I’m thinking about Take This To Your Grave. It’s been 10 years (and a day) since it was released. It’s been about 9 years since I first heard it. It boggles my mind how I could still cite it as the most relevant album I’ve had the opportunity to experience and the one that inspires the most emotion within me.
Yesterday I read an essay I wrote about TTTY during my freshman year of college. The three page assignment argues the point that TTTY would be the single album I would want to be stranded on a desert island with. The caliber of my writing is pretty base, I just make a series of simple statements about how the album means so much to me and how it could never get old. But reading this essay almost makes me tear up because every sentence I read still rings true to me.
The Middle School Days: I first got hooked on TTTY when I realized it unearthed all of these feelings of frustration inside of me. My parents got divorced when I was in fourth grade, and from that point on I was probably the most timid girl you could imagine encountering. I was shy and introverted; I just wanted all of my peers to think I was nice. But on the inside I was hiding this fiery volcano of frustration because I strived so hard to be the reasonable and kind daughter in an explosive family environment. I hated drama because I had to work so desperately to be the mediator between my family members who could not rationally handle confrontation. I would LITERALLY do anything to avoid conflict. When I first put this album in my CD player in sixth grade, it was a resolution to all of my problems. I became extremely skilled at hushing down the volume of my raw emotions from a very young age; this album provided me a non-destructive channel through which to voice these emotions, and that was just what I needed.
The High School Days: As the years went on my frustrations toward my family ebbed, and I began to think about romance. I continued to listen to TTTY but it became less of an outlet for me. I remember analyzing each clever lyric, wishing to feel the heartache that these boys sang about. It sounds ridiculous, but the pain they described seemed so tragically beautiful and my love life seemed so mundane. I longed for excitement… doesn’t everyone?
The College Days: Fast forward a few more years (still fervently listening to TTTY all the while mind you). Now I fully comprehend that cliche “be careful what you wish for”, because I got exactly what I was wishing for… tenfold. The fulfillment of my twisted wish took its seed freshman year of college when I entered into an amazing relationship. The bond I had with this boy was really more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. We had our issues don’t get me wrong… but we had this chemistry that I don’t know if I’ll ever experience again. Our interests and values seemed to be so in sync that with every minute spent together left us hungry for the next. But somewhere down the line, things turned sour. He was my first real boyfriend, and that made me wonder if I was missing other opportunities because of it. He was slightly overbearing, and my need for independence made him nervous and controlling. After about two years we decided to take a mutual break just to get some breathing room. Cue the downfall of my mental health.
Over the course of the next year we oscillated between infatuation and disgust with one another. He started seeing other girls after he realized he wasn’t ready for the commitment that being with me would entail. He told me he wanted to marry me, but we really were still just kids and this clearly wasn’t in the cards yet. Although we tried remaining friends during this interim, I couldn’t seem to forgive him for putting my heart on the back shelf for safekeeping. I wanted to wait for him to be ready to commit, but meaningless girls would come in and out of his life literally before my eyes and it put me over the edge. At this point, I personally felt every figurative knife stab of pain that TTTY embodied. The emotional distance we put between us made me neurotic and I acted recklessly and did some things I knew would hurt him the way he had hurt me. We each pushed the knife in a little deeper, doing really hurtful things that we knew we would never be able to take back. But with every shitty thing each of us did, the love between us just wouldn’t die. We still talked. We still wanted to see each other. He got a girlfriend. He still told me he loved me (something he didn’t say to her). This continued on for awhile and my life became a maize of hurt and betrayal with no end in sight. TTTY became the soundtrack playing in the background as I searched for an exit.
Present Day: I’ve cut off contact from said boy and seem to be doing well. I am now in my junior year of college and appreciate TTTY in a way that I never expected to. I’m pretty sure I’m out of the woods in terms of my first real heartache (fingers crossed). I couldn’t be happier with my family situation. Even though it remains pretty fucked up, I’ve come to love all of my family members for both their strengths and weaknesses. I’m floating in a sea of relative content, setting my focus on building my future while still living life in the moment. I don’t have a reason to be frustrated… but I know the way life works and I know that there are hard times ahead (just as there are really good times ahead). And I also know that TTTY will be the album I choose to pad my fall in the hard times. I just wanted to say thank you to the 4 boys who will always have a piece of my heart.
Anonymous asked: You are a very pretty girl