"MCR saved my life" has become almost like a slogan for the band's fans over the years. I've heard many people say it, seen it on t-shirts, websites, in magazines...everywhere.
Frank Iero has said "We're definitely a band that wants to save your life."
And they do. Despite what certain, ignorant tabloid newspapers may tell you, My Chemical Romance send out a very powerful message to the world - a message against suicide, against self-harm, against selling yourself out and pretending to be something you're not. They teach us to be brave, stand up for ourselves and, most of all, keep on living.
I join the legions of fans in saying MCR did, in fact, save my life...but not in the way you'd expect.
Usually, people who declare this are referring to the fact that they were suicidal and MCR gave them the strength to pull through. They felt so deeply depressed that they just didn't want to live anymore, but then something in this band's music or words made them think "I won't give up."
Perhaps they heard the anthemic chorus of Famous Last Words, which declares "I am not afraid to keep on living, I am not afraid to walk this world alone...", or maybe they read an interview in which Gerard Way talked about his past depression and suicidal tendencies, and how the band gave him the strength to carry on and eventually get better. Or maybe they went to an MCR show and heard him make a moving speech, telling anyone who was depressed to talk to somebody "because pissing away your life on suicide is f**k bullshit!"
But no. While I have experienced clinical depression in my life, I have not been deeply suicidal. So My Chemical Romance did not save my life in this sense. Instead, they saved my future life. I used to be afraid of taking risks, of doing what I really wanted to do. I was going to get a safe job, regardless of whether I enjoyed it or not, and live for the weekend my entire life - not satisfying myself and not helping anybody.
The tabloids think that music is responsible for kids being depressed? Maybe they should take a look at the prospect of adult life that schools constantly remind us we are doomed to for 50+ years. That life scares me more than anything.
But then MCR made me realise that I don't have to settle for this. They made me realise that I can do anything I want as long as I believe in myself, am determined and work really hard. I can get my message out to people, and have the impact on future people's lives that bands like MCR have had on me and many others. When my time comes, I don't have to leave this world unnoticed - I can leave my mark.
As far as my depression...well, I know how much worse it would be if I did not have this hope for the future. This hope that MCR have given me. Added to which, their music is always there for me: my safety net to fall back on that then springs me back into battle. When I'm sad, they understand. When I'm angry, they're angry too and they let me get my anger out in a more positive way. And when I'm happy, they're there laughing and having a good time with me, all through their music. They inspire me: they make me feel that I can get through whatever hurdles life throws at me if I just keep fighting. They teach me to "stand up f**k tall", that "the world will never take my heart" and, as is tattooed on Frank Iero, to "Live each day as if it were your last". They teach me to believe in myself.
This band have gone through so much to get to where they are now...and if they can do it, I believe that I can do it too.
And you know what? Now, I am not afraid to keep on living. I'm glad that I'm alive. MCR saved my life.