Why I’ll Always Be An Emo Kid And Damn Proud Of It

*Trigger warning: this article contains sensitive subject matter regarding depression and suicide.*

We all have problems, some worse than others. And I hope that we all have discovered ways to cope. Ranging from therapy to oral medications, physical activity to light therapy, there are plenty of lesser known methods in between for dealing with life’s daily struggles and with one’s overall state of being. A method I have always been fond of is listening to music. Especially music by the same bands I’ve been listening to since I was 11 because it comforts me, and especially music that everyone born after 1985 calls ‘emo’.

Tweenhood is a rough time; let’s be real about that. Being in middle school is awful even for popular kids. And while I was never the homecoming queen nor was I eating lunch alone, it was still a very low point in my life. I recently read an article in Alternative Press expressing these same opinions. That person’s life as a pre-teen was not as easy as mine; they were a victim of bullying, had a death in the family, and homelessness are a lot worse than I had it but the sentiment behind why this type of ‘emo’ music meant so much to the writer was exactly like my own.

Sharpied black nails and ripped up black jeans seemed like a gimmick to my peers, but it felt representative of who I was. It made me feel as close to comfortable in my skin as I could get… music helped me work through all of the feelings inside of me that I sometimes had trouble vocalizing and coming to terms with.”

I still wear the studded belt that I got around the same time this music came into my life; my ears are gauged like all the lead singers I admired then, and I have had to replace my black nail polish countless times to this day. I have seen Fall Out Boy and Panic! At The Disco and Taking Back Sunday each more times than I can count on my hand. I have driven through blizzards for The Used, stood in line for 5 hours for Green Day tickets, lost my voice screaming to Brand New, gotten bruises from mosh pits during My Chemical Romance, sobbed in the middle of the floor while Jimmy Eat World played on stage.

I am proud to be labeled an emo kid. Even if people don’t even really know what it means, they think I haven’t grown up since adolescence, and they assume I’m in the bathroom crying all day. I will take being an emo kid over any other label because being an emo kid means exactly what that writer above said. It means I had some dark days but I got through it.

I took my pain and I worked it out with the help of artists who will never know me but who saved me.

I held scissors to my wrist once. I was 14, it was spring. I couldn’t stop crying and someone I knew had died. The music was up so loud and no one at school understood. But a song came on and that person behind the speakers understood – that person got it so good they made it sound beautiful. That’s when it hit me. They had been here but came out on the other side. I never tried anything so stupid again. There may have been dark times, and there will be more ahead, but there is nothing wrong with being an emo kid no matter how old you are.

Feature Image via BlackMilk Clothing.

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