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Meet Maxx Nies

Today we’d like to introduce you to Maxx Nies.

Maxx, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My father first stepped into my life when I was two years old and was an inconsistent figure until I started seeing him three days a week and one overnight stay during the weekend. It sounds like a dream come true but at the age of six, my father’s best friend and sometimes roommate began molesting me, which he allowed.

Along with the rape, my father locked me in my closet and room or he left me sitting in front of the TV for hours by myself with no way of changing the channel. He only allowed me to eat the stale food in “my” cabinet and would become outraged when I touched “his” food. He constantly told me I was stupid and controlled my every thought. The sexual, verbal, and emotional abuse became too heavy. At the age of nine, I finally found the strength to refuse visitation. My mother realized something was wrong so she put me in counseling immediately. Thankfully she started immediately because I suffered from severe anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and an identity crisis. My uncle, Eric Nies (best known from The Real World Season 1), is now a healer and life coach. He began working with me and saved my life. My mother and uncle daily continue to be my guiding lights.

But in 2018, I picked up a pen and began writing songs. These sessions became the therapy that I needed to help me rise to the next level in my healing journey. My first single, “No Good At Love”, from my album titled “Daddy’s Issues”, is about how I never felt clean enough to love myself or others. I took many showers a day trying to wash off the feeling of being dirty brought on by guilt and shame. Through writing this title track, I was able to heal quickly. As I began to write more and more songs, I was able to navigate through the pain, hurt, and disorders. With a heart full of gratitude, I am 20 years old and finally medication-free and thriving. August 2020, I showed up on my dad’s doorstep and told him that I forgive him, which gave me closure. Now, my heart is to help others heal through my music.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Before I was even a seed in my mom’s body I was unwanted by my father. I lived my entire life thinking he hated me and everything was my fault. I know now that he is incapable of loving anyone, including himself and especially women. He showed hate towards my mom and wanted to walk out of her life the second he found out she was pregnant with his child. In the womb, I felt unloved by him and felt the abuse he inflicted upon my mom. As a baby, I was constantly uncomfortable. I don’t remember too much though. My dad did not see me very much the first two years of my life. He didn’t want anything to do with me or being a dad. He eventually gave into the pressure of his parents wanting him to participate in my life but it was obvious that it wasn’t what he wanted to be doing. Memories of time spent at my dad’s house as a child are a little blurry. As I have started to heal myself from my childhood traumas, some of the memories have slowly become more clear. The memories I do have are not pleasant. My dad didn’t spend much time with me during visitations with him. A typical afternoon at his house looked like me sitting in the same thick cream colored loveseat watching Judge Judy or whatever was on channel 7 until I learned how to work the remote. Sometimes he would feed me but that was rare. I was afraid to ask for food or even speak at all because everything I said was wrong and would lead to punishment. My dad would lock me in his basement, a closet or my bedroom that had a lock on the outside of the door. Every time the door shut, whoever was on the inside would get locked in until someone outside opened it. My room was set up like a room in a dollhouse.

To me, It was creepy and scary and filled with things I didn’t like, but on the outside it looked like a perfect little girl’s room which satisfied my dad’s mind of OCD. Eventually, I would either get picked up by my mom or dropped off to her house where it felt like rainbows and butterflies. My dad would also be physically abusive. He shoved and pushed me around and squeezed the back of my neck and wrists to the point of leaving marks and there was also the occasional slap across the face. He was always angry with me. I spent my whole life wondering what I did wrong and trying to change everything I could about myself so he would accept me. I barely spoke at his house, he put no effort into getting to know me or even talking to me so I bottled everything up inside. After a certain amount of time, I would explode and have temper tantrum‘s over little things that I could not control, for example, the baby hairs sticking out on top of my head or my socks fitting perfectly or touching my feet in certain areas. I would beat myself up to the point of bleeding and injuries. At a very young age, I developed severe OCD that eventually started to affect my daily life. By the age of nine, I had completely shut down, I refused shower, speak, leave the house, socialize or eat. At this point, my mom put me in therapy and I began opening up about why I didn’t like going to my dad’s house. My therapist informed my mom about the abuse and she immediately stopped my visitation with my dad at age ten. I stopped attending school because my anxiety and depression was debilitating. Even though I wasn’t seeing my dad, he found a way to continue to abuse me through emails, phone calls, online cat-fishing, stalking and threats. I was terrified every day all day. I never felt safe unless I was physically next to my mom. I didn’t care about friends or fun. I was broken and shut down. I wanted to die.

At age nine, I was prescribed Xanax for severe anxiety which led to depression and I stopped eating which eventually led to being addicted to starving myself and feeling empty inside. I wanted to avoid the feeling of anything in my stomach, it made me feel like there were maggots crawling inside my skin. My eating disorder was never about being skinny, it was the feeling of something being in my stomach that terrified me. My mom decided it would be a good idea for us to move away from my father and the familiar surroundings related to the trauma I had endured so we moved to Ohio and lived with her sister, her four children and her husband. After a few months, she got a job offer in Los Angeles and we immediately packed up and moved again. As time went on, I started wasting away more and more. I had been put on every anti-anxiety and depression medication available but still I suffered such intense depression that I attempted suicide multiple times. I was 5 feet tall and 56 pounds and hated every inch of my dying 11-year-old body. After many death scares at age 12, my mom admitted me into an inpatient treatment center where I gained around 40 pounds. The facility only focused on physical treatment, they didn’t address the underlying issues and what was happening in my mind. No one focused on fixing the deep-rooted issues. Really, at age 12 I didn’t even know that was necessary, I had no idea what was going on at all when I got out of treatment but I saw a therapist once a week and by age 14 a memory of me being raped resurfaced.

The memory was pretty clear but it was like I had no connection or at least emotional connection to it before I received the full memory. Paul, my dad‘s best friend and my rapist, started entering my mind. It was nothing really specific, I just started to think about him, I would ask my mom questions about him, random questions, and eventually this memory of him raping me at age six resurfaced. I remember where I was laying, what he looked like, what I was wearing, the lighting in the room, the weather outside, what it looked like around me and the feeling. I remember him zipping up his pants and walking out of the room and noticing that my dad was sitting in that cream colored chair that I always used to sit in at his house. Daylight was seeping through the blinds but that was the only lighting in the room. I was in white stockings and I think a blue dress, my hair was cut to my shoulders with a clip holding it behind my ear. He was in blue jeans and a gray T-shirt. I remember seeing my dad when I walked out of the room and everyone was silent. Paul quickly left after that. My whole life or at least as long as I can remember, I have anxiety attacks when I am in rooms with the lights off and sunlight seeping through the blinds. I never understood why I had this fear. People would make fun of me for it and I would be embarrassed about it. I now know that it reminded my body of this trauma but I am no longer afraid of being in rooms with this lighting. It took 19 years to get over it. I told my therapist about the memory but we didn’t talk much about it, I was completely numb to it, I didn’t even know what to say about it. I didn’t know how to feel about it. I didn’t feel about it, it was just a picture in my mind and I pushed it aside or pushed it down or wherever it wasn’t in sight so that it couldn’t affect me. I didn’t want to think about it. I didn’t even care about it until I realized that it was only going to affect me and my life more and more as time went on.

From the age 15 to 17, I tried living my life very lightly, I didn’t express much feeling I just wanted to make up for the years of being miserable and depressed and wanted to have fun and live a normal life. So I tried socializing and making friends and doing “normal” teenage activities but was never able to fully enjoy myself or even be present. I surrounded myself with addictions in my mind in order to cope and distract myself from my traumas. My soul was screaming at me to look at myself and heal my childhood traumas. At age 15, I got my first boyfriend. I broke up with him after only a short time because I felt uncomfortable when he put his arm around me. I came home to my mom and told her I felt gross like my skin was crawling. I didn’t know why I wanted a boyfriend so bad, I wanted him to like me and do boyfriend things but every time it felt like more than a friendship I felt dirty. I couldn’t handle the feeling and ended it so I could avoid it and forget about the uncomfortable feeling. As the years went on, I desired relationships but as soon as I got close with a guy, I would unconsciously push them away. At age 17, I had my first kiss with a boy who thought I was going to be his playboy bunny. Little did he know I had never even held a guys hand… flash forward, I was pretending I was a playboy bunny and his tongue was down my throat and his hands were in my pants, I was so embarrassed and scared and confused. He was pissed when I wouldn’t let it progress to sex and he blocked me on all social media accounts the next morning. I cried for three months even though I barely even knew him. Later that year, I got my second boyfriend, he liked me but didn’t want anything serious at the time so, I’m ordered to win him over, I had sex with him and lost my virginity. He ended up falling hard for me and I ended up despising him and I broke up with him.

My mind, body and soul started screaming even louder to get me to work on myself. I developed severe insomnia in the summer of 2017 leading into the fall. When I say I did not have a nap or a wink of sleep, I am not exaggerating. Severe sleep deprivation. Lead to depression, suicidal thoughts and hallucinations. It wasn’t that I wasn’t tired every night, I was actually convinced I was going to be able to sleep because I was so tired but after I would get in bed and lay there for about 10 minutes my body would start to shake and I wouldn’t be able to breathe. I later learned that my body and subconscious mind was scared that the trauma would happen again and it was protecting me by staying awake. My mom took me to see a doctor and he advised me to basically stop my whole life because it was dangerous for me to do everyday activities. He put me on two different sleeping medications that I ended up overdosing on because the recommended dose did not work. After three months of not sleeping and crying becoming my new hobby, my mom suggested that I try smoking weed. It worked! It put me to sleep right away and I’ve smoked every night consistently since then. I am completely dependent on it but at least I am sleeping. At 17, I decided to stop taking all pharmaceutical medications and now weed is the only medication I consume. At 18, I began to seriously look at an addiction to laxatives that I had since age ten. I had tried to stop many times with no luck. I never understood why I felt the need to take them until I started letting my childhood memories and feelings come in. The problem with that was, they would come up and I would shut down. I didn’t know how to handle them or what to do with them. I would get depressed and shut down or isolate and then I would get anxious and suppress the fact that it was weird, I would feel gross about myself and I would take more laxatives.

My mom suggested that it would be productive and a good distraction if I got a job or started going to college so I decided I was going to take my passion for music for music to the next level and make a career for myself. I stopped horseback riding, which had been a constant activity and passion in my life since age six and started taking voice lessons, playing guitar and piano and writing songs. It felt right and exciting, it filled me up and I knew that this was my purpose, the reason I existed. Since the age of two, I wanted to perform in front of people. I would put on fully choreographed shows for my family and friends, singing and dancing for anyone who would watch. I decided that was what I was going to do with my life. I was going to be a touring, performing artist and since I made that decision, I have always felt like I am living my life to achieve that goal. Every day feels one step closer. It feels as if my whole life is just a prep until I get there. It feels like more than a passion or a job or career, it feels like a purpose or a calling that was assigned to me before I even entered this world. I was accepted to Musicians Institute in Hollywood, California in 2018 but just the fact that they looked at my audition was a shock to me, I was on cloud nine and thought all of my problems were behind me, this would be the beginning of the rest of my new fun, happy and exciting life. My trauma would be in the past and far away from me now! Being in college had me at a constant high. Everything was new and exciting, there were endless possibilities and I finally felt somewhat normal. I began to make real friends and had boys chasing me. I felt important and on top of the world but every day was a distraction from my trauma, I wasn’t feeling, I wasn’t looking at myself, I had completely lost myself in the excitement of all the new things going on in my life.

I still struggled here and there with feeling depressed and my anxiety was awful even though I ended up joining a friend group for the first time in my life. This group of friends ended up turning on me which completely broke me and made me realize if I took everything on the outside away, I felt like I had nothing and I didn’t want to be with myself. I didn’t like myself. My mom and I decided it would be best for me to take a quarter off of school and focus on my music. During this time off, we went to Santa Barbara for a weekend and during that trip, I had admitted to my mom I was taking an extreme amount of laxatives and I was unhappy and depressed. I was feeling that I didn’t want to be alive anymore. I didn’t want to try anymore. I was extremely depressed and miserable with myself. It caught me by surprise to learn that my mom was feeling similarly within herself and admitted to a secret alcohol addiction. After the weekend we called my uncle, Eric Nies, who is a life coach, we told him what we were both dealing with and hires him to put us through a program to work on ourselves. He took us to a ranch away from the city, with no cell service so that we could isolate in nature. We changed our diet and started physically treating ourselves better. My mom began to feel and look great but I still felt miserable in my mind and body.

One morning after not sleeping all night, I woke up feeling completely defeated and ready to give up on myself. My uncle randomly asked me if I wanted to do a guided mushroom journey and although this was so scary to me, I felt like I had nothing to lose and agreed. I couldn’t be in any more pain than I was already in. The mushroom journey looms like this: my uncle sits down with me and we set an intention. I eat the mushrooms and lay down and wait for my mind take me where I need to go. I had no expectations. I had no idea what was going to happen. I completely surrendered and put my trust in him which is extremely rare and difficult for me. Many memories came up of times at my dad’s house. I dozed off and was awakened by a burst of tears. In my journey, I was a six-year-old little girl locked in my room at my dad’s house. I remember sitting in the middle of the room thinking to myself, I can either stay here trapped inside for the rest of my life or I can climb out of that window and run and never look back and that’s what I did. I opened the window, I looked to my left, I looked to my right, and then again my left and saw a huge white light, gold and white light. Without thinking, I decided to run to and when I finally reach the light I woke up in tears, exploded out of my body and felt like I had let a part of my past go that I had been holding onto. I felt calmer, clearer and I started to feel love for myself. After that journey, I continued to work with my uncle. We worked on my mind body and soul and felt great but about two weeks after the mushroom journey those old familiar feelings of sadness crept back in. The anxiety was coming back in and I was getting worried. My uncle suggested we do another mushroom journey to continue the healing and uncovering more suppressed memories. This time was different, it was actually the opposite of the first. It was dark, actually in black-and-white. The entire journey was in black and white. I saw demons, I guess you can say it was a bad trip. The worst part about it or maybe it was a blessing, was that I remembered my biggest trauma of all. I remembered myself being tied to bed and being raped. The memory of me being a sex worker came to me it was clear that it was the same man, my fathers friend Paul, but it was in a different room. It was dark and I was really little and scared. I remember it in detail and it becomes clearer and clearer every day.

Once again, I became extremely terrified of life. I didn’t know how to go on. I was afraid of everything. I didn’t want to leave the house. I didn’t want to be alone. I began to sleep with my mom at night. I was scared and sad all day every day. I continued to work with my uncle so that I could heal this part of me and we decided to do another mushroom journey so I could let go of what I was holding onto. In this journey, I sat with my dad as he cried to me and I comforted him. My uncle made it clear that it was important that I forgive my dad and my rapist for what they’ve done to me so that I can move on from it and have compassion for them. When he first told me that, I thought he was crazy! I had so much anger and hate towards them both but I continued to do the work my uncle prescribed every single day and now, one year later, I feel so sorry for both of them. I have tried to call my dad multiple times to tell him I love him and I’m sorry for him and I have plans this summer to go to both of their homes and tell them I forgive them. I plan to hug them both and wish them well. I still struggle every single day with sadness and anxiety but I know where it’s from now and I know what I need to do to heal from it. I don’t hate it anymore, I have learned to accept it and properly deal with it. I am now writing songs about my traumas and about my dad to free myself and help others free themselves and wake from what has happened to them. I write my music for people who can relate and for those who feel lost and alone in this world. I want my music to make them feel like they have someone who understands them and not feels alone. I feel like this is my purpose in this world, it’s the reason I am here. I had to go through all of that to get to the place where I am today and to be the person that I am today, the person that I love. It is what made me and it is my journey! It is my story and I’m here to share it with the world.

Can you give our readers some background on your music?
As an artist my goal is to connect with my fans by sharing my story, struggles, and experiences through my music. I want to my music to make my fans feel like there is hope and light on the bad days by being authentic, transparent, and honest. I specialize in being very honest and open in my lyrics so I can reach people on a deeper level. What I am most proud of is taking a traumatic experience that broke me for some many years and turning it into music. By writing music about my abuse growing up, it gave me the ability to take my power back and heal from my past, let go of my past, and be grateful for it.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I think it is important for me to continue to be honest, transparent, and authentic so that I stay true to myself and to my fans. By doing this, I can have a real, strong, and honest relationship with my fans and they can trust me and I can support them as well. I also feel that gratitude is extremely important to stay humble and grounded.

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Image Credit:
E𝒖𝒈𝒆𝒏𝒆 S𝒌𝒚 C𝒐𝒎𝒑𝒕𝒐𝒏, Levi Walker

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