Written by: Ashley S. Beroukhim
Produced by: Agam Timor
Guitars: Omri Skop
Mixed by: Matan Kaufman
Mastering by: Noah James
ON THE MUSIC VIDEO:
The video can be taken both literally and figuratively. The choreography was intentionally designed to reflect the relationship and mimic the physical fight I had with the guy it was written about. At the same time, my dancer Yai Ariza and I are personifying Trauma and Healing at war. You can see me constantly trying to run away in the beginning but remaining shackled and bested by Trauma until I am brave enough to face it in the fight sequence. Confronting traumatic events is a very draining and often terrifying healing process. There is an inner violence when both dealing with the pain and evolving from it, and that is why the choreo is so aggressive, because I wasn't going to lie and make this look like some stake-in-the-ground, success story about overcoming adversity and reclaiming my strength - it didn't and has never looked like that. I'm bare faced and stripped of all my Ashley Zarah glamour - I'm a human in pain.
The dancing styles used are contemporary and classical Persian dance. The person I wrote this about is a fellow Iranian and is responsible for mending my wounded relationship with my culture. He helped me view it as a space to find love, beauty, wisdom and comfort; but then poisoned and destroyed it right after - so I wanted to juxtapose the elegance of Persian dance with the combative partner work Yai and I did together.
There is so much to say about this song and this video, but I'll try to leave it at that. :)
If my whole concept of Dark-Pop had to be condensed to one simple theme, it would be:
"denial and truth."
Mental health is dependent on so many factors, but a substantial one of them is facing truth and then acting accordingly. Looking at the cold, hard facts. Admitting who is accountable for what on paper - with no emotional attachment - and ultimately? Asking ourselves if we really want to be where we are anymore.
This song is about facing the painful truth of a very uncomfortable situation that occurred between myself and a dear friend of mine. I used to call it a physical altercation because I was convinced that's what it was - but now I force myself to call it by its real name - it was sexual assault. I used euphemisms for a long while because it was easier to process. I didn't have to feel the truth as much; the betrayal, the shock and confusion. I was scared that admitting what really happened that night would be so debilitating that I'd no longer be able to function. Who would I become after admitting I had been violated like that? Violated? It didn't even make sense - he was my best friend, how could I associate him with sexual assault? Had I been wrong about our relationship this whole time? It had to be an accident- There must be another name for this? - but.. sometimes... trying to make sense out of the insane keeps you from the seeing the truth.
The truth was actually quite simple: he liked me. He spent time getting to know me. He waited til I was comfortable and tried. We're all human, that's fair to shoot your shot - but then he fought me when I said no. And he fought me again. The truth is very simple. But it's very hard to digest.
So, in order to maintain normalcy and to keep myself from collapsing - I faked everything. It was as if nothing happened. I made my excuses, still laughed at his jokes, walked with him from one class to another, shrugged my shoulders and pretended we were fine - but of course we weren't.
I liked having him in my life so much, I couldn't even consider letting go of him; no matter what happened that night, misunderstanding or not; meaning that something was very wrong with my relationship with myself.
Lying and avoidance has never solved our problems. Though they may bury them for a little while, the earth always renews and pulls old soil back to the surface. What you bury will at some point resurface. Since that night, I haven't been the same around men. This was something I could not run away from - there are literally men EVERYWHERE. It was only until I took that brave deep breath and faced the root of my new trigger that I could start healing. I did not want to spend the rest of my life being hurt and afraid. So I stopped faking it.
I stopped scapegoating myself and giving the whole speech as to what possibly caused the "unfortunate misunderstanding" that happened that night. I stopped trying to cling to this guy's opinion of me as a source of my worth. I stopped pretending it was all right when the men in my life acted a specific way around me or towards other women. When I stopped pretending, the wound started to close, my sight started to clear, and I began feeling empowered.
It is not our fault that we are simply not made or meant for some people. Though sometimes we wish it was otherwise. We may try to force it to be what we wanted, but something forced is something that's not real. It's us fighting against nature. "Faking it" means going against what your mind and body really wants to do or say or think. When we stifle our truth, we just perpetuate the problem. Don't "fake it" - the truth is simple, it's healthy, and it's only hard in the beginning.