Live Vicariously Through Me

An Excerpt From My New Book,

Releasing December 2017

If there’s one question I get asked all the time it’s, “Em’rald, how did you get such an incredible life?”

Then there’s the true burning inquiry that bolder fans will ask me and reporters always start off with: “What made you marry Nikk Saffire when you had Sweet Sammy Gunn waiting for you at the altar?”

The answers to these questions are so closely intertwined that they’re basically the same story.  It’s a saga I’ve hidden for years, but is coming to light in small bits and pieces.  Rather than let the untruths that come from interfering people digging into my past be the only thing out there, I’ve thought long and hard about my options, and have come to the conclusion it’s best to tell my own story—complete with all its un-pretty facts.

“I live vicariously through you,” young women say to me when they meet me backstage, after I’ve torn it up in front of twenty-five thousand sweat-soaked fanatics in the man’s world of heavy metal. I have to smile.  Because sometimes I live vicariously through me, too.  Those days when I just can’t quite shake the feeling of being Homeless Emily Jane Darlington, the girl I used to be, Em’rald, the Goddess of Heavy Metal, is just a mask I force on.  She’s only real to me sometimes.  But that’s what keeps me sane.

I’ve been to heaven, and I’ve lived through hell.  I prefer it somewhere in between, because heaven doesn’t stick around, and there’s only so long you can be in hell before you have to force yourself to bounce back and clear out.  True heaven only comes to me in the form of Niko Saffros, better known as Nikk Saffire, who knows everything I know, and has seen everything I’ve seen.  Hell doesn’t come anymore because of Nikk Saffire.  I guess the burning question has been answered that easily, for some.  But there’s so much more to tell.

I may have skipped part of high school and all of college to be a fashion model, but I’m smart enough to know that my meteoric rise from living in a car in the South Bronx to becoming the female jewel of heavy metal has everything to do with the charm of wanting to be me.  The world loves a good Cinderella story. Mine is one of the greats, especially if it didn’t happen to you. The verdict is still out on whether I’ll get my fairy tale ending, but the odds are looking pretty good from my vantage point.

If that’s what the world thrives on, that’s what the world can have.  Give the people what they want.  I offer up the Ballad of Emily Jane on a platinum record, one of the many we have hanging on the walls of our estate in upstate New York, far away from the South Bronx.  At my urging, live how I’ve lived. Feel my joy, my pain, and everything in between.  Experience what l’ve been through.  Ascend into my heaven, and descend into my hell.  Roll my rock and rock my roll. Survive this.  Walk a mile in my spike-heeled emerald-spangled shoes, and never complain about blisters, because no one gives a shit.

Suck it up. Take a deep breath. And live vicariously through me.


Author: barblee

Barb Lee is a native of Western Massachusetts who loves to write, travel and hike the world, and hang out with her beautiful Jersey Wooly bunny Muffin. Her whole life changed when she was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer in October of 2019. By January of 2020, she was bouncing back in a major way. Now, in addition to all her favorite activities, she wants to help others make the most of life following a devastating diagnosis, while she continues to beat the odds.

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