I Spent All This Time Going to Shows and All I Got Was Some Life Lessons (This Piece is a Thank You Note Long Overdue)
The power of music doesn’t lie within its catchy beats and danceability, but rather within its ability to move its listeners in a deeper sense. For my generation, we experienced a little wave of pop punk that specialized in tongue-in-cheek lyrics and heavy guitar and drum combinations. And I think for many of us, it was those songs that got us through some really bad shit, either because we could relate to what the musicians were singing or because being in a pit and working out that aggression, anxiety or sadness was therapeutic.
For me, there’s been one band that has gotten me through the worst situations life has thrown me—-abuse, starting college, and heartbreak. That same band has been around for some of the most joyous moments—-I remember going to see them at Blossom one summer and being stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the freeway so we got out and blew bubbles. The band is Fall Out Boy and here’s ten things they’ve taught me:
“My words are my faith.”
At the end of the day, all you have is your words; the things you believe in and for which you stand. Be good on your words. Don’t go back on promises you make and don’t make promises you can’t keep. Believe in what you say and live by your words.
“You are what you love, not who loves you.”
This means so many different things. It makes me think about family, which perhaps doesn’t always understand the choices made by an individual. It makes me think about relationships that fail. When you’re dealing with that, it’s comforting to know that who you are isn’t dependent on another person’s perspective of you. You are comprised of all the things you love—-be those things avocados and writing and going to shows or accounting and cashews and history. It doesn’t matter. Love what you love. Embrace those things that make you you.
“I don’t just want to be a footnote in someone else’s happiness.”
There was a point this year where I was willing to give up my path, my plans, and my self to fit into someone else’s plan—-and I’m sure I’m not the first person to be willing to settle for happiness. Happiness isn’t something that you should have to settle for. Really, you should be living the life that brings you joy so that your happiness is not dependent on another person. That’s a lot of pressure to put on them and you’re just setting yourself up to fail that way. So, do what you love. Be unapologetic about your passions. If you find someone along your path that you can share happiness with, cool. If not, you’ve got enough happiness on your own to embrace that independence.
“There’s a world outside of my front door that gets off on being down.”
How often do we find ourselves focusing on the negative? How often is the news focused around the bad and we forget to celebrate the good things that happen every day? Can you imagine the way the world we lived in would look and feel if we shifted perspective? Be an agent for positivity and light. One by one, we can change the world that way.
“You can only blame your problems on the world for so long.”
Yeah, there’s some bad out there in the world. Yeah, sometimes it seems like you’re getting an extra huge heaping of it. You might be, but all your problems cannot be scapegoated off to someone or something else. Take ownership for your actions and make the best of your situation. Take time out to realize that there are others who are experiencing worse situations than you. Be more compassionate.
“Some secrets weren’t meant to be told.”
I first heard this in high school. What a fitting line, right? Trustworthiness seems to get trumped daily by the spread of gossip. I mean, hell, look at all these tabloids with celebrity gossip. Really, does any of that matter? Do we need to know every minute detail of a person’s life? No. Respect each other enough to be trustworthy. Be the friend your friends can confide in.
“Sing, until your lungs give out.”
When it gets bad, keep going. When life throws you challenges, tackle them. Do not give up. Fight for what you believe in. Fight for yourself. Believe in yourself.
“Sometimes before it gets better, the darkness gets bigger, the person that you’d take a bullet for is behind the trigger.”
As a person who has battled anxiety and depression for years, these lyrics really ring true. The first time I heard this song, I cried. My boyfriend had just broken up with me and this album became the only thing that could keep me moving. I guess the point is, sometimes people fail us. Probably because sometimes, we expect things from people that are unrealistic. But more importantly, it will get better. The darkness will diminish and my God, you will appreciate the light so much more if you’ve seen a little dark.
“Tonight, the foxes hunt the hounds.”
This appeals to anyone who feels like the odds are stacked against them. It serves as a reminder that we can turn things around and take control of the situation. The underdog in all of us can find a little comfort knowing we don’t have to just sit back and accept fate. Change it. Challenge it. Blaze your own trail.
“And sugar, we’re going down swingin’.”
More than anything, I think the people of my generation are a bunch of fighters. We’re not going to let the world stop us from changing it for the best. We’re not going to lie down and accept what’s handed to us. We will fight for what we believe in—-and we’ll succeed.
After a three year hiatus, the day has come that no Fall Out Boy fan expected: a reunion and a new album. What does this mean for the scene? Who knows. Will they save rock and roll? I don’t think that was their intent. I think they wanted to make an album on their terms and timeframe, to keep being authentic to themselves. That’s speculation, but what I know for sure is this: this reunion and album brings a little hope for all of us who held these records close to our hearts. And so, as I type this, I find myself in a backseat on my way back from Pittsburgh where I saw them for the second time this week.
Fall Out Boy will be back in Cleveland on September 11th. Grab your tickets and meet me in the pit.