Finding myself quite frazzled this weekend, I ended up deciding to listen to one of my old favorite bands from high school. Back then, I was a much different person as I’m sure we all were. Still my memories of that band made me think it would be just what I needed as I drove to my yoga class on Saturday morning. And it was, but not in the way I was expecting.
The band I’m referring to here is Senses Fail. They fall under the genres rock and alternative, but somehow that definition falls short. This band is very heavy emotionally. There are a lot of references to self harm, alcohol abuse, depression, etc. Looking back it’s quite alarming to me that as a 14-year-old, this was one of my favorite bands.
On that emotionally tumultuous morning this fast passed, angry, hopeless music was exactly what I needed to help me expel my excess emotional energy. It definitely put me in a better mood to scream along with the lyrics and just feel sorry for myself for a while. But what ended up cheering me up even more than that was bursting out into laughter at hearing the chorus of what used to be one of my favorite songs. “I wanna drown in a sea filled with Novocain, I wanna burn on a beach that is littered with razor blades.”
It makes me smile even now. How utterly melodramatic. It is hilarious to me that at such a young age I was identifying with such harsh lyrics, that I was singing along in earnest, even tearing up at times to these and other similar lyrics. Now I can’t even keep a straight face while listening to the same songs. And there was something so beautiful in that realization.
I considered how concerned I and other adults might be upon learning one of our young clients is listening to this type of music. But maybe there is no cause for alarm. After all, this was my favorite band for years, yet somehow I grew up to be a social worker and a yoga instructor, a positive, bubbly, happy person. I’m amazed by my own pivot. But maybe it’s not that uncommon.
After all, the lead singer of Senses Fail, Buddy Neilson, now sings about things getting better, about finding yourself, and about letting go. His newer albums, though instrumentally similar, are much more positive and hopeful. It touches my heart that he was also able to pull himself out of that darkness, just as I was.
Observing this surprising turn around in my own life, makes me less concerned for the kids who remind me of who I used to be. I’m sure there are lots of parents right now that fear for their children because of who they are as a teenager. Before this weekend, I would have probably agreed that those fears were justified. However, now I’m not so sure. I would be much more hesitant to assume anything about how a teenager is going to turn out based on where they currently act. Being a teenager is hard. Everything feels so huge and important and severe. Let them handle that on their own terms. As long as they are not hurting others or themselves, let them bitch and moan and be dramatic. I was completely over the top, and I ended up turning out just fine, so who’s to say.