the internet refuses to tell me who actually made all this beautiful art

this is gonna be long

the true story of how i grew to love twenty one pilots.

I don’t remember the exact time I started to be exposed to twenty one pilots, but I know it is somewhere within these two weeks. I’ve been so caught up with everything happening in the clique, I almost forgot to address my one year anniversary of first listening to the music.

It’s funny now that I look back on it: I started listening to the band about a year ago, and the Blurryface has just ended. Exactly one year of Blurryface. And yet, it feels like I have always known this band.

If someone told me that the song on the gym radio at school would someday mean so, so much to me, I wouldn’t believe them. Stressed Out played almost every day on the speakers over the school, and I HATED it. Hated it. I hated the way Tyler’s voice sounded, how the lyrics flowed. I didn’t like the whole spooky vibe. I’d groan every time it came on the radio, and I could never understand why other people sang along.

Until one day, I listened to the lyrics. I still remember exactly what the day was like. I had spent the morning crying in the school bathroom because I just couldn’t do it anymore. The pressure of going to highschool was too much. My social anxiety had reached an all time high, and everything seemed to be falling apart in my hands. I wanted to go back. I wanted to go back. I wish I could turn back time…

After hearing that lyric in the song, I suddenly developed a love for the lyrics. I didn’t tell anyone, but I enjoyed it coming over the radio after that. I loved the song, but I didn’t listen to much more twenty one pilots. I mean, there were a few more instances that the songs I heard on the radio affected me: once when I was in the car, Ride came on the radio, and “i know it’s hard sometimes” moved me.

But I fell out of interest.

Until a cyber bully brought me back to the band. Weird, I know. But someone who used to bully me suddenly became a HUGE fan of twenty one pilots. I didn’t understand the hype. But then one day, I went on their page to report them, and I saw a picture of Josh. He had purple hair, and was smiling with those cute lil squinty eyes. I remember thinking that he didn’t look human, but instead like some fictional character. After that, I looked up some interviews. I learned more about the boys.

I started posting about them.

And the cyber bully struck harder than before. They started bullying me about how I was such a fake fan, and don’t deserve the band. They disproved all my theories, made fun of me whenever I didn’t know a fact about the band, and made up lies about me. But I had gotten a taste of the music. I refused to stop listening. First I listened to Ride, then Stressed Out, then Migraine. The last one hit me hard.

I began to like the band. I blocked the person, and I started to move on. I liked twenty one pilots, but it wasn’t until August that I truly understood how important the band was. 

August 12th, I left on a roadtrip. The night before I had asked my dad if he could buy me a TOP album. He agreed to buy me one album. I chose Vessel.

I will never be able to express how grateful I am that I picked that album. 

There was a 12 hour car ride ahead of me. I listened to that dang album over, and over, and over, and over again. I didn’t understand a lot of the lyrics, and I didn’t appreciate the true beauty of the instruments, but I did know that the music never grew old. And that had never happened before. Something happened to me on that carride, but suddenly the music, although still strange to me, brought out the beauty around me.

For the next week, I lived in a cabin in the mountains. Just me, my family, the lake, and the air. This album was my only access to music or online activity: everything else was gone with the cell service. Once again, I would not stop listening to Vessel. Every morning, every night, walking to the lake, walking from the lake. I watched the stars when Holding On To You played. Truce was the song I fell asleep to. The trees outside my window were just like the ones in the song.

And I began to understand the lyrics. Up until this point, I had been a girl of hurt and pain. I have a broken past that I don’t want to get into now, but just know this: I always felt very alone.  

But you know… these lyrics made it more bearable. And suddenly…. SUDDENLY! EVERYTHING MADE SENSE! Tyler understood! And all the hurt and pain and lonliness I had ever felt came rushing back, but in a good way. In a way that I recognized the hurt for what it was, and I recognized that I was not alone.

And so, I like to say I discovered twenty one pilots within a forest, beside a lake, beneath the stars. Beautiful and free, just like the music made me. 

On the ride home, I got internet connection and watched every Blurryface highlight video. Then I listened to Vessel again, and again. 

I kept listening to the music. I had NEVER heard someone speak so confidently of the things Tyler did. My whole life I had struggled with the concept of being alone in a world that runs off romance and adrenaline. I was anxious, and I was scared, and I genuinely believed I was the only person that found meaning in the smallest of things. 

But then came this band that said “yes! there is music and words and poetry in everything! there is beauty and meaning and love in family, and home, and the amazing circumstances of overcoming trials.” 

and most importantly, “yes, you are not alone.”

And so the music made me write again. And I wrote. And I wrote. And I wrote. I had stopped writing before the music, because I lived in a world that told me my poems were good, and then moved on. I was surrounded by people that didn’t want to stop and appreciate art.

But because of the music, for the first time in years, i really started to create. I still have the first sketches and poems I made for the band. They have rough lines and bad grammar, but they were made to convey meaning, and so they are beautiful. 

Twenty One Pilots taught me that if my art means something to me, then it is true art. I do not need the approval of other people.

I will never be able to explain how much inspiration Twenty One Pilots has brought me. Because of them, I re-entered the world of art: the only world that I ever felt at home. Because of them, I began to see the world in color again. Because of them, I sang and wrote and drew. Because of them, I found people like me. People that knew how much more there is to life, other than romance and drugs and alcohol. People that hurt just like me. 

People just like me. People with anxiety and depression and OCD. People who hurt and struggle just like me.

I still cannot believe that Tyler and Josh ACTUALLY exist. Up until I listened to twenty one pilots, I thought I was “the only one I know, waging my wars behind my face and above my throne” but because of twenty one pilots, I know this isn’t true. not just because of them, but because of the other bands and artists and people the band has drawn me to.

I honestly don’t know where I’d be in my creative journey without this band. Yes, there has been bad parts of loving the band with such a passion, but I will NEVER be able to explain how much they mean to me. 

Meaning in the music,
Passion in the lyrics,
Hope in the people who made it.
The dark: I no longer fear it.