Lilli Lewis - Creep (Single)
Lilli Lewis's A/B cover of Radiohead's "Creep." In Lilli's words: "The A version is for people who just like the song and wanna add an emo piano version to their catalog. The B version is for people who wanna hang out with me in the isolation chamber that was my mama's apartment when I was a kid when everyone was away at school or work, or later the practice room where I used to lock myself away for up to 12 hours a day.
See, for decades the piano was the only friend I felt safe enough to count on, but I didn't learn why that was so until I grew up a bit, and found that I was dying of grief, fear, maladaptive behaviors taken on by the little version of me exposed to prolonged states of heightened distress.
When I received my PTSD diagnosis, I nerded out because that is my brand. I consumed everything I could get my hands on that could teach me about the hell that was raging inside me. I had little to no awareness of who I was or how people saw me, because I'd mostly tried to stay out of my own skin by every mechanism my mind could muster up for me.
I later came to learn how tragically typical this is for people living with PTSD, a condition too many folks are struggling with in silence.
On the outside, if I come off as "soft" or overly accommodating, it's usually because my mind has thrown me into survival mode and has activated the "appease" strategy, one that's now being added to the more familiar "fight, flight, or freeze" responses.
In contrast, if I come off as edgy, impatient or victimized, it's usually because I'm exhausted of keeping up appearances, or because I'm angry about feeling dehumanized as a chick, black chick, or a nerdy chick, or a queer chick, or a southern chick, but most often, a fat chick. Of all the cruelties left in American social moires, that last one has cut me the deepest. Easy to find community and by extension humanity around all the others, but for that last one, you're barely tolerated and never forgiven, especially in my chosen profession.
But the thing is, I'm a survivor. My resilience, intelligence, love and life force allowed me to survive the poverty, neglect, physical and sexual trauma of my youth. I have survived. I have survived, and I still manage to hold on to hope on most days, if not for myself but for the fate of humanity. I still manage to seek out ways to use my time and will to be of service.
And I still manage to wail.
I sing "Creep" because it feels like the rub between how I often feel in this world and my awareness of the indestructible nature of life's longing for itself. I sing it for everyone who has ever carried with them a sense of not belonging, and the infinite beauty they brought into the world with them by virtue of simply being singular. I sing it for the miracle of life in the context of so much disregard, despair, and the improbable vulnerability of the whole shebang.
It has taken me a long time to make this recording because I wasn't yet ready to talk about why I sing it. See, on the day of the single's release, it will have been 3,344 days since I chose living over taking my own life. I still count the days because I know how hopeless things can feel and how giving up on anything can feel like the only smart way out. But while the glut of respect for basic human dignity we are facing from seemingly every corner these days is nothing new, our ability to endure, to thrive, to face challenges head on and evolve is more ancient and fundamental than the fear and hate that consumes our bandwidth each day.
My biggest hope in offering up these recordings, is that in your quiet spaces, they can put you in touch with the primal essence that illuminates the miracle in you. That's asking a lot, I know, so at the very least, I just hope you like them."