck in a state, where is one all-consuming objectives goal, the sufferer The situation, cannot be organized. rather toward than logic, domi change nates and he is left feeling powerless. the individual, at this phase. reflection is not an option Severe suffering Theological or change. Actions, in this first phase excludes the possibility of of learning are short-lived and done blindly; they are done in an unbearable suffering, is later amazed that is somehow who borne by the sufferer, pain by the amount of suffering that he endured. This initial phase of pain is experienced over and over, and it leaves the victim and alone. The pain feeling helpless and words.17 in his actions, of autonomy the individual thoughts, strips first must the normalcy To be free from phase one, the individual of recognize will point to the need for expression, this numb, mute phase. This realization which is part of phase two. The expression phase cannot be skipped as though over the suffering. one will be able to take specific actions that will triumph To states Soelle, is to skip over the needs of the sufferer. skip the expression phase, or co-determina The tools that the sufferer needs, possibly self-determination an tion, would be imposed on rather than accomplished by the sufferer. Without the sufferer will find he is helpless when new suffering emerges individual fight, cause. The basic alienation itself must be resolved.18 from a different that lay open before the silent sufferer. Soelle lists three primary options can deny the pain and become The first option is repression. The individual outwardly indifferent and sick?mentally, physically, Third, option, repression. sufferer could become the silent. Second, or both. This result of the first is also a possible can choose to face the pain and begin the individual</p> <p>to work on it. The first step to facing the pain is finding language that could</p> <p>Aaron</p> <p>P. Anastasi</p> <p>307</p> <p>lead one out of the suffering the situation, least describes Phase</p> <p>that is causing the silence?a that language a language of crying, pain, and lament.19</p> <p>at</p> <p>two of suffering: Lamentation of certain forms Soelle says, "Hopelessness the pain can still be articulated."20 Prayer lation that may be used to break through Soelle laments, "Prayer is today as good as</p> <p>with has she asserts, oneself, dialogue number of people. The increased toward prayer has left individuals apathy mute and isolated. The loss of this monologue, or dialogue with self or God, has one of the primary for crying, dissolved outlets and cursing, stammering, or enlighten This loss of prayer does not serve to liberate humanity wishing.22 consciousness. Instead it is a loss of the endless possibilities for open available ended creative offers the sufferer an opportunity to make expression. Prayer his requests and pains known to a God who cares, speaks, and has the ability to act. Soelle asserts, act by which people transcend the mute God of an "Prayer is an all-encompassing endured reality and go over to the speaking God of a reality expe apathetically rienced with feeling in pain and happiness."23</p> <p>can be endured where of suffering is a form of language and articu the silent suffering of phase one. dead and buried."21 To enter into to a growing become unnecessary</p> <p>lament. It can serve as speech that reaches the and the sufferer's mute God's silence God, overcoming seeming of phase one. Old Testament scholar Delbert Hillers writes the value of lament concerning in times of struggle. He states, "Men live on best after calamity, not by utterly their grief and shock, but by facing it, by measuring its dimensions, repressing their experience."24 Phase one of by finding some words to order and articulate is the phase of muted, in phase two the suf while suffering lonely suffering, ferer uses "psalmic" language of lament to describe pain. Phase two paves the two is the changing of behavior. Phase way, she says, for phase three, which it serves to strip away the walls of denial intensifies the pain because actually As one begins to describe and distraction. the pain an...</p>