Have you ever walked around feeling like a phony? I’m an artist , and yet somehow In this foul thing we call life, I found myself working as part of an ensemble on a little show called 21 Jump Street. We shot the show in Vancouver, Canada, which has a rich history in the punk rock scene, so I felt a little bit at home there, as on weekends I’d play shows and rub shoulders with the likes of a contemporary from the band ‘D.O.A.,’ Joe ‘Shithead’ Keithley. If you want to know some cool punk rock history, you should look those good boys up. But those weekend shows became few and far between as my fame kept growing. I was in demand, and my agent demanded that I return when to Los Angeles for meetings with the who’s who of the studio system. The SYSTEM! I was part of the system and to hear those words felt like a million daggers to my heart. And when I walked down the streets of Rodeo Drive for my first time since I hit the front cover of Teeny Bopper Magazine, everyone looked and treated me like I was a different human being. All of a sudden, it was like if I was some sort of God, and it made me feel wrong, and even worse, like the loneliest person in the world.
It felt like it was overnight. One day no one gave a piss about me, as I did odd jobs and played shows for a case of beer, and now people were clamoring to buy me that case of beer so they could be seen with me. It made me feel sick, but I loved it at the same time. I walked around like I was 20 feet tall as I cruised the stores that at one time probably thought I’d be stealing from them. It was all a drug though, as when I lay at home by myself, I felt empty.
Everything was an illusion, man, but what a grand illusion it was. I knew I needed to ground myself and the only thing I could think of doing at the time was to become a cutter. I was a pro about hiding by cutting my feet as it was the safest hiding spot. I wasn’t going to mess up my money maker, and that just made me cut myself more. My feet became the battlefield for my soul.
I kept on thinking to myself, as I mingled with some of the showiest people you’d ever meet, do these people even like music? Do they even know who Black Flag is? If Ian Mackye walked by them on the street, would they look him up and down like he doesn’t belong?
Then I had this thought while I was in the middle of a Playboy Bunny sandwich in the famed mansion grotto, “You’re a phony amongst even bigger phonies, and they aren’t even on a hit TV show.’
It just came out of my cerebral cortex like how I would breathe, and I couldn’t stop it. The thought was as real it got, and I wrote it, arranged the music, produced it, and then directed the video. I started to feel like I was in a Twilight Zone episode or in a slightly different version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. But in this version, I was fully aware of my soul essence leaving my body, bit by bit, and something grotesque that I grew up hating was taking its place.
I’ve since learned that this is what is called Shadow Play. Your Shadow being something that you outwardly despise, but deep down, it’s lurking in you, and silently you know this. But it’s there, and it’s always been there for me, and I just rocked around the stage to avoid it up until that point of my life. However, with my life changing so fast, my shadow began consuming me whole.
And so, my relationship with my liver was about to get worse.
– Johnny Depp
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