Wednesday, April 03, 2013

I Was A Teenage My Chemical Romance Fan

[cw: self harm, alcoholism, depression talk]
When I heard My Chemical Romance had split up last week, I was sure I felt nothing. I mean I am 22 years old, I'm not a teenager anymore and its been years since I listened to their music in earnest, why should a band I don't listen to breaking up hurt me? I filed the news away in my head, shrugged it off and kept compulsively refreshing tumblr.

Then this morning I had to rebuild my itunes library, for some reason when I updated the software all my music got deleted. So I added my whole music folder, including a lot of things I no longer listen to and now when I shuffle through my music its a crapshoot whether its something I listen to now or from when I was 15. Just seeing those albums there is so strange to me, when I was an angsty teenager nothing meant more to me than those songs. I remember "My Chemical Romance saved my life" was something it seemed like every bloody MCR fan said and while they might not have saved my life they helped me get through some of the worst days.

I've read a few posts here and there about how they helped people who self harmed, who were loners, atypical kids or were bullied, especially for being into alternative culture, but I haven't read anything on the biggest effect My Chemical Romance had on me. 
 I really vividly remember the moment I stumbled across the video for I'm Not Okay, I was 14 and it amazed me. I showed a few people at school who dubbed it "scary", "awful" and "emo". I didn't care, I was obsessed and my feelings only got stronger every interview I read, every song I listened to, every gig I went to.
It was around this time that my mother's alcoholism was at its worst, I was scared to go home, I was hurt, lonely and I never said a word about any of this to anyone. I turned all of my bad feelings inward, I hurt myself and all I wanted to do was die. I couldn't see light at the end of the tunnel, no one talked to me about depression, alcoholism or self harm, so I had no idea what was happening in my life. I thought I was the biggest freak in the world, that if anyone found out, that my life would be over, I'd be thrown into a loony bin or disowned.

So when I read that Gerard Way, lead singer of My Chemical Romance, had been an alcoholic and was sober, it hit me like a tonne of bricks. As stupid as it sounds at 14 I didn't know you could stop being an alcoholic, I didn't know you could get better or that there was any hope for my family. All I knew about alcoholics was my dad telling me my mum had "a disease" and from tv where alcoholics were always old men in pubs or dead. I presumed the end to this story was years of pain and eventual death.
My Chemical Romance gave me hope that my life wouldn't always be full of pain and shame, that my mother could get better one day, that I could be better one day. Everyone seems to label them as a stupid, emo band that cutters like, but I always took them as a positive force, they wanted their fans to be happy, safe and to respect themselves. They also added to my love of music and through them I discovered a million new bands and whole new genres I'd never listened to before. Music was a huge deal to my teenage self, it was an escape, it quieted my mind and reminded me to breathe. Listening to music was extremely cathartic to me and one of my only healthy coping methods.

I just hope other kids who are still in the position I was in have someone or something to latch onto, a band or tv show that tells them that they're worthy of survival and love. I cannot help, but think of those fans who only just got into MCR and how hurt they will be, at least I had years with them.

Honestly, I haven't been able to bring myself to listen to a My Chemical Romance song since hearing the news. I'm too afraid that I won't be able to stem to tide of feelings that it releases in me. I've been working with a psychologist in recent weeks and she noticed that I have a hard time accessing my emotions, I often lock away my feelings before I get a chance to feel anything to deeply. Its something I want to work against, but its going to be hard, maybe I should start my journey with a resounding rendition of "I'm Not Okay".

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