Feeling the need to scream

By Steven Schnarr

Sometimes I just want to scream. At what, I don’t know. But it would certainly feel good to let it all out.

When I was in high school, I played a little bit of rock ‘n’ roll music, but it wasn’t until I was 19 years old that I found what I truly love about playing music and started a band with two of my friends.

Our trio,  A Mind Called Treason, consisted of the basic rock band instruments: guitar, drums and bass, which I played. The guitarist and I rotated who sang, and when I sang, I screamed with everything I had.  But lately, since I am no longer involved with a band, I’ve been a little frustrated.

Aside from playing music, there is no public outlet for screaming. When I want to sing, I’m stuck playing my acoustic guitar at home sounding like a drunken John Mayer.

I’ll often try to write out my frustration in blogs or express my existential qualms through poetry. I’ve drawn and painted in the past as well as thrown pottery. I’ll do Tai Chi whenever I can find the time. I’ll even go to concerts and get torn up in the pit. But I’m still missing that basic outlet that so effectively releases me from my thoughts.

I’m not saying it’s for everybody, but screaming does something for me that would otherwise take weeks of creativity to release. I’m not talking about the “screaming” of bands trying to sound like a monster with a grumbling that is a sorry excuse for metal, and I’m not talking about the high-pitched whine of screamo that some people like to call hardcore. I’m talking about a nothing-but-gut, scream-until-my-throat-bleeds wail.

Some of the most memorable experiences of my life were when I screamed, whether it was at, to or with somebody.

There were times when I’ve screamed from a negative place. I remember screaming at my brother after he told me I was going to hell for being an atheist. It wasn’t pretty.

There were times when it was crazy. I remember standing on a 29th floor balcony by myself screaming f–k you to no one in particular over-and-over for 10 minutes straight because I couldn’t handle all my friends’ drama-relatives dying, unwanted pregnancies and failing relationships. I’m lucky no one called the cops.

And there were times when nothing else felt more completing than dropping to my knees and holding a scream until I was red in the face. I remember playing a show on the second floor of an old building where 70 kids were jumping up and down; the floor looked like it was about to fall through.  And these people were jumping with me, while I poured my heart out through my throat.

Reading this, you may think I’m some fiery, ticking bomb with a short fuse. But let the record show that most of the time I am a calm, quirky, nice guy.  When things start to go bad, screaming can just get me through the thick of it.

I can understand why some people are scared of screaming; to them, it implies rage. It wouldn’t be fair to say that I scream from rage-it’s not usually a negative feeling. It’s a strange beast, more closely resembling a strong desire to be alive. I have this desire pulsing inside of me, and it can only be completed by displaying its awful beauty. I want to be allowed to show this beast, but it’s not socially acceptable to scream in the middle of the street. So now, as I resort to other outlets, I sincerely miss those days when screaming was routine.

I know it’s ugly. I know it’s animalistic. But it’s real. I just want to scream until there’s nothing left in me, and then I can feel complete for a moment.