michael poem

I dare you to burn holes into me; I will bleed love and kindness from all of them, and you will drown in the things you tried to end in me.
—  Believe it, Eliot Knight

whatever you do, don’t look through old twenty one pilots social media albums.

don’t scroll through the 2011s, to the 2010s, all the way to the 2009s.

don’t look at Mark’s late-night sketches of equipment and cameras he longs to own. don’t look at his excited facebook posts about the “incredible amount” of about 15 people that bought his reel bear posters. don’t find his first still photographs of Tyler and Josh, when the three of them were just broke college kids.

don’t scroll down Brad’s twitter until you find days that he desperately tried to get work as a photographer. don’t scroll until you see his desperate inspirational posts. don’t scroll so far that you see the cameras he used to dream of.

don’t look at Michael’s posts from when he traveled the world with his best friends. don’t find videos of him and Tyler joking about how he’s “not a real security guard”. don’t find his grainy photos of the team traveling in a little white van. don’t scroll on Michael’s instagram until you see his long, heart-felt goodbye posts to the clique, and to Tyler and Josh.

and for the love of everything, don’t find the whole facebook albums that tired, beaten down Tyler filled with pictures of the few people that came to his shows. don’t see his old pictures filled with captions like, “thanks for showing up.” don’t find pictures that young Mark took of Tyler’s eyes open in passion, hoping the bartenders would turn and catch a glimpse of his show. don’t find where Tyler used to post reminders to be at the shows, because he never knew if someone would show up. don’t read the old posts about how he had to say goodbye to Nick and Chris.

don’t find Josh’s first pictures where he wrote poems in the captions, and used sad words in his posts. don’t look at his excitement when he got to be a part of twenty one pilots. resist the urge to find pictures of his brown-haired self sleeping in the back of a crammed van.

don’t do any of this. unless, of course, you want to end up like me: silent and at loss for words in front of a computer screen, tears in my eyes. don’t do this if you don’t want to feel a deep pride in your heart for how far this band has come. don’t find the old posts if you desperately miss the old crew. don’t read the comments on old posts unless you want to desperately write over and over again to Brad and Tyler and Josh and Mark that, “keep going, keep working. it gets better. you get the equipment, you get the second chances, you get the big shows, you get the recognition. keep working past crew members and band. keep working for what you believe in, it will come to you.” don’t read the old captions if you don’t want a feeling of helplessness as you wish you could go back in time and tell them that it will all work out.

There’s a demon inside all of us that tells us that we will fail. Our job is to tell it to fuck off.

Dear Woman:
Sometimes
You’ll just be too much woman.
Too smart, too beautiful, too strong.
Too much of something that makes a man feel like less of a man,
Which will start making you feel like you have to be less of a woman.

The biggest mistake you can make is removing jewels from your crown to make it easier for a man to carry.
When this happens, I need you to understand,
You do not need a smaller crown–
You need a man with bigger hands.

—  Michael E. Reid, “Dear Woman”