For those unaware, today marks the end of twenty one pilot’s blurryface era. An era that begun on April 25th 2015 and concluded on the 25th of June 2017. This era is so important to me, firstly because, it introduced me to twenty one pilots. Yes, I’ll be honest, the first I had heard of them mid 2015 when a friend played me stressed out, but then I went home, googled them, dove into blurryface and discovered tear in my heart. That song opened me up to this band. It was so innovated, its lyrics were so kinaesthetic and poetic. Very rarely do I have a song on repeat for months on end, so I knew this would be special. The album stayed on repeat, accompanied by vessel, regional at best, self-titled and no phun intended. I was so infatuated by their sound. I was tapping to migraine on my counter whilst making tea, dancing to not today cleaning my house, falling asleep to forest, driving whilst listening to prove me wrong, writing my poetry and stories to kitchen sink and taxi cab.
On the night of my ers show, my grandma was diagnosed with brain cancer. As my friends were purchasing merch hours before doors open, my mum called me and told me the news. She expressed that my grandpa wanted to know as he felt it would have been unfair for me to have been told after the show. My grandma had been sick for several weeks before hand, and listening to my mum talk, it absolutely shattered me. It was the last news I’d ever expected to hear. I decided not to mention it to my friends, the news had not yet taken away much of my internal excitement, so I intended to keep it that, and wait until tomorrow, and then this happened.
Barricade at emotional roadshow surrounded by some of my closest friends. Being metres away from Tyler and Josh as they drummed and sang songs I’d been humming and dancing to for two years. Most of all being in the pit for trees. Tyler was right underneath me, I felt those drums, I was showered in confetti, and it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I hope the pictures below represent what an incredible night it was. I’d never been so filled with joy in a very long time.
After ers, I went under, and can I be honest? I still am. I have been since my grandma lost her ability to speak and move even though she knows exactly who I am. It’s so draining, and I know because I’ve done this before. No one should have to spend an hour getting out of bed this morning, or using the energy you once used to excel just to walk to and from where you need to be and to stay remotely focused in a class or at work. Doing that 12 hours a day, seven days a week. Most people have different experiences with depression, for me? I can’t feel emotion. It’s a misconception everyone overlooks, I cease to feel anything. When I laugh, sit still or even cry, I don’t feel any emotion.
I don’t think I can ever truly depict how terrifying it is to sit in on the foot of your bed crying and not actually feeling any emotion behind it at all. You feel so inhuman, it’s such a guilt struck state of mind, you’re blaming yourself for not adhering to your duty as a human for feeling emotion yet you feel no sympathy for yourself because there is no emotion there. You might be wondering where I’m going with this, and it’s that their music helped me dig for that emotion. It helped me fight for it, it sparked this urgent feeling that I needed to find this emotion no matter how much of me I had to deteriorate to get there.
Whenever I felt myself losing touch with emotion, I put on their music, because it helped me felt emotion when I laughed, when I cried, when I felt angry and upset. It sounds horrible, but it’s such a blessing, to actually feel emotion when you do these things, you are able to tell yourself you are human, breathing and experiencing emotion and life. This has not just been this year, but last year and the year before.
Whenever I lost a grip, or let anxiety suffocate me, or insomnia keep me at my desk tapping my pen on a blank page, I put on my headphones. I’m not saying I just listened to twenty one pilots when this happened, but their music was really what sparked within me.
Besides mental illness, their music has helped me channel all of this into my art: writing and photography. The amount of slam poems and stories I’ve written listening to their stuff, or having it quietly in my headphones snapping pictures of sunsets and skylines. My purpose is to create rather than assist, they are one of my biggest inspirations moving forward with this personal belief. The people I’ve met or formed closer relationships with through them. Whether it be people I met at ers, or the friends I’ve made elsewhere. Music brings people together, their music brings a group of creators together. Whatever people’s purposes may be, they inspire others to create, and it’s a beautiful thing.
This era has been such a whirlwind, and yes, I may not have been here since 2011, or at their first basement show, but none the less, I’m so proud of them. They’ve remained faithful to their supporters, connected to their roots as performers, and poured their heart and soul into creating an album that’s reached out to millions of people like myself. I’m so thankful for them, and humbled to say that they helped me reach for my own aspirations.
I bid all my thank yous and farewells to the blurryface era. I’m not going anywhere.