So… This is an extremely personal post. I’m going to talk about how music helped me get through some of the worst times of my life, and I’ve never openly talked about it before. I don’t usually talk about such personal things openly on the internet, but I’m feeling inspired. And who knows…. maybe my story will be able to help or inspire someone else out there.
For starters, I was just sitting here thinking about how the internet can be an awesome thing sometimes, especially when it comes to music. When I logged into Tumblr, I had a message from a totally sweet teenage girl thanking me endlessly for my post about the ADTR concert (Parks & Devastation Tour) I went to last week. This girl told me that she really wanted to go to the concert, but her parents wouldn’t let her go unless she could tell them the times/lineup. She came across my blog, which had every little detail, and said I was the only person who had it. And now she’ll probably get to go, and have the time of her life. I know it might seem like such a silly little thing, but I could literally feel the excitement just by reading her message… I know the feeling I get when I go to a concert, and it just made me so happy that I could help someone out. 🙂
That’s just one small, tiny example of how so many people all over the world can come together because of a common interest in music. That’s why I love it so much. I don’t even think I have 50 followers on here, and I don’t have many followers on my other social networking sites either. But the internet can be such an amazing way to bring fans together. Unfortunately there will always be the haters who bash on an artist/band and their fan-bases. I’ve seen it a lot more lately than I ever have, and it really bothers me. But it’s something that will always be there. Regardless, everyone needs to just focus on what’s important… there will always be another person somewhere in the world who understands you, and understands why you feel the way you do about a band, or just music in general.
During the majority of my childhood/elementary years, I was basically just like most other girls who listened to popular boy bands at the time… like Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, Hanson, etc. But there was something about it that couldn’t keep my attention. By the end of elementary school and beginning of middle school (late 90s/early 2000s) I started listening to bands like Blink 182, Green Day, Good Charlotte, etc. I always kind of considered myself to be “musically talented” and knew I wanted to get involved with music as soon as I could. I joined choir in 5th grade and continued to do that every year until I graduated from high school. In comparison to a lot of other people, I wasn’t even very good. But I loved it, and it was always my favorite time of every day. I also joined band in 5th grade. When I first started listening to bands like Blink and Green Day, I remember always loving the drums. There was something about it that always stuck out to me and I was constantly tapping my foot or fingers all the time. So I decided to try it out. I did that all through middle school but then quit once I got to high school. My dad got me a guitar for Christmas one year, but I always had it in my mind that I was going to suck at it. I’d like to say I did suck at it, but the truth is that I never really tried. I didn’t have the patience. It’s still sitting in my closet to this day, with a broken string that I’ll hopefully get fixed someday soon. Basically after high school, my “musical” career was over. I thought about trying out for choir when I started college, but basically I was just a big scaredy cat and I was too scared of being rejected. So that was it. Aside from that, I go to a lot of concerts whenever I get the chance, and I listen to music almost 24/7. Literally. I still love to sing and I do whenever I get the chance. I sing with friends now and then, but it’s always just messing around. I sing my lungs out in the car, I sing in the shower, I sing when I’m cleaning my house. I may not be as good as I used to be, but I can still carry a tune, and I can harmonize like no other. All my friends hate when a song comes on in the car or something and we’re all singing, because I’ll start singing the harmony and it throws everyone off. I live for it. haha.
Anyways…. back to middle school. I distinctly remember a period during 7th grade when I started listening to heavier stuff like Slipknot and Atreyu, just because my boyfriend at the time loved it. haha. It didn’t really last much longer than that though. You could say I’ve always been a punk rock kid, more than anything. During middle school was when I really started discovering different bands and from there, it was history. I always felt like the kind of music I listened to alienated me from people in a way. I was never the type of person who wanted to fit in to begin with, but on top of that, it wasn’t “cool” to like the kind of music I liked. I went to school in a small town where if you weren’t involved in athletics (especially football), then you automatically were looked down on. The cliques were undeniable and it’s something I always hated and never understood. I was bullied a little here and there, and I always made a promise to myself that I would never in my life treat another human being like that. Too many people walked around thinking that they were better than others, and making people feel left out just because they didn’t look or dress a certain way. At that point in time, I didn’t realize that it was okay to be different.
I went through a period of severe depression during middle school and self-harmed for quite a while. To this day, there are still only a handful of people who know that. Not even my own family. To be honest, I’m not even sure at what point it all started, or why. Looking back, I’d say death was a big part of it. In 7th grade my grandma passed away and it was the first death I ever had to go through in my family. I was really close with her, so it devastated me. Then within the next year, we had 3 more deaths in the family. And it was just all too much for me. All that on top of problems at home, drama with friends, and a lot of failed relationships. I guess I was just always one of those people who let people walk all over me, and hurt me, and I never had it in me to stand up for myself. I was never the type of person to express my feelings well, so I just kept it all inside, and it eventually just built up too much. I’d say my relationships had a lot to do with it. I had my first real relationships during middle school, they all ended in heartbreak, and every single time I convinced myself that it was my fault. I was constantly looking down on myself, always wondering what was wrong with me. Whether it was failed relationships or failed friendships, I felt like there was always someone better. Like I wasn’t good enough for anyone. I was feeling things that I couldn’t even explain to myself, so how could I explain it to other people? I was basically alone and I had no one to talk to. When people ask why I used to self-harm, the best explanation I can give to this day, is a line from Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls. “You bleed just to know you’re alive.” I felt totally numb sometimes. And as strange and sad as it sounds….hurting myself, and causing pain to myself, was the only way I knew I could still feel something. And while that was my thought process was most of the time, I’d be lying if I said there weren’t times when I actually considered myself to be suicidal. There were a handful of times when I told myself over and over that everyone would just be better off without me. Even the few people who said they were there for me, never really completely understood what I was going through. Music is what I turned to. Music was my way of expressing how I felt. Music is what saved my life.
After I got through that stage of my life, I continued to go through tough times, as everyone does. High school began, and I lost contact with some of my best friends as we all started to go our separate ways and hang out with new people. I really only had three good friends through high school, and two of them ended up screwing me over and stabbing me in the back in one way or another. I also had my first “serious” relationship freshman year and I thought the world of this boy. Too bad he ended up being a douche and shattered my heart into a million pieces too. After that, I decided I was done with everyone’s shit. I was done with all the fake people I was surrounded by, so I basically stuck with my one best friend through the rest of school. And to this day, we’ve been best friends for about 16 years. 🙂 After all that drama, I was literally just done with everyone. For all I was concerned, there was a special place in hell for all the people who screwed me over. Teen angst couldn’t have been a more perfect term. But after I cooled off, I just decided that for the rest of high school I’d be as nice as I could to everyone and get through it as quickly as possible. That worked for a few years, for the most part. Then senior year I met another boy. He was only a sophomore, so I was a little skeptical. But he was the only boy I liked in the last 4 years, so I decided it was worth a shot. Worst decision of my life, by the way. It ended up being one of those relationships where I jumped head first, and it moved way too fast. We were saying we loved each other within the first week of dating, and lost our virginity to each other in the first few months. If I could take it back, I would, but the past is the past. It only took a couple months before the arguments began, and I should have seen that clear sign, but I was too blinded. He broke up with me over and over and over, and I took him back every single time. I can’t even blame young love. It was pure stupidity. I actually started keeping track of how many times we broke up, and by the time I graduated high school that year, I’m pretty sure he had broken up with me about 11 times. I kept thinking “neither of us can let go, that must mean it’s something special.” But I never stopped to realize that in between our breakups, I was sitting around crying, while he was out doing who knows what with tons of other girls. The worst part is that this actually continued on and off for over 5 years. Five. Freaking. Years. I look back on it and wonder what in the actual fuck I was ever thinking. During those five years I experienced the worst heartbreak(s) of my entire life. There were many times when I hit rock bottom again, but luckily I never went back to what I did in the past. Once I got to college, I made more friends so I actually felt like I had people to talk to. But after so many breakups, even my best friends stopped feeling bad for me. And I couldn’t blame them. So when I had no one else…. music was there for me once again to get me through the tough times. If I ever got the urge to hurt myself again, I’d just put my headphones in, close my eyes, and shut out the rest of the world. Music was always able to take me to another place. Now here I am, 23 years old, graduated from college, single for almost a solid year, and have never felt more content with my life. Going through all those shitty times helped me become the person I am today. And music has always had a huge part in that. I’m proud of the human being I’ve become. I’m proud of the heart I have. I’m proud of the mindset I have. I’m proud of the obstacles I’ve had to overcome in my life. And I have music to thank for helping me get over many of those hurdles.
Now that I’ve ranted on for way too long about my story, I just want to relate all of that back to my opening statement about how music can bring people together. My family hates 99% of the music I listen to. I play my music around them and I usually get something along the lines of “Turn that shit off.” Most of my friends are pretty much the same. I play my music in the car, and I get “Can we listen to some real music now please?” But then there’s the internet. I get on social media and post a song, or some lyrics, or a YouTube video, etc… and I may not get 10000000 likes or 10000000 reblogs…. but there’s always at least one person who gets it. One person who likes it, reblogs it, comments on it, favorites it, retweets it. One person, who could be across the world for all I know… but they get it. That one person is all it takes. Maybe that person likes the song. Maybe they like the lyrics. Maybe it’s their favorite band too. Maybe they obsess over how cute the lead singer is as much as I do. Maybe they used to self-harm. Maybe music saved them too. Regardless…. someone gets it. Someone else out there understands what it’s like to fall in love with a band. Someone out there understands what it’s like to have a terrible day, then watch some YouTube videos of one of your favorite bands goofing off, and your mood is completely turned around. While most of the people in my life have never and will never understand what music means to me, or what music has done for me… I take comfort in knowing that there’s someone out there who does understand it. There’s someone out there who was saved by music too. There’s someone out there who actually shares my taste in music and enjoys listening to it, and talking about it, and obsessing over it, just as much as me. Who knows, maybe it’s weird. But I just think it’s amazing to see people who don’t even know each other form bonds and friendships with each other because of a band.
I’m sure no one will even take the time to read all this, but if you do, and you’ve gone through anything similar in your life… follow me, message me, whatever floats your boat. I will always be here for anyone who needs it, no matter what. OR, if you love music/bands as much as me, I already love you, and we should definitely be friends.
I’m done ranting now. Music is a glorious thing. xo