The Quiet One
If prizes were awarded for fake smiles, I would have won annually.
If you asked my friends today what kind of music I would relate to, they would most likely point you in the direction of country music and Disney songs. But growing up as a teenager with the thought that I was misunderstood and alone, my music choices were quite different. Every day I was asked “You’re only young, what do you have to be depressed about?” Each person who thought they knew me would tell me how good a life I had and I should have been very happy. Again, just more and more people who didn’t really know me at all, they just wanted me to be who or what they wanted me to be. They weren’t listening to me, just telling me.
You see growing up in a small town everyone thinks they know you but for me it was only face value. Always a great big smile for people but inside I was really dying. Dying to leave. Dying to Live. Instead, I was forced to go to church every Saturday and be surrounded by people I thought were full of shit. I was told I should appreciate the life I had because I have a God and a family that loved me very much. Okay, so if everyone loves me so much can they please just listen to what I have to say? Maybe listen before they speak and actually try to hear me, not just tell me how I should or shouldn’t be feeling? Of course not. This wasn’t a Hollywood movie, the ending didn’t wrap up with big smiles, family hugs and me living my life the way I wanted. Instead it was continual smothering, unwanted lectures, deaf ears and more crying and built up anger on my behalf.
Although these wouldn’t be the first songs you would find on my playlist these days, I will never forget them. I could never forget the intro, the beat, the lyrics and exactly where I was when I was listening to them. Songs like these always remind you how you felt at that time because on days when I couldn’t understand the world around me these songs brought me comfort. They let me know I wasn’t alone in my feelings of growing up misunderstood and not living up to everyone else's expectations. They kept me company when my ‘friends’ were being bitchy. They held me when I didn’t feel at home in my own family. They let me escape for just a few minutes from all the pressures of society when I was questioned constantly “What reason do you have to be depressed?”
Green Day - Wake me up When September Ends
Although a song about the loss of Billie Joe’s dad, this song resonated with me through those times when all I wanted to do was sleep through all the bullshit and just be left the hell alone. It’s a song you listen to while staring out the car window in the rain with your headphones on and your Discman on repeat. It's gentle, it's nurturing.
Joel Turner - These Kids
This song is quite intelligent and the guy who wrote this lost his friend to suicide so it becomes very real; the lyrics, the feelings, the pain you feel while listening. Again, one of my favourites to listen to on my Discman. ‘Nobody knows the suffering they go through and you wouldn’t believe ‘em if they told you’ truer words could not have been spoken. ‘Someone really loves you, loves you like you’ve never been loved.’
The Black Eyed Peas - Where Is The Love
When all the angry music becomes too much we are left with the simple question, Where is the Love? This song tries to unify us and speak a truth but instead it’s just a catchy tune to some. Where is the Love is refreshing. We students loved this song so much that the teachers at our school actually banned it. They banned us from playing it and making those question mark symbols because they were tired of seeing it everywhere. And that, is what’s wrong with the world Mama.
Green Day - Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Anyone who is going through their teenage years should feel this song. Anyone who feels alone in general needs this song. It's comforting.
Kelly Clarkson - Because of You
When your family passes on their irrational fears and constant state of anxiousness you don’t really live every day. You are living in fear, you are being smothered by things that don’t exist. Each day presents new problems and the obstacles are actually put there by the people in your life. Their smothering, their bickering, their fears, their problems encase you. Your life has become a constant battle ground for their woes.
I’m sure there were plenty of other songs that awakened my spirit from its dark shell. But just like many other feelings I was made to suppress, so too went the songs that were my only lifeline at the time. I saved my favourite 2 songs for last. If you’re not going to listen to any of the other songs, these last 2 really pack the feelings in with a punch and drive it home.
Linkin Park - Numb
Every word of this song is just everything that is wrong with the problems we as teenagers experienced. If your teenage upbringing was anything like mine you were constantly judged and what’s worse, your family constantly judged your friends. I never accepted any friends because I didn’t know what love, friendship and loyalty was because I was living in such a hostile environment. Everyone was always angry with one another but no one would ever address the situation at hand. Instead everyone bitched about everyone, each thinking they were superior over the other. I was isolated. I grew up with narcissists, constantly telling me who to be but never leading by example. Everyone would say “She’s so quiet, she’s such a good girl.” No people, I was quiet because I was never allowed to use my voice. I was quiet because nobody around me ever liked to speak about or hear the truth. I was quiet because I was the odd one out, who didn’t enjoy all the drama that revolved around me. I wasn’t quiet. I was silenced.
Simple Plan - Welcome To My Life
Simple Plan’s - Welcome to My Life became my anthem when I was becoming a teenager. Every day after school I would sit in my room and cry to this song. I would sing it with such anger, such hate, such pain. The pressure to be perfect, to be at the top of my class all the time was too much. The pressure to be better behaved than all the other kids was annoying and the expectation to excel in everything I did was overbearing. Thank you Simple Plan for expressing my life through your song.
Just because the people raising us grew up in a different generation, a simpler time before us - they went home before the streetlights came on and had no mobile phones, they think they understand what being a teenager is like for us. Different times and different circumstances people, different times. What was applicable to their childhood was completely different to mine but that is something they never cared to understand.
Thank goodness for the musicians who became the voices of all of us young people who were told we shouldn’t have anything to be sad or angry about. Without them our voices would never have been heard and our feelings would never have been considered relevant.