September 8, 2008

ANONYMOUS SIDE OF THE STORY

Ever since I was a little girl, I have always loved rock music. My dad tells me that he used to hold a toilet paper roll to my mom s belly when she was pregnant with me and recite the names of the Beatles and which instruments each one played.

While most kids grow up on nursery rhymes, I grew up on Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and The Rolling Stones. Music has always been like family for me, the only constant in my often turbulent life. I feel so lucky to say that My Chemical Romance has been permanently added to playlist.

I've never been the kind of person who easily fits in. Ever since the first day of kindergarten, I was teased, whether it was for biting my nails or not believing in god. By the time I started middle school, I had been abused physically, mentally and even sexually by classmates and teachers alike.

During those periods, I would always pop in whatever was my favorite CD at the time and have a small moment of healing before I would have to face the ordeals again. I was always able to carry on and live a decent life but things slowly got worse. All those years of teasing began to take a toll on me. A few years ago, I was officially diagnosed with depression. I began cutting a year later and attempted suicide for the first time that summer. If there was any time for music, this was it!

The first time I ever heard My Chemical Romance was online. Yahoo was doing a promotion for MCR saying, "This band is going to change your life! Check them out now before anyone else". So I watched the "Helena" video. At first, I really didn't know what to make of the band's cake eyeliner and flamboyant style. By the end, I realized that there was definitely an appeal to it and watched again.

The first thing that I realized the second time was the quality of the musicianship and songwriting (that's me and my nerdy rock brain.) I soon bought Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge online and was very impressed. They had a great ear for melody with an epic hardcore mindset to match. The best qualities of mall punk, hardcore, pop, classic rock, Goth, and glam all in one little NJ post-punk group. Who wouldn't fall in love at first listen?

My Dad says that for many music fans, there will come a time when they feel like they have lost all hope and then as if by magic, a song or band will emerge out of nowhere. They will grow up as you do and become almost like your friends. I am very tempted to say that for me, My Chemical Romance was one of those bands.

Even as I used their music as an escape, I didn't t realize their value until years later. While on vacation, I began getting unbearable stomach aches. I soon was unable to eat without vomiting nonstop. I was sent to the hospital and was told I had a blockage in my stomach needed surgery to take it out. I stayed in the hospital for nearly a month because of numerous complications following the surgery. Though my ipod was not well stocked at the time, I was lucky enough to have most of "Revenge" on it.

As I lay in my hospital bed, IV's stuck into my arms and tubes stuck into my nose and mouth, those songs took on a new meaning for me. They weren't just well crafted power pop songs.

They were raw displays of universal pain, the voices of a generation growing up in a f**k up world, they were real feelings from real people still trying to find their place in the world and in the world of music, best of all and offered a flamboyant light at the end of the tunnel without being the prissy optimists so many bands became when they offered that angle. They were just like me.

Later, as I began to recover, I got the newest issue of "Rolling Stone" as a gift. I remember having my dad read it to me while I ate by myself for the first time since the surgery. I distinctly remember him reading the article that was the first press release about "The Black Parade".

It definitely put a bit of a brighter spin on being in the hospital. At least I would have something to look forward to. It was like my dad said; this band was growing up as I did, as so many others did. They were chronicling our lives.

I would like to say that my problems ended there but that would be too happy an ending. I am still very much depressed but am learning new ways of coping with it. The Black Parade actually came out the day after I was released from a psychiatric unit. I have met numerous new friends, many of which can say that they owe their life to My Chemical Romance. I am home-schooled now and little by little, I am rebuilding my life.

No, I don't believe that MCR saved my life. However, their music has always been a comfort when I've needed it the most. I have come to realize that there are so many people who feel the way I do about the band, not that they're the flavor of the week, but a bonafide rock band that deserves respect.

I can't say I'm as obsessed as some others but I can't help but be ecstatic that there are still great new rock bands changing the lives of those who need it, even if they wear eyeliner.