Growing Up Punk

by Caleb Lenertz

It isn’t easy to grow up punk. Look at the eyes of an artist for a moment and see how the world is good the way it is, but you can make it better. Problem is, you get a lot of resistance to your changes. That’s fine; it just resolves you to your cause. You decide to tell the world that it can take that wad of churning goop you are trying to shove down everyone’s thoughts. And all the while you have a smile on your face. Not ’cause you are happy about what you are doing all the time, but because you are doing so much good and they aren’t even noticing that you are doing what you want.

Then, that first day sitting on the side of the street in first grade, and you got your first punk experience. Some guy walks by wearing something that makes everyone take notice of him, and you realize they can’t do anything to him. You realize that they can’t touch you. Casting off that entire monotone herd mentality for your danger of seeing every thing you do is going to change the world forever. You know, I have a friend with a saying that makes perfect sense:

“Why not?”

Then your life starts — you start to realize what it’s like to be punk for real. You decide that anything you do will have some significance, if to no one else but yourself.

You discover one treasure after another. You find dancing and you learn from the movement of others, because you know you can truly talk through movement. You see a way to tell others: back off and look at what is out there. You find writing and find out you are good at it. You throw off all other ideas and tell the world what they are doing wrong. They hate your book, but they use it when they are making the changes you already said needed to be made.

Then you find your true love: Theater. It’s a whole new medium a new way of telling everyone your message. You see a medium in which you can show your feelings where others can see it but accept it with some joy instead of pity or gratitude.

The first day on the job is great — you are totally in charge. Anything that happens is your doing. The teachers look at your ideas on the stage, your lighting, your set, your sound — and as a matter of fact, your script doesn’t make any sense. They leave all your ideas, though, because that is what you are hired for, and because you tell them it will work out ok and they will just have to trust you. They don’t, of course, but they don’t have any time to get anyone else to replace what you just did with something that makes sense to them. The show comes around and your bosses are amazed everything you said would happen happened. You even managed to come up with a few by the seat of your pants.

After that, you’re pretty much grown — you will have to figure out that part on your own. It gets way complicated then, so you are on your own. But now they have to listen to you because they can’t afford to not listen.

This is Caleb Lenertz’ first submission to the