Bass Therapy: Trauma and Rave Culture

by: Dana Marie

 

When I was 19, I moved out of my parents’ house and into the home of the person who would become known to me forever as “my abuser”.

When I was 32, I would finally escape. 12 years, 6 black eyes, 7 or so concussions, 1 gunshot, and years of physical abuse later, I would start my journey of healing. That journey led me to raving, and raving led me to flow arts.

There, in that community, I found myself healing from years of trauma, and falling in love with what I learned about myself in the process.

It may sound crazy, but I am here to tell you, this life we love, rave culture, it heals.

It has the power to heal trauma in ways that are lasting and meaningful. It's more than just flashing lights and thumping bass . . .

It may not make sense to some. The bass shaking the building and rattling the windows, the building itself threatening to burst with the sound.

The walls vibrating while lasers chase each other across a sea of bodies all writhing to the sensory overload that is the epicenter of rave culture.

Lights, bass, more lights, deeper bass, the build, the drop, the feeling of being surrounded by so many people experiencing the same thing that you are, it makes perfect sense to us.

For some of us, it more than “makes sense”. For those of us here that are healing from some sort of trauma, it helps us make sense of ourselves. We have finally found a place where we are free to find ourselves.

There is plenty of evidence that music has healing powers. For years, PTSD and traumatic brain injury, or TBI, have been treated with music therapy.

Everything from emotional to physical impairments have been treated, and music therapy has been able to activate injured parts of the brain involved in
cognitive behavior, the stuff that makes us, us. (More on that here at
https://www.brainline.org/article/music-healing-tool-after-brain-injury)

But what about bass music specifically? Is there something about the music in rave culture that can heal us on a spiritual level?

Can the music pulsing through our bodies actually awaken something inside of us? If you believe in universal energy, then the answer is, yes.

Everything in the universe, is in a constant state of vibration. We are vibration. The energy centers within our bodies, or our chakras, all have their own frequency and each can be tapped into using different sounds and vibrations.

Most notably, the root chakra is known to respond to drums and strong beats/rhythm. When energy freely flows through the root chakra, you feel more secure in yourself and grounded to your physical environment.

The third eye is known to respond to chimes and synthesizers, which can actually cause activity spikes in neurons (More on that here https://www.fractalenlightenment.com)

The music we listen to isn’t only speaking to us on a conscious level, but the sounds and vibrations are quite literally awakening something in our subconscious on a deeper and spiritual level, connecting us even more within our community.

I remember the first time I went to a dubstep show. Much like seeing the ocean for the first time, I was overwhelmed.

I felt my chest rumble with the bass and my brain melt with the sound that seemed to slice through it like a million tiny razor blades, awakening my senses somewhere I had never known senses existed.

I looked around at the bodies taken by the sound and realized I was looking at more than a group of strangers.

I let the bass wash through me and cried, knowing how lucky I was to be there and how at home I felt among these people
who didn’t feel like strangers.

The people. The community is one of the biggest factors in making rave culture, festivals, and shows such a safe haven for those looking to heal from trauma.

Rave culture represents the best in all of us. People lifting each other, encouraging each other, and creating environments and communities where self-expression is the norm, PLUR is a lifestyle, and bad vibes are not welcome.

Coming from an environment that bred self esteem issues, trust issues, and kept me isolated, walking through the crowd at a show or a festival is something I will never take for granted.

The acceptance here is unmatched.

If you want to wear your most comfy clothes, do it. If you feel like popping on some pasties that match your pink wig and showing off your newest fishnets, get it!!!!

I found myself being able to express myself and be showered in support from the most amazing people. The immersion therapy that is going to a festival was exactly what I needed to be reset in my soul.

I walked around my first festival amazed at the community built by hand where everyone had a role and everyone was so kind and I knew I never wanted to leave.

It wasn’t long before my adventure through rave culture brought me to flow arts. When I saw a pixel whip for the first time, I knew I had to have one.

I got one for my birthday a few months later, and if I thought the music and the community were healing, I was about to be blown away with what flow
arts had to offer.

There is nothing like the connection between a flow artist and their prop. That
connection becomes something sacred when pain travels that connection, and comes out in a beautiful expression of emotions that just isn’t possible with words alone.

When I picked up my whip I didn’t know where to start. By the time I grew comfortable with my prop, it had taught me more than I ever thought possible.

I learned about taking back control of my situations. I also learned that control isn’t always about force. Yes, when I want to start flowing, I must force my prop to move, however, if I want to change the direction in which it is moving, I cannot force anything.

I have to use the energy the whip already has going, and guide it through to where I want it to be. So many of the lessons that apply to that whip apply to real life.

Our props are capable of nothing on their own. In our hands, they have the power to express our emotions, and move the emotions of others.

I learned how to trust myself and my capabilities, and how to trust my prop.
Trusting something other than myself wasn’t easy, but my whip taught me how.

The more I held it, the more familiar the weight became. I could swing it without thinking and predict its trajectory, making my flow smooth and fluid.

For someone used to inconsistency, the predictability of my prop is comforting. After years of not loving myself, it was something I had to re-learn. Every success, every new trick is something to celebrate.

Flow taught me patience with myself, and that self-care and happiness go hand in hand. For those of us who have lost ourselves to trauma, the idea of self-care is foreign.

Survival mode doesn’t allow for self-care.

Not only is flow a work out that keeps the body in shape, it is an outlet for the mind. For pain, anger, joy, energy all ready to escape . . . it all comes out through the outlet rave culture gives us.

On the surface, its bright lights, and loud music, and people wearing colorful things. Just scratch the surface, pull back the curtain and see that within rave culture lies the ability to heal what has been broken.

My faith in humanity was restored by rave culture and my faith in myself was restored by flow arts.

This community has so much to offer, and for those of us lucky enough to have found it after our trauma, it offers a safe haven of acceptance and understanding that encourages healing and personal growth. It's more than just flashing lights and thumping bass, it's home.

Disclaimer - If you or someone you love is a victim of domestic violence, call the Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799- SAFE. I do not encourage taking the healing journey without help of a trained and certified professional, the views expressed in this piece are opinion based and not based on scientific or medical fact and should not be used to diagnose, treat or influence anyone. Rave culture is a beautiful place for healing however mental health should always be taken seriously and medical/mental health advice should only come from a trained and trusted professional.

 

About the author: Dana Marie

 

Dana is a flow artist from Upstate New York who has been raving for a little over a year. Engaged mother of one, most of her time is spent balancing work, home and healing. Dana is a survivor of a 12 year battle with Domestic Violence, and broke the cycle not only for herself, but for her little girl.

After years of being held down, and being told she wasn’t enough, she took charge of her life and made the terrifying choice to break the cycle. She took her child and 2 bags of clothes and left and never looked back.

After fighting the first few years in tiny apartments and at low paying jobs, the journey of healing led her to her best friend, and the man she would one day agree to marry.

Until then, he would be the person that led her into the EDM and Rave community, introduced her to flow, and set her on her higher journey of healing, one that involved self love and bass music.

Rave culture and flow have helped her fall back in love with herself, and taught her the importance of living life to the fullest every moment. She currently lives with her small family, and has a job she loves, and is looking forward to the future. She hopes to continue her journey of healing and to grow as a writer, sharing her story with as many people as the universe sees fit.

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