MAJOR TRIGGER WARNING. Also extremely long. This is essentially everything the band has helped me through and what the break up seems to tell me with a weird mix in of my life over the past several years so I’m going to put it under a break so you only have to read it if you want to. Which, if you do, I’m going to make a lot more sense to you as a person. It starts slow, sorry.
Several years ago(more or less), I began attending a new school. Not by choice or by force, really, I just seemed to appear there. At least, that’s how it felt to me; I’ve asked my parents about the matter and they told me it was because my school of zone was more focused towards discipline rather than academics. Clearly, you’ll discover that where I did end up had a lack in the discipline area.
I started on my first day with no idea what to expect. The place was across town and everyone already knew each other. I was a fish out of water, completely estranged. I remember the classroom smelled like bleach, though, bleach and Febreze, and I was breathing deeply to get more of it. My homeroom was math. I glanced around the room at the kids. A good variety, but someone seemed to stick out to me. She was special. Different. Not in the same place as me, not at all, because everyone around her seemed to know her. She was chatting with two boys, the three of them destined to be my ticket to the world. But in the most negative, terrible way possible.
She caught my eyes from across the room. Her long hair was dyed black and she had brown eyes surrounded by gaudily thick eyeliner. I knew she was one of the bad girls, one of the people my parents had always warned me about. But I convinced myself I was in love with her the second a menacing smirk crossed her face as she looked me over. I was an innocent hopeless heart and she was looking for a victim. I was her perfect catch.
I sat with her friends at lunch that day and we got to talking enough. In the space of an hour I’d learned twenty new words and over a hundred new terms and acts in all the fields: things about alcohol, sex, drugs, every bit of street smarts a teenager could know in their time. I’ve realized now that when about a month later I agreed to be her girlfriend, it was the new knowledge that I craved, not the danger with it.
In a few weeks she’d poisoned me completely. She didn’t love me, I knew that much right off the bat. I’d gone from an over-achiever, happy-go-lucky girl to everyone’s favorite chew toy. It wasn’t bullying. It was abuse. I’d be dragged off between classes behind the school and fucked by her, one of her friends, something like that. I rarely even knew who it was, things would happen so fast. The core group of bastards would take me with them at lunch in their beat up van with cumstains on the to some location I still don’t know the name of(but I can tell you exactly where to find it) to smoke weed, drink, do drugs, everything they could get their hands on from cocaine to angeldust. I was barely lucky enough that the boys had the decency to wear condoms. The girl- for our purposes, we’ll refer to her as Whatsername, although that isn’t in the slightest some kind of romantic Green Day-referencing nickname- made me feel like I was completely worthless in a world of hate and ugliness. One day she said some lie about bribing my parents to enroll me in the school I was in just so she could abuse me, said that they didn’t love me, were just selling me off this entire time. I cut for the first time that night. All I wanted to see was blood, and that was the easiest way to get it.
Everything was at an all time low after that. I was addicted to the pain, the abuse, the drugs, alcohol, everything they threw at me. I wanted to be tossed around. The torture they put me through was the only thing that reminded me I was alive, and the alcohol and drugs were always there when I didn’t want to be. My grades had nosedived. My parents were always worried, and still are because the things that happened are completely undoable. I was in junior high and already went through more than most people that have graduated college have been, all because of forcing myself to fall in love with Whatsername like she was the air I needed to breathe. I was addicted and on the verge of suicide because of how terrible I felt about myself.
One of the guys in our “group” was a heavy metal singer(or just could scream from the amount of cigarettes he smoked, which everyone denied but knew it was true), and his main rhythm guitarist had just moved to New York. Somehow word had gotten to him that I played, and I was forced into his crappy garage band before I could try to protest. The only reason they were into it was because some run-down venue about three blocks from the school was run by the well known(to them) neighborhood dealer, and if they played every Saturday night the guy would pay them in pot. They were a strict cover band, too, and one night the singer guy handed me a sheet of notebook paper that smelled like cheap beer that was also stained with the substance on one edge. There was a song title scribbled across the top in black ink and some chords underneath. “We’re playing this Saturday, bitch, get it together or you’ll be the one paying for your screw ups.”
I read the title. It was a three chord song, seemed easy enough. “Teenagers,” it said, scrawled shakily in his drugged-up handwriting. I went home to listen to it. I was sure that with just the first line of the song, I was in love.
My Chemical Romance was the artist. I loved that name. I loved the sound, I loved the drum beat, the exact rhythm of everything, the guitar solo, the perfect lyrics expressing everything they needed to in the fewest words, the raw voice of the vocalist whose name I didn’t even know yet. I looked them up, listened to everything I could. I memorized their discography in a night, learned every band member past and present’s name, learned about their past, their message, everything they’d said as a whole. Their mere essence screamed pain, revenge, darkness, everything I’d even been through, but through all of it only one thing held true from Bullets to the Killjoys-
And that was the only thing on my mind. I’d only known of the band’s existence for a few hours and already, I was in love with them. All of them. Each member, each song, each album, each lyric, chord, note. And for the first time in two years, I felt like I wasn’t just everyone’s ball to kick, everyone’s slab of clay to mold into whatever they wanted it to be. I felt like I wasn’t alone and that there was someone out there that cared, even if they didn’t know I existed. It was like I was in a deep, dark hole, hurtling deeper, and suddenly from below something comes surging up to the surface, taking me with them. I didn’t want to inject heroin into my veins anymore. I wanted to liquefy their existence and replace my blood with it.
As much as I couldn’t get them off of my mind, these four men that were my saviors, I forced them down to something of a guilty pleasure while I was around my tormentors at school. We played Teenagers that Saturday and it was the best gig I’d ever played, still my best to date, even if the audience was three other dudes and less than a dozen people on bar stools and folding chairs in a venue that probably was supposed to be shut down a few years back. The band didn’t feel anything, didn’t care about the song, but I stayed on the corner of the little platform of a stage and felt like I was burning up, like there was nobody but me, my beloved Strat and this song, the band that wrote it. I felt like they could hear me somehow, and I put more effort into it than I’d ever tried at anything before. Everything was so, so beautiful, and I didn’t even care that the razorblade-sliced cuts on my arms were bleeding from how hard I was working them. This was what I wanted to do, what I was meant to do.
That Monday, the guys in our crappy little band were congratulating me in their own way, offering me a couple more beers than usual when they hauled me off during our lunch hour and saying that I “sucked a lot less than normal”, which was the nicest they’d been to me in my entire time at that school. I felt like I had some sort of glowing aura around me, something that My Chemical Romance had given me that I never had before. They were new, yet familiar, but so meaningful and dynamic that I could drown in their songs with ease. The worlds they’d created in The Black Parade and Danger Days fascinated me. They were my latest hobby and addiction, but so, so much more, although I couldn’t tell what just yet.
Whatsername destroyed everything good I felt about myself just as soon as it had come. She tied me up in a bathroom stall and scratched open my cuts before using me like her toy as usual, and two periods later gave me a lecture on how stupid I was for thinking I had any right to show off. She reminded me of my place- I was everyone’s bitch, slut, whore, or whatever the fuck else they wanted me to be. And above all, I was hers, and that meant I had to listen to her.
My Chemical Romance was now the only thing keeping me alive.
Everything else was falling apart, my academics, chance at any proper relationship, sanity, future. My parents were fighting to understand, but I could never tell them what I was going through, the people I was dealing with. They’d file lawsuits, get them all in juvy, and that would just leave me with a life knowing there are at least seven people that are out to get their revenge on me. MCR let me know that I wasn’t alone, that I had some worth, that the stupid Whatsernames out there could just go fuck themselves because I had purpose and could rise from my ashes. Technically, the second thing was impossible given the circumstances, but I could do it as soon as I was out of there. That was my only priority now.
The school year ended, and on the last day Whatsername and the boys had a mighty fun time “saying their goodbyes” to me. I’ve still got a couple scars on my stomach from that one.
That summer, I was in a mental hospital for around four to six weeks due to strong suicidal tendencies. I’d become too dependent on the pain and drugs. MCR was slowly replacing them, slowly but surely. I’d checked out other bands liked by their fans, things like The Used, Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco, and liked them plenty, but nobody came close to meaning what MCR meant to me. The band wasn’t my drug, it was my lifeline.
The last week of summer my parents told me that I got into a new school, supposedly the best in the state. I’d heard good things about it, and it seemed nice enough when we drove by to see my homeroom assignment the day before school was back in. My first day there was different. The classroom was clean and organized, so different from everything I was used to, and the kids were different too. They were the exact same way. Clean. Organized. Nearly pre-pubescent zombies that had been taught all their lives that nothing mattered but their academic careers. That’s all we were fed on the first day. “Your grades this year determine whether you get into blah blah super special college/school/whatever, you fail one class and you’ll never get out of here alive, we don’t care where you came from or what your background is, you’re here for an education and not a social life.” I hated this place already, every teacher, kid I saw. That was, until, we were dismissed home.
My parents always picked me up since the bus routes didn’t go near our house, but we lived a good deal away so they always took at least a half hour to get to me. I sat on one of the picnic tables crowded against the other kids, the songs of my heroes blasting through my headphones and blurring out what was around me. I was lost in them again, Revenge, specifically. And all is going fine, my fingers tapping out the melody across my thigh, until I get a light pat on the shoulder. “Hey.”
I pause the song and pull out my right headphone, still not sure who said the word. “Uh, hey?”
“What are you listening to?”
I turn to where the sound came from, and I’m met with a girl. She’s beautiful. Black hair, dark skin, brown eyes showing real curiosity. And I know as soon as I lay eyes on her that she’s different. I knew that before I even glanced down to see her baggy Misfits shirt under a grey hoodie, Converse scribbled all over in black pen.
“You Know What They Do To Guys Like Us In Prison.”
“What?” Her whole face lights up, and she’s grinning now. “I love that song, are you fucking kidding me?” She starts to sing the chorus.
And this girl, this angel, she we’ll refer to as Jimmy, per her own request.
I’m in awe, nearly gawking at her, because I had no idea that it was even possible for someone in this place to know this godly group of men existed. “Y-You know it?” I say, somehow the words being the only thing I can think of in my surprise.
“Of course! MCR is my favorite band, tied with Green Day.”
And, yes, I’m completely sure I’ve just experienced love at first sight.
Fast forward a few weeks, and we’re writing a story together. A few more, and we’re dating. And I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my entire life. I have two things to live for now. MCR, and her. The girl of my dreams. And I never would have even met her if it weren’t for them. They saved my life and gave me something else to live for. They’re everything to me.
Fast forward to March 21st, 2013. It’s my birthday. We go to see a movie and out to dinner as a family, and my parents look the happiest they’ve been in a long time, too. Things are looking up now, finally, and we’re cracking jokes and more than anything not celebrating another year of life, but celebrating that the new one could come in the first place.
The next day, Friday, I was having my real party, a slumber party that night with a few girls from school and bowling the next day with the guys as well. After a few months I’d managed to find some decently cool people at this seemingly fabricated white-wall wasteland, even if one was a diagnosed pyromaniac and another obsessed with comics and on more medications than I can count right now. The girls spent the night, and we stayed up until at least two in the morning playing truth or dare before crashing. I didn’t think to check my emails, even for my RPs. I was happy and with people I loved. Everything was beautiful, and it was like those dark years before hardly even happened.
I woke up the next morning earlier than everyone else, and most of them I knew wouldn’t be up for a while, so I managed to get to my desk to check my emails out of boredom. The usual for a morning was there, Tumblr and YouTube updates. But my average bandom roleplay replies weren’t there. Instead, I had three messages, each from one of my partners, and each said the same thing:
Have you heard?
Confused, because, well, no, I have not heard, I replied to the one from my closest friend asking “Heard what?”
Seconds later I receive the reply.
“The band broke up.”
In disbelief, knowing that this dear friend would never joke with me, I check the band’s website.
No, no. They’ve been hacked. Twelve years and only 85 words? No. Of course not.
I check their twitters.
“Beyond any sadness, what I feel most is pride.”
“Things that should be simple and easy rarely ever are.”
No. No, no, no. They were working on a new album, they built a studio and everything. MCR5, right? It was going to come out this year or next.
But it was a five line paragraph. Of course. Of fucking course. Gerard Way, you cunning little shit.
I managed to get across the hall and into the bathroom without bursting into tears, ignoring the little noises of girls waking up from my actions behind me and I locked the bathroom door before sinking down to the floor against it. I was falling apart, tears streaming down my cheeks, choked sobs spilling from my lips. It was the end. I ignored the theories I came across on Tumblr. It wasn’t a publicity stunt. This was over. The men that saved my life countless times, pulled me out of the ground and taught me how to live again, weren’t together anymore. I showered, letting the tears still fall, and reset the number on my six months of being clean. And why was it that I was hurting myself over the people that had kept away my demons for so long? But I walked out and put a smile on my face, like nothing had happened, the same happy masquerade I’d used on my parents those years ago when the abuse was muddling every light I had. I acted this way for ten hours for the duration of the party and some time after, not once mentioning what had happened. I sent a message to my girlfriend saying what had happened. She is in mourning. I excused myself to my bedroom for the rest of yesterday evening, putting even more red lines across my skin than I had that morning and letting even more tears fall. This ended as soon as it had begun for me. The only record release I was able to witness was Conventional Weapons. I’d never seen them live, but bumped into Bob several times, however too scared to bring up the band given how they made him leave. I wasn’t with the band from the start, hardly caught the tail end of their reign, but they meant everything to me.
Today I lazed around, watching Netflix and dragging out our old cappuccino machine, drinking coffee like I’d never had anything to drink before. I was scared to even turn on my clunky old desktop, but dared to, and sure enough another message from my dearest friend awaited me-
“Gerard’s letter to us finished killing me.”
I checked the website before his twitter and read his poetic goodbye, “A Vigil, On Birds and Glass.”
Anakin, lovely, it finished killing me too.
I agree with every word he wrote- My Chemical Romance is an idea, not a band. It is the idea of revenge. Of proof. Of darkness. Of anger. Of difference. Of individuality. Of rebirth. Of love.
It is everything I ever needed, wanted, or could ask for.
And although I’ll miss it dearly, I know it will always live on. Because if it could turn my life around so quickly, make everything better so easily, entirely off of previously released music and events and happenings, it could do the same for anyone else. I’m not over the idea of it being gone, and I don’t think I ever will be, but the fact that it happened is also the best thing that ever happened to me.
And for that, all of this, I am forever in your debt, My Chemical Romance, and to your members. I got out of the hellhole that was destroying me. I got clean. I am in love with a girl that was literally sent from the best part of heaven that there probably is. And it is all, entirely because of you.
I don’t know if any of the band members will ever read this(and if you do, please know I love you to shreds). I don’t know if anyone will bother to. But if someone does, I want them to know that this band, this idea, is one of the most beautiful things that has happened in the history of rock and roll.
Above all your demons, love will overcome.