Hey, you guys! Thank you for joining in on another Sunday Spotlight where we will learn more about an inspiring music artist. Not only is Amelia a distant cousin to The King, Elvis, but she has a chilling story to tell, with raw emotion expressed through her soulful voice. Because her story is so big and universal, she will be back again next Sunday with a wrap-up.
It is my great pleasure to turn my blog over to Amelia today, and I hope you enjoy her story and her music!
Hi, everyone, and thank you for taking an interest in my story and my music. The story starts with an adoption. The photo above is of me and my birth mother. I won’t get into the reasons for the adoption here. That’s another story for another time.
The truth is that my adopted mother was an abuser. She abused me mentally and physically from the time I came to live with her through my teenage years. The scars her abuse left are still healing, but at last I’ve finally found a healthy way to work through the mountain of emotions and psychological turmoil. Music has always been my refuge from the storms.
When I wrote “Harm Nobody Else,” I wasn’t at a place in my life where I was able to actually connect with the emotions of the abuse. I wrote the song in July 2018. I was alone in my house that weekend, getting ready for some Highway Sisters tour dates.
That’s when flashbacks of memories I’d rather forget tend to rear their ugly heads – when I’m alone.
I remember I rushed to find paper, pen and guitar so I could get the song down. The first few lyrics played in my head – “I see you walkin’ I hear you talkin…” Then the song just flowed out of my soul and it was done in thirty minutes or less. After I wrote it and recorded it as a voice memo on my phone, I just left it. I didn’t even think about it that much afterward, because I was so used to disassociating from that part of myself.
I performed the song live for the first time at the Mississippi Songwriters Festival. My abuser, the woman who legally adopted me, was in the audience with her new husband, showing the world how seemingly supportive she was. Before playing the song, I explained to the crowd that I wrote it to spread awareness against abuse. I didn’t reveal that it was my personal story. I couldn’t look her in the eyes as I explained the false truth of why I wrote “Harm Nobody Else,” but at a certain point in the song, I looked her straight in the eyes and sang the words. I was terrified and angry as I sang them to her, as if no one else was in the room. She squirmed and left shortly after I finished playing. I never played the song again until the end of this past year.
My abuser cut me out of her life, out of the blue, after she’d sent a text that said, “I love you. Happy Birthday!” My entire adult life, she had seemingly changed. I even let myself get close to her and had what I thought was a good relationship with her until that point, which was one of the reasons I had decided not to expose my story. I wanted to protect her. I started a podcast called “The Insignificant Diary of a Burden Named Phoenix,” where I told my story, but changed the names. I was doing everything I could to find some healing for myself without having to hurt her in the process.
So, when the stark realization hit me that she had not changed and that I had been manipulated to believe she had changed came as a huge blow. She blocked me on Facebook. What mother does that? I couldn’t stay quiet and sent a blistering text, to which she responded in her typical way. She turned it all back around on me and basically told me to butt out and stay out of her life.
I immediately felt a rush of emotions, anger, sadness, defeat and betrayal. I can’t explain it any better than to say I was in shock. I wanted everyone to know the truth. No holds barred anymore. I posted screenshots of her texts on Faceook. I knew it was the quickest way to reveal her secret. I did it out of anger. Then after I posted it, I sunk to the floor, physically and emotional exhausted.
So many emotions I’d kept hidden from myself suddenly slammed me in the face. It was as if I was in someone else’s body.
A month later in December 2019, performing at a benefit for a Texas band who had lost their bus to a fire, I told my story on stage for the first time. The room fell silent as I spoke. I pushed through talking, on the brink of tears. When I finished playing the song, I hung my head. I felt small and vulnerable. But the applause that followed gave me validation. From that point forward I’ve taken every opportunity to tell the truth about the song before I play it because I feel it’s important. There is always someone who needs to hear it.
I don’t ever want anyone to see me hiding the truth again.
Folks, there will be Part Two to Amelia’s story next Sunday. She has more to share and it’s such an important message, that I can’t cut her short. So, see you next Sunday for more from Amelia Presley!
In the meantime, you can follow Amelia here: