June 6, 2007

SARAH'S SIDE OF THE STORY

I think it was.... January 19th. Yeah, that's it. January 19th 2005 and I was up at 7am, waiting for my body to wake up so I could get myself ready for another day of shitty school. I always hated school - I was top of my class but constantly bullied. When I was a baby I contracted a pretty deadly eye disease that I had to have operations for, but in preparation I was given anabolic steriods and I piled on the weight. I was the fat kid. Gerard once said the fat kid is the biggest outcast at school. When I read that in NME I almost cried in the shop I was in because I know how true it is. I guess that's why I love him - he knows just what it feels like.

Anyway, for years now I've been mocked, tormented, bullied; I had stones thrown at me, I was called names. Anything and everything. But I was okay for a while. I had a few friends and I was surviving. I just had to prove the bullies wrong.

Then, on January 19th 2005 I was sat watching music TV and my brother was half asleep next to me on the sofa. And I flicked channels onto MTV2 and saw this glimpse of some crazy guy screaming along to rock music. Now, I was never rock fan as a kid but there was something about that glimpse that made me stop flicking and watch. He had my undivided attention and it even woke my brother up. It was the first time I'd seen the video for I'm Not Okay and it had me enthralled. It was the first time I'd heard them and I was just instantly in love. I still don't know what made me continue watching it, but I'm so glad I did. I can safely say that moment changed my life forever.

That day I went to school and told everyone I knew about this video I'd seen and I said that if I could find the band's album I would buy it, after only hearing one song. The next day I went and tried to, but couldn't because of the stupid Parental Advisory sticker. My friends called me crazy for wanting it so badly - 'It could be awful! You've only heard one song!' - but I wouldn't give up. I managed to download it and then listened to Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge all the way through, lying in bed at midnight.
And to put it lightly, it scared the shit out of me. But I loved it. And I played it over and over and over and never got sick of it.

MCR made me a new person - that one CD gave me confidence to face people. It made me feel special and privileged. It gave me a new life. It helped me through anything.

Then, a few months later, my friend blamed her self-harming habits on me. She slyly blamed me for stuff I had never done, but I was so scared that I believed all her trickery and deceit. She made me out to be an awful person and messed with my head, right up until the point that I was going to kill myself. Then, another friend texted me telling me to calm down, and to put Helena on. That song got me through the next hour or two I spent crying and wishing I was dead, because my supposed 'best friend' had managed to make me feel so shitty about myself that I felt like I was too awful to deserve life. I don't even understand why I believed her - I guess I was just scared for her sake and got so paranoid that she had me around her little finger.

But, it was MCR and that one friend who stopped me from going to get whatever tablets I could find. I got over it, I didn't tell anyone and I denied it even to myself. I was just ashamed that I could've been so easily manipulated into a place that I didn't want to come back from. It felt like I was willing to give up so easily and I hated knowing that.

Then, at Leeds Festival 2006 I found out that MCR were at the signing tent and I cried - those tears that you can't stop no matter how idiotic you know you're being - because I knew I wouldn't meet them, until a security guard got worried for me and told me to get in the queue with my friend. It sounds pathetic I know, but I just didn't know what else to do. Those guys had been my life for a year and a half and they wee mere metres away yet I wouldn't even speak to them. It just broke my heart.

Then, we got let in. We were the last ones let into the signing and Gerard just smiled at me. His eyes look straight in mine and I've never felt so whole in my life. Ever since then I don't feel ashamed of my past anymore. That day I thanked him and all of the band, for everything they've done for me, and his reply was so strong. The tone of voice let me know that no matter what, they'd always be there for me and the rest of the world. I was standing hugging him saying over and over again 'Thank you. Thank you for evrything. Just thank you.' And he said simply, "No. Thank you."

My Chemical Romance did save me. But we saved them too. This suicide stuff is bullshit and I hope, one day, that the entire world realises that. They wouldn't ever encourage anything but self-respect and safety. They want us to be happy and understood, since most of the world let's us carry on walking right up to the brink. People don't care though do they? People don't realise that MCR KNOWS HOW IT FEELS and they want to HELP because of that. It's funny how quickly most people forget about their lives as teenagers. MCR want us to be okay and they make sure we are. They keep so many people alive and I shook with pure anger the day I found out that they were being blamed for self-harm.

On January 19th 2007, I found out my brother had been self-harming, because of something so much more serious than 'oh, a BAND told me to', which is what most people would say if they knew. But I hugged him so tightly and told him it would be okay. I didn't know why he did it, but all I did was put on Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge and it all got better. That was two years after I first heard my first MCR song and it saved me all over again.

Tomorrow night I'm taking my brother to see MCR live, for his first time. I saw them two days ago. We're going to be singing along to Famous Last Words so loudly because we're not afraid to keeo on living.
Ohhhhh, how I love cliches.
This was a stupid blabbering story, about paranoia and teenager angst and anger and everything, but really, honestly, My Chemical Romance did save my life and they're there to save others. Just don't condemn them. Ever. Or I will be prepared to fight you back, not for myself, but for the five men that fought so hard to save me.

- Sarah, 16, Newcastle, UK