This interview is a little different from the others, while Pamela writes poetry, as Scarlet Shadows she also writes and performs her own music with powerful lyrics. Keep reading to explore what this talented woman gains from her relationship with literature, lyrics, and love.
Scarlet Shadows soars when singing.
There is really nothing special about me. I just want to help others in the world heal from the pain that we all go through.Pamela Hensley
I have had my fare share of abuse and sorrow.
Writing music, lyrics and poetry is kind of my therapy and sanctuary.
Again, thank you so much. Because you are being so open, I want to add that if you wish to amend anything on the post, I will give you the opportunity to do that before it goes live and at any point there after. I believe my readers will be touched, moved by how real and sincere you are, but ultimately this is your interview and the final say will lie with you.
I wish you so much vibrancy in life. I hope that for every grey day you find a rainbow of colourful ones. 💖
ULT: Hey Scarlet, thank you for agreeing to feature on ULT. It’s a pleasure to have this opportunity. How old were you when you first discovered a love for writing?
SCA: I started writing when I was about 13 years old. Just poetry, then in my late 20’s I started writing my own songs.
I had always sang from the time I could speak pretty much.
ULT: When did you begin to produce your own music? How did it come about?
SCA: I started to produce my own music in my late 20’s. I had just left an abusive relationship and while in that relationship I wasn’t aloud to watch t.v. or have friends. I couldn’t see my family or do many things that most people did including music. When I left I bought an amp and a keyboard and started to write my own songs.
It was a way for me to deal with the abuse I had gone through. It made me feel safe and that was the only place in my life where I felt like I belonged. Not being around other people for more than 8 years kind of wrecked me to where I just felt awkward around people.
I still feel that way but it is better now than it used to be.
I always feel like people don’t like me and it goes back to the abuse that I endured. A lot of self doubt and low self esteem follows me to this day.
I then started a band and did that for 8 years then after I left the band scene I really started to get serious about writing my own music.
ULT: You come across as very warm hearted, kind, and gentle and our initial communications were felt very positively. It is hard to see ourselves from the outside for sure and trauma only makes it more difficult. Does performing music give you a voice to tell others who and where you are, what you’ve been through with less felt awkwardness?
SCA: I do believe that I am more relatable when performing. I haven’t done a live show in years but when I did there was no other feeling in the world like the energy that flows off of a crowd. It is almost like an electrical charge, a high, a calming effect.
As if those who were listening understood me.
I miss performing to be honest. After the band I almost walked away from doing music. I am so glad now that I didn’t. I have hundreds of songs now because I decided to stick with it all because I found it to be therapeutic.
I think that opening up through music is almost like learning a new language and then finally understanding what people around you are saying for the first time.
I guess because music is so relatable it does make me feel less awkward than to share personal feelings and emotions with others.
I could never sit in a crowd and just say hey this is the life I had and all the reasons why I wish it were different in one way or another.
To sing a song though makes it so much easier to express myself around others.
I don’t feel as vulnerable. I guess music is my shield and protector from being hurt. My wall of boundaries that no one can ever penetrate.
ULT: Do you think that lyrics and poetic verse are similar?
SCA: I do believe that lyrics and poetry are very similar. Both come from the deepest part of the soul. Both are created out of pain, happiness, love and so on.
They are just written in different ways but both are all emotionally based. So to me they are the same thing. There are many poems I have seen that could be turned into songs.
ULT: The subjects you cover are in no way minor. What motivates you to explore the avenues of life that you sing and write about?
SCA: Many of the subjects I write about are from first hand experience but there are other topics I write about that just come to me. Sometimes it feels like a greater power behind it but I have no proof of that, just a feeling.
Other things are just topics that interest me.
My method is to write background music then I sit and start recording and I just sing what comes to my head (ad lib) then I go back and tweak the lyrics so that they flow better. I make little changes but the song to me comes from somewhere deep inside my mind that I would say is my subconscious. Kind of like a meditative state.
ULT: Have you contemplated where that meditative, free-flowing, creative state is found? What causes it to come about?
SCA: I have wondered where my lyrics and music come from. I try to believe that it is a higher power using me as a conduit to reach others.
If it’s all in my head though I am o.k. with believing that. I am not really sure whether it’s a higher power or my desperate attempts at trying to fit in and not to feel so different from everyone else.
Mostly pain causes me to write. Out of all my songs there is only a handful that are driven by positive emotions. The rest is all based on pain.
Pain is a living breathing thing so it seems.
I do believe though that every single person in this world has gone through some traumatic experience and if given the opportunity to channel it in an artistic way that they too would find it soothing through music or poetry.
When I was a baby and in my younger years before ever singing and doing music when things in the world affected me I would rock back and forth. It was like a security blanket to me. Then came music.
It is almost like the same feeling.
Like how a baby becomes calm when a Mother rocks it in her arms.
ULT: When you write poetry, does it aim to serve others by way or relatability or do you write them more for catharsis?
SCA: I would say a little of both. I do write mostly to heal myself but I have this strong desire to help others to see that pain is all around us all the time and everyone goes through trauma. To see that we can overcome and survive things that we never think is possible. There is always hope and my heart is screaming for hope with each song I write. I try to find hope in the lyrics. Not always though do I convey it with each song but mostly I try.
ULT: Do you read often?
SCA: I use to read all the time now my reading pretty much consists of what I read on Twitter or the web. I don’t read as much anymore because I have eye/vision troubles so it’s hard for me to read.
ULT: Does reading or writing provide you a better support for your own metal health? (Or singing your own lyrics as it may be)
SCA: If it weren’t for music I truly believe I wouldn’t be here today. If I didn’t have this outlet I would have self destructed a long time ago. So yes it has helped my mental health.
This sounds stupid but I am going to say it anyways. When my abusive ex use to leave for work. I would play Stevie Nicks as loud as I could and sing along with her songs and fantasize that someone would hear me and save me from the predicament that I was in. The only time I could listen to music is when he left. If he ever caught me there would have been hell to pay.
I knew the darkness that would come with him every time he would walk through the door and I was grasping for anything to get out of the situation I was in but it took me a long time to figure that out.
ULT: With Stevie Nicks, was it the lyrics or the sound/vibrations that you most related to/connected with? I can see that there was a taste of freedom and a need to push against the oppression so unreasonably inflicted.
SCA: I have never thought about it but that makes sense to me now. That the vibrations are something I cling onto.
I am definitely tuned in to lower frequencies. I like so many artist with a lower vibration and deeper tones in their vocals and music.
When I was with my band it wasn’t as meaningful to me as it is now doing music. Then it was a party all the time. Numbing all the pain. Never thinking about the past.
When I quit the band it gave me time to sit with my emotions and dissect them even more.
I found myself for the first time because I had to think about what I was writing as to where before it was a mesh of what the band as a whole felt. After the band it was just me.
Taking away all the clutter of all the noise and settling into oneself is very eye opening.
I discovered so much about myself that before I was too busy to notice.
ULT: Are there any books/characters which come to mind that you could tell us about? Why you remember them, what makes them stand out?
(If you don’t read much) Are there any song lyrics which really stick with you and why?
SCA: My reading consisted of reading Dean Koonts, Steven King and anything that has to do with the paranormal or witchcraft.
I don’t recall any specific characters it has been so long since I have read a good book.
Not sure why I have always been into the dark and scary things in life. Maybe because of the trauma I have been through in my life.
As a child I was sexually abused then grew up to get involved with an abusive monster. So maybe that is why I find it intriguing. Once you have seen the darkness in man you tend to not be scared of much anymore. Fear based trauma was an every day theme for me.
Music wise I have always felt the lyrics, the music came after. Gold dust woman always filled my soul with intrigue. A Huge Pink Floyd fan also. I can’t say why just that I feel it. I have also been mostly into sappy songs the ones that make you cry. I think to this day that my heart is just damaged and so it relates mostly to the painful heartbreaking songs and poetry that rip out the heart and leave it laying on the floor.
You will never see me listening to ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy’ instead I would be playing If I Close My Eyes Forever or something that was made from pain.
ULT: When you relate to the heart breaking songs and poetry, are you finding a sense of not being alone? Of the emotional bleeding you need at those times?
SCA: Yes a sad and emotional song tells me that someone else out there is aching inside also.
Music saved me in so many ways.
The way you put it so perfect.
(Emotional bleeding) That is exactly what it is.
I am by no means healed and there are things that still I can’t talk about because it is too painful and it breaks me all over again but that is the perfect way of describing it.
A shedding of the soul. Always searching for a way to conquer the fears and aches of life.
I am still trying to figure out how to fill the emptiness I feel sometimes. Music and poetry I think helps me to do that. Other artist songs that have similar emotions in them and poetry that delve into emotional pain and the expression of it makes me feel like I am not alone.
I think a few songs that have made an impression on me would be Comfortably Numb, Mother, Wearing The Inside Out (all by Pink Floyd)
Total eclipse of the Heart-Bonnie Tyler
November Rain-Guns and Roses…
My all time favorite song is HURT by Nine Inch Nails.
I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
The only thing that’s real
The needle tears a hole
The old familiar sting
Try to kill it all away
But I remember everything
What have I become
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know goes away
In the end
And you could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt
I wear this crown of thorns
Upon my liar’s chair
Full of broken thoughts
I cannot repair
Beneath the stains of time
The feelings disappear
You are someone else
I am still right here
What have I become
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know goes away
In the end
And you could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt
If I could start again
A million miles away
I would keep myself
I would find a way
So my heart aches and I feel pain and I sing about pain but I don’t want pity I just want to heal myself and others whom have experienced the same kinds of sorrow.
Maybe all in all there just might be one person out there who is still alive today because they heard one of my songs.
That is how I try to look at it.
It would be nice to know that I have touched someone deeply enough that they feel safe in this world just once.
ULT: I adore this song and have also felt connections with some of the other songs you have mentioned. I know ‘Hurt’ better as the Johnny Cash version – exceptionally emotional.
We can become attuned to high emotional arousal and so to feel, we may seek out high emotionality in external realms, some take comfort in inducing less positive emotions within themselves, which in a way sounds akin to what you are doing – taking the emotionality of your own life and channeling your internal struggles towards creativity.
It must feel very freeing in some ways when you listen to loud music, including your own and exercise the freedoms you should have had all along?
SCA: I love the Johnny Cash version also I tweeted the video awhile back.
Have you ever seen the video?
It is so heartbreakingly beautiful.
It is such a touching version of the song.
Very sad though but relatable. His version makes you look at life in a deeper more meaningful way.
It is very freeing. I feel like sometimes that is all that I am is pure emotion just wandering through life. Things affect everyone so differently and we all channel it differently as well. I must say this interview has helped me understand some of the reasons why I am the way I am.
Abandonment is one of my biggest fears.
I have felt abandonment since the age of 2 years old and it has followed me most of my life.
To this day I fear it even still.
LOST is a word I use a lot. Like something is missing from my soul. I don’t know how to fix that yet and maybe writing poetry and music brings me closer to figuring out why.
I have never thought about why I feel the things the way I do instead I just rolled with it hoping to just get through another day.
Now you have brought me closer to figuring out the why. So thank you for that.
I believe everything happens for a reason and this moment right here, right now, you have the gift of helping others search their souls for answers to freeing the locked up emotions and feelings they cling onto.
If you only knew how much healing you are spreading across the world by doing what you do.
ULT: Do you think music that is intensely emotional (not like Don’t Worry Be Happy) but on the lighter side by meaning (like Don’t Worry Be Happy) could potentially allow you to feel elevated to the alternate state of arousal?
SCA: I do… Music is a Universal language. Something that everyone can relate too. The trade off is you feel better. Whether by forgetting about things for awhile or delving deeper into life, emotions, and the meaning of it all.
Life is a puzzle and it’s up to us to fit all the pieces together. Sometimes though the pieces just don’t fit. That alternate state of arousal is the missing pieces that fill in the blanks until we find all the pieces that fit.
Music heals, inspires, and I believe it has even saved lives. Something so beautiful that it can bring people together from all over the world and set differences aside just for a moment in time. That is a beautiful thing. The same goes for poetry as well.
Not much of anything else in this world can do that.
Thank you Nicole so very much. I hope that this can help someone else out there in one way or another. I am humbly grateful to you for giving me the opportunity to be a part of something so meaningful.
You are going to help so many people out there with your work.
You have helped me and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to share my pain and inspirations, and healing with whomever else out there who might be going through the same things.
ULT: Thank you Pamela. I’m certain that your sincerity and openness, both in this interview and in your music will bring a lot to people who have walked similar paths. I obviously believe strongly in the ability of literature to support personal growth. The thoughts you have had have all been your own and as such the gratitude you express is owed to unto yourself too. It has been an absolute pleasure working with you.
Scarlet has written over a hundred songs covering everything from abuse, to addiction, veterans, suicide, serial killers, pain and sadness mixed with the deep and powerful energy of a hopeful heart. To listen, visit Scarlet on soundclick.
To read her poetry (new poems almost every weekend) visit the media section on her twitter profile.