August 8, 2008

CHARLOTTE'S SIDE OF THE STORY

Just after I turned 12 I was raped for the first time. It turned my world upside down. It changed the way I saw people, particularly men and I just started sinking. It was around this time I started getting into music and poetry and over the next couple of years I discovered bands like Linkin Park who gave me something to grip onto when there was all this uncertainty around me. I was just descending. There were times I'd wake up disappointed I was still breathing. I wanted to die, more than anything. I couldn't cope with the thoughts in my head. I just wanted it to stop.

Then I found My Chemical Romance. At that point I was 13 and feeling the worst I'd ever felt. My self harm was on a steep decline, getting worse by the day, I was planning my suicide. Everything was just wrong. I just wanted to disappear more than anything. One of my friends lent me the album 'Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge' and I clicked with the record more than I'd clicked with any other. All the anger and the pain I felt seemed reflected in 13 tracks. Every single song, every single guitar riff, every single lyric, every aspect was a reflection of how hard things were for me. It made me feel less alone, less isolated. Every time I listened to the album I felt like there were thousands of people walking beside me feeling the same. A song in particular is: 'It's Not A Fashion Statement, It's A Deathwish'. The opening lyrics: 'For what you did to me. And what I'll do to you. You get what everyone else gets, you get a lifetime' and then 'I'm taking back the life you stole'. They really struck a chord with me from the word go. The whole song fits in so well with what I felt and still do feel sometimes. 'I'm Not Okay' was one of the songs that really reflected me. Just being able to scream the lyrics I could've wrote myself felt so good. It was an alternative outlet to self destruction and it felt better than that.

That's when I realised I couldn't let what happened to me defeat me. I couldn't let the scum who did what he did ruin my life, couldn't let him have dominion over me. The guys in My Chem restored my faith in people again. Showed me that there were people who genuinely cared and not everyone was as bad as I thought they were. They gave me something to believe in when I couldn't believe in myself.

I saw them live for the first time when I was 15. I was at a bit of a low when I saw them and once again they showed me I wasn't alone but this time in the flesh. It was something I could almost touch. I didn't feel like a spare part, I felt like I belonged there. I belonged screaming along to every lyric and meaning every syllable. It showed me that there was more to this life than pain and hurting. I made a vow to myself then that I would start re-building my life.

They've continued to do this since. Every time I've hit a rough patch they have lent me their strength through the music and helped me move through it. Through sexual abuse, through my mum's alcoholism, through the self harm. Every time I wished I'd stop breathing I listened to their songs and it's spurred me on.

Nearly 4 years later I'm pretty much self harm free. I don't have my finger on the self destruction button anymore and it feels ten times better. I don't know where I would have been if I never started to listen to them. I know I wouldn't be half the person I am now. I know I'm a better person for the things I've encountered and I'm glad I'm still breathing. Finding courage can be hard, but there are extraordinary people out there. I know that MCR lent me strength to find my own strength. A strength that we all posses just don't realise until someone out there highlights it for us. I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart because without them I don't know what I would have done.

-Airlyeth, Wolverhampton