Metamorphosis Through Music

A Good-Bye Letter to Drugs  

As many of you already know, I am a recovered drug addict, and that is something I integrate into my musical journey. It is my wish to share my heart and connect deeply with those who listen to my songs. I think that sharing my story openly is an integral part of being able to establish that connection. 

That being said, yesterday I was going through some of my old things, and I found a letter that I wrote when I was 17 and living in treatment. It brought up very real emotions for me, the desperation I used to feel, but also a sense of victory in knowing that I have overcome my addiction now. I wanted to share this letter with you, as well as the first song I ever wrote about my addiction, which also happened to be something I wrote while in treatment.  

A Good-Bye Letter to Drugs:  

"Dear drugs, 

I loved you, more than I'd ever loved anything in my life. You stripped me of everything I ever wanted to be, and you were all that was left. I'd never been so far from myself. 

In the beginning, you were the answer to all my problems, my escape, a safe place to hide when I was afraid to face myself. Eventually, you became the source of all of these problems. I pushed everyone who genuinely cared about me out of my life, I stole from my father, and I lied to my friends. You turned me into someone I'm not. You took control of my life so fast. I did things I swore I'd never do. I used my friends and never gave them a damn thing in return. All I wanted was that high. I hated myself so much that the only thing that made sense was you. It broke my family and my friend's hearts for them to see you wasting me away. 

You were the sickness and the cure. I knew what you were doing to me, but all I cared about was how good you made me feel. You made me feel like a king, like I could do anything, and like I could be anyone. I felt infinite. But when all of that was through, you drug me down to the lowest of all lows. I felt so weak, guilty, like such a fucking waste. I used to pray every night that I wouldn't wake up the next morning. I didn't want you to be my tomorrow anymore. I felt helpless to you. And I was. 

You've caused so much heartache and left me with so many pressing memories, but now I am in control. I'm learning to live my life without you. Some days, I miss the way you made me feel, but I know I won't ever go back to that again. I won't let you put me to waste. I am better than you are. 

As much as you've ruined my life, you've also taught me how strong I am. Because of you, I am able to relate to and help others that are affected by you. I've realized that God will never give me more than I can handle. 

All in all, I'm done with you. I won't put myself and the people I care about through hell again. The high isn't ever worth the come down. As much as I have loved you, I'm ready to say good-bye for good. You can't have me anymore. 

-Emmet"

My song, "Snow" came along while I was in treatment as well. After years of suppressing my emotions and being afraid to face myself, it all came out at once and I poured it into this song. Like my good-bye letter to drugs, "Snow" was also a testament to all of the things that my addiction put me through. It expresses the evolution from hopelessness into hope. Snow is the last song on my debut EP "I Feel Like I Just Woke Up."

You can stream it here: Snow-Emmet Michael (Spotify)

Or watch the live video performance here: Snow-Emmet Michael (Live Video)

Thank you always for your continued love and support. I couldn't do any of this without you. Feel free to ask questions or leave comments. I'd love to connect with you. 

Much love,

Emmet Michael

2019 Wrap-Up 

I think it’s easy to overlook accomplishments that we make, things that we have overcome, and the gifts we receive. 2019 was a difficult year, but it was also a year of huge success for me. It was year of building relationships (old and new) and taking all of those leaps of faith. Going into 2020, I want to highlight those things. 

In 2019: 

1. On January the 2nd, after midnight in a cold barren national park, I asked my partner to marry me. She said yes, and we’ve been planning our backyard wedding for August of 2020. Not only have I gained a wonderful human being to spend my life with, but I’ve also overcome a once very crippling fear of commitment; a fear of being vulnerable. 

2. I went to university full-time for the winter term, studying anthropology, sociology, and psychology. I surpassed my own expectations by receiving great grades in all 3 courses, something I was never able to do in high school. I discovered that I am actually really good in school, that there was just a lot in the way when I was a kid. I ALSO discovered that despite all of that, academia is not really for me. My heart wasn’t in it. 

3. I recorded my very first album, a five-song EP called “I Feel Like I Just Woke Up” and released it on all streaming platforms on September 26th 2019. I played my CD release party to a sold out crowd in my hometown. I heard my songs played on the radio for the first time and watched my album hit the charts of local radio. 

4. I played all of my first out of town gigs, in Calgary, Vancouver, and at Canmore Folkfest. It was in Canmore that I realized I wanted to do this music thing as a full-time career. I’ve been doing music full-time since the beginning of November. It’s been VERY trying at times, but I know that this is what I was meant to do. 

5. I got a tattoo cover-up for my botched top surgery from 3 years ago. A tattoo cover-up that I LOVE. I never thought that I would be comfortable taking my shirt off in public, the way I had dreamt of one day being able to do. I thought that top surgery would fix that for me, but it didn’t heal the way it was supposed to, and it left my body with large scars where my nipples should’ve been. After much contemplation, I settled on the idea of a moth to cover it up, the same way I chose a moth as a logo for my music. A moth represents a transformation from old to new. My chest was totally transformed, the same way I had transformed so much as a person. From female to male. From addiction to recovery. From hating myself to loving myself. 

6. I focused my time and efforts in getting to know people in a more deep and meaningful way. My partner and I hosted dinners with friends and family, I went for long drives with people well into the night, and I started to get honest with people in my life about what was really going on. I discovered that I am actually an extrovert, that I just needed a little bit of prodding to get there. I learned that I am passionate about connecting with others; whether it be by playing my music for people, engaging in conversation at a dinner party, or just a short and simple exchange of meaningful words between strangers. 

Like I said, I went through a lot of really painful stuff this year, but overall I’ve learned a lot about myself and others as a result. So many wonderful things have happened in just the short span of 2019, I cannot wait to see what 2020 has in store. Thank you to everyone who has shown me their love and support this year. I could not have done this without you.

Skipping Stone, Supporting Transgender Individuals in Alberta 

Recently, I announced that I wanted to support Skipping Stone, a non-profit for transgender individuals in Alberta by donating 20% of all of my merchandise sales to them. I wanted to share with you about this organization and why it's so close to my heart. 

I came across a news article a few weeks ago about the resignation of one of very few doctors in transgender health care. 
Funding has been cut back. Transgender people on waiting lists for hormones and surgeries are now facing much longer wait times. There are a lot of reasons that this news is alarming for me, especially given my own experience with transitioning. I remember reading the article, looking at my friend, and saying, "Watch the number of LGBTQ suicides go up." 90% of transgender people who die by suicide are on waiting lists. Some of those lists are literally years long. 

I waited a year and a half to start my own hormone replacement therapy and three years before I had my top surgery. 
For a lot of people, a couple of years holds immeasurable amounts of pain and discomfort. For me, that discomfort led me into an addiction to substances, as it does for many others who have walked in my shoes. To this day, even though I "pass" now as totally male, if I hear people whisper in public or see people even so much as look at me, my heart starts to race. I still fear what people might say about me or even TO me, to alienate me yet again. I was in a constant state of feeling like I didn't belong, like I was walking taboo. All I could think about was what people were thinking of me, if my voice was deep enough, if my chest was flat enough, or if the girl I was with was secretly wishing she were with "a real man."  Did all of that ever push me to the point of contemplating suicide? Yes, of course it did. It does for almost all trans people at some point. A lot of us live in a constant state of depression and anxiety.

I just lost a close friend of mine to suicide. He was also transgender. He had just started hormones and was still on a wait list for his surgery, a very long wait list. A wait list that has been almost doubled now. He shared with me how difficult that was for him. He and I shared in a lot of the same hurts and struggles. He was battling through a lot of things in his life, but I know that this mountain was a particularly high one for him to climb. I can't help but wonder if maybe had the healthcare system been better, he would still be here. 

Together, we can make that change happen.

Skipping Stone is a Calgary based non-profit that supports transgender youth and their families Alberta wide. They provide low barrier access to mental health supports, social supports, as well as access to medical services. Learn more about their services and team here or donate here. Emmet Michael hoodies, T-shirts, CDs, and buttons can be purchased here, where 20% of your purchase will be donated to Skipping Stone. Thank-you so much for your support. You have no idea how long it goes. My love to you all.