I really should be sleeping right now, it’s 12:50am on a Monday night and I have assignments I have to be rested enough to complete. Yet I’m still laying in bed wide awake endlessly scrolling. For the last month or two I’ve fallen heavily in love with some old bands again, namely Panic! At the Disco and Fall Out Boy. Of course there are some others that I’ve included in my 2000s emo throwback, but these two specifically have been getting a lot of my attention recently.
When I was really young, somewhere around 2009-2015, my parents had loads of copies of the game SingStar, which if you’re unfamiliar is a karaoke game. This was my first exposure to these bands. I remember singing songs like I Write Sins not Tragedies and Dance Dance countless times, getting new high scores, learning all the words by heart, hitting all the exact notes. They were my favourites out of all the game discs. This game is actually really special to me as a whole, a lot of my taste in music today is from them and I owe a lot of my variety of preference to it. Playing it brought me so much joy and still does today. I keep my old PS3 just so I can still play them.
Recently I was uploading all the photos off of one of my old phones so we could get rid of it and I found one of those “make a meme about me” posts that people used to put on their Snapchat stories and someone made one about me liking emo music and I had honestly forgotten how big of a deal it was to me even back then. I have a hard time remembering things in general and my memories are usually only brought on by physically seeing evidence of things that have happened in the past, so seeing that dumb meme that someone made for me I think in grade 10 hit me hard. Especially because I’ve invested so much time and emotion into that very thing in the last few months, I feel like I’ve regressed.
It’s a hard feeling to explain because I think I feel good and bad about it at the same time. On one hand I think the music is incredible and beautiful and it’s really really helped me through some hard times, especially now. But on the other hand I can’t help but feel like I’m falling into an old habit. Like holding onto something from my past is holding me back from moving forward and helping myself. I don’t want to let go of something I hold so dearly and care so much about but I’m actively putting myself back into the mindset that I associate with the music. I associate it with sadness, hardship, heartbreak, depression.
My obsession has been increasingly getting more and more severe. I think I’m the last week alone I’ve read probably 10 different master posts about band lore, which as someone who doesn’t read is insane. Reading about the band members and their personal lives and watching videos from their live performances and interviews. I feel like I'm forming a parasocial relationship with people who, in a way, don’t exist anymore. It doesn’t feel good, it feels unproductive and unnecessary. Sometimes it makes me physically uncomfortable because of how much dread wells up inside me at the thought that I can’t experience what I’m surrounding myself with. But I really can’t help myself. It feels like it’s the one thing that I have right now. Between constant anxiety around my relationships, university, me not taking physical care of myself, I feel like the only thing that gives me that dose of escapism and enjoyment is listening to their music and watching their videos.
My solutions feel varied, I think I have three options. Either I keep doing what I’m doing and keep fighting for my life against cognitive dissonance (which seems to be my usual choice), I stop listening to this music and try to find something else, or I just put in the effort to make myself happy so I can enjoy what I love guilt free. The latter may be the hardest but maybe I should try.