martes, enero 12, 2016

Paul Stanley encourages us to face our truth



There’s something I find very endearing -and rather intimate- when I read successful and inspiring people telling the stories of their lives. That been said, I just love reading memoirs. About a couple of months ago I had the great pleasure of reading back-to-back the amazing autobiographies by comedy legends Martin Short and Charlie Chaplin. I was officially hooked to reading memoirs by famous artists, so I knew I had to follow those two up with another great book. But this time I wanted to make a switch: I wanted to read about musicians, so after doing some research, I decided to take on Paul Stanley’s memoir, Face the music: A life exposed. I just kept running into it among several lists where it was recommended by other famous rockers, critics and bloggers. According to them, the book was a must-read. I went through an intense KISS phase when I was in high school -around the time they released Psycho Circus. However, I lost track of their music after that. Every once in awhile I came back to their greatest hits but that was pretty much it so, truth be told, I was a little disconnected to KISS’s music. Hence, my expectations on reading Stanley’s words were rather low. In hindsight, I guess that was a fortunate position to be in: my mind was about to be blown away.  In Face the music, Paul Stanley tells the uplifting story about his harsh beginnings, his sudden rise to fame and the intricate path to becoming the frontman of one of the most successful and noteworthy rock acts. The beginning of the book is already staggering: Paul Stanley confesses he was born with a facial deformity -he didn’t have an ear. This visual handicap made him the object of bullying by his classmates and even alienation from his family. This condition affected his social behavior for the rest of his life: it made him a guarded and shy individual. To put it simple, interaction with other human beings was not an easy task. Nonetheless, in his teenage years he found a warm refuge in rock ‘n roll. In the era of great british he found many idols; and in the guitar, a perfect companion. Paul Stanley decided learn to play the instrument, become a songwriter, form a band and perform at venues. From then on, Paul Stanley worked tirelessly to become a true rockstar. Focus, perseverance, hard work: all of those ingredients were fundamental throughout his journey towards founding, leading and -pretty much- stirring the course of KISS. Stanley tells the story of how his band was able to succeed in an astonishing way. However, Stanley is also very frontal when it comes to revealing that the path to his own happiness remained even further. This is where Face the music gets the tone and the form of a frank, tender and powerful tome of self-help. Stanley shares how we had to ask help from a psychiatrist to deal with the intimidating arrival of succes. He describes very succinctly the menacing effect of having to perform in front of  thousands of people in arenas around the world.  Throughout the book, Stanley is very upfront to highlighting the power we have to make ourselves: to transform us right into the person we dream of becoming. He’s also very persuasive towards being honest to ourselves: we can fool other people, sure, but deep inside we can’t lie to ourselves. That’s just not going to happen. Reading this autobiography has resonated within me like no one other because getting to know about Paul Stanley’s life has made a true mark in my own. Maybe it’s because I read it at a particularly critical time in my own life: one in which I have to make crucial decisions. The real lesson and inspiration one can find in Stanley’s testimony is that he was able to find his true fulfillment only later in life. Stanley felt incomplete for the most part of his life. Even after getting millions of dollars, sleeping with hundreds of women and being adored by millions of fans he felt he was incomplete. His real happiness was not there. Only after he made an effort to accept himself, open up to others and help them, he could find true love and happiness. Reading Face the music: A life exposed encouraged me to take a brutally honest look at myself and decide to do whatever I need to do to change myself.  Reading Paul Stanley’s memoir changed my life.

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