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The Reasons Tori Means So Much To Me

I decided to put my "Little Earthquakes" CD on (getting a small thrill when I look at the autograph on the booklet!) and put into words the reason I devote so much time to this woman, Tori Amos. "Winter" is playing right now, and I remember when this song changed my life. There is a line that says "When you gonna love you as much as I do?". I was sitting in front of my stereo back in July of 1992, a bottle of pills in one hand and rum in the other. I was still fairly new to Tori, had been listening to her for a little over a month. When "Winter" began, I got the warmest feeling, like someone inside was holding and hugging my soul tight. Then it began to skip. Caught on one line. "When you gonna, when you gonna, when you gonna..." I felt myself embrace myself as I finished the words in my mind. "love you as much as I do". I broke into tears and the CD stopped and finished the line in Tori's voice. When the song was over, I flushed the pills, dumped all but two shots of the rum, made a nice drink and connected with all the parts of me that wanted me to love them like they loved me. The album never left the stereo after that. I listened to Tori every chance I got, everyday, over and over. I remember calling my therapist cause I felt so godawful and wanted to die and she heard Tori in the background. She said, "It might help to take Tori off. She can be depressing you know." I didn't answer her then, but knew in my heart that the only reason I called instead of hurting myself was because of Tori. This singer was giving me an inner courage, a strength of being. She was voicing my emotions, screaming for me, crying for me. I couldn't do it for myself, but felt the release when she did it. She said it all when at the end of the album she sang, "Give me life, Give me Pain, Give me Myself Again." YES!!! I was far from healthy when her next album arrived, "Under the Pink". But damn if the woman didn't seem to be on the same mental track as I was. I had been dealing with facing my life and pain as she was in Earthquakes. Now, when Pink was released, I was in the mental hospital (yet again), trying to get under my skin, under my defenses, under the pink. Tori said it so well in an interview. "If you take your skin off, it's pink (or so I believe). What I'm after is what is under that." Me Too! I was dealing with a lot of anger about being betrayed by the women in my life and her album was dealing with anger at betrayal between women. I thought, this must be my soulmate or something. How can she sing what I'm thinking??? At this point two important things happened. I moved out of my husband's house into an apartment with a roommate. And I found "Really Deep Thoughts" the Tori Amos Fanzine. I immediately got a subscription and wrote Tori a heartfelt letter and sent it to them. A few weeks I received a letter from Missy Caldwell, co-publisher that was so sweet and warm. Missy told me she had forwarded my letter to Tori. I was so excited and hung that note from my wall to look at. This savior of mine was going to read my words!! That summer I finally saw her in concert. It was Wonderful, her sitting on the stage bathed in light, her and her piano's. During one song I walked up to the stage and squatted there, eye to eye with her as she was singing "Bells for Her". She was looking right at me most of the time as the tears filled my eyes. When she finished, I lightly placed a red rose on the stage for her and she gave me a wink and a smile. But I was still so unhappy. Money was tight, I couldn't pay for therapy anymore, my daughter was being abused at her babysitters where I'd sent her to live and I had to get her into foster care for her own protection. Then one night I lost it. I have no real idea of what happened, but I woke one morning in a full tub with many deep cuts on my arms. The water was red. I got out of the tub and called my g.p. to see if he would stitch me up. It didn't seem to be a big deal to me at the time, so was surprised when he came into the room followed by paramedics and a cop. I was being commited. Turned out from the toxicology tests I'd also taken a lethal dose of anti-depressants. I simply can't kill myself. It's my biggest failure. Back to the hospital where I grieved over life. My roommate moved out, breaking the lease and I had to beg my ex to take me back or I'd be homeless. I had none of my stuff, none of my Tori music. Just a few changes of clothes for the three week stay. Then one day in Music therapy I was able to choose a song that meant a lot to me. I looked through the piles of CDs on the floor then saw the familer cover of "Little Earthquakes". I pulled it out and told the therapist to play track 5--"Winter". It revived my spirit and inspired my soul. I was going to be ok, really ok. Things would be ok if I remembered to love myself. My therapist had terminated our theraputic relationship because of the suicide attempt, being the most serious of the 5 I'd had in the past year. She felt if I continued to try to kill myself, then it obviously wasn't a good theraputic relationship. I started seeing a shrink who loaded me down with drugs to keep me calm and had me in and out of the hospital. By 1996 I finally was becoming stronger. I was able to participate with the community, working at a local theatre, trying to find myself. I knew I was coming up to something big within myself, but didn't know what it was. At this point, Tori released "Boys for Pele", an album about stealing fire from others (especially men) and not finding your own. That was it! I was finding my fire! I realized I was being stifled by my ex, suffering under an incompatent shrink, dying inside. I would not Die Any Longer. I stopped cutting myself, I stopped threatening suicide, I stopped using the hospital as a retreat from reality. I wrote my old therapist and we agreed to begin to work together again. I was listening to an angry Tori and she was mirroring my emotions yet again. Still on the same path it seemed. I was able to attend her Benefit Concert for RAINN (the Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network) in NYC in early 1997. After that, I got on the net and found out I was not the only person to feel this way about Tori Amos. I wasn't obsessed! I was a Toriphile and there were so many who felt like I did. I began to write to some of the people who made the most sense and found some true friends on the net. That April, I was informed I had finally reached the top of the waiting list for housing/rent assistence and in June of 1997, I moved into my first Home of my own. I immediately joined every Tori Amos discussion list that existed and made myself known in a short time. I wrote my first short story, "Upside Down: Memoir of a Teenage Reject" and the responce was amazing. Every day there were over 20 emails telling me how much my story made people cry and feel and telling me how wonderful I was. Wow! In a very short time I went from being an abused victim to a survivor on her way. I felt I had the world by the tail and it was mine for the taking. I got my daughter out of foster care and we began living together for the first time in 6 years. Today things aren't easy. I'm poor and the kid and I have our problems. But the amount of friendship I have found, friendships that have gone from cyberspace to real life because of Tori is amazing. I began working in ernest to get my story published for RAINN, started working with RDT, the fanzine. I was writing like a fiend and getting more and more attention for it. Even my silly little poetry started attracting attention. And now, on Tuesday Oct. 20, 1998, I am recovering from my concert experience with Tori last Saturday and waiting to hear if I will be attending the taping of Storytellers this coming Saturday. Don't get me wrong. I'm the one who changed from the hopeless victim into the woman I am today. But it never would have happened without Tori Amos. And you know what I find really remarkable? The moment I feel I don't need her to inspire me anymore, she comes out with an album that is just MUSIC. Great, fantastic music with a band. Music to rock out to, music to trance out to. Music for living. Still on the same wavelength after all this time. Thanks Tori. And thanks all of you for reading this.

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