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There is no way for me to begin this blog series other than by sharing this song and what it means to me. It is called “Fits and Starts” by the band Alesana.
For me, it shows what 10 years of dedication to something that has gotten you through most of your major hard times looks like. This is what it feels like to never give up on the one thing that always guides you back to your direction in life. It’s the feeling of when you know deep down inside that this is the path for you, despite confusion, self-doubt, and a sense of loneliness for being the only one you know who still cares. Putting my trust into my distant caretakers for all of these years brought me to be involved in their greatest message to this day.
This was the first time I got both of my parents to enjoy a full song with a fair amount of screamo because the message was so powerful. They could finally understand what I stand for, without me trying to explain it. The words and the images are all there, and of course coming from the band that I love the most tells the bigger story.
Getting through your problems can feel like torture, and an absolute nightmare that you may come to identify with. When you identify with the darkest parts of yourself, it becomes even harder to remember that you need to work through it and get better. This song describes the tug of these emotions, and how you can lose yourself in them. However, there’s always a way to “find the courage, start all over.” When you’ve built up your world and everything fails, there is still a way back up again.
The video shows Alesana’s dedication to representing the voices of their fans. They asked fans to contribute a personal message that they want to share with the world, and it would be included in their upcoming project. They asked for pictures and video contributions, with very loose detail on what the project was all about. To best describe what the result of the project means to anyone involved in it, to see yourself represented by the people you look up to the most, I will describe my own experience.
When the song was released on Alesana’s Facebook page, I was sitting in my Media & Mental Health class (how conveniently this series of events was staged is a thing for me to admire). As a dedicated fan whose favorite band released a new song, I already had a massive grin on my face and was extremely antsy for class to end so I could watch the video. When class finally ended, I walked to a quiet hallway and sat down on a bench with my tablet. I started the video, which if you watch it, has a sentimental message from a woman, followed by voices of people telling other positive messages. This had me curled up with my hand over my mouth. When the music kicked in, pictures of people holding signs reading “I say farewell to giving up” began to flash on the screen. You can only imagine the moment when I saw my own picture and broke. I bawled my eyes out without a care in the world for who might possibly walk by and see.
This moment embodied my experiences with mental health, relationships, achieving and failing dreams, and all the works. It says “I’m here, and I did it, and you can do it too.”
Besides the excitement of my own world-changing experiences, I want to touch on the importance of using social media in a conscious way that you can use for self-growth. More importantly, finding some kind of alternative media that helps you in your personal experiences that not necessarily everyone around you engages with. This isn’t a strive for loneliness or pushing others away, but knowing that you don’t need to depend on others just to enjoy it. You may not need to engage with it everyday, and it could be something that you check up on about once every two months, but it’s something that might keep you going.
Alesana used social media as a platform to reach out to people. It enabled them to connect with their fans, and create a collective experience to empower everybody. As consumers of media, it is good to be mindful of who or what is out there that can have a positive impact on your life. May it be through music, poetry, art or anything else, social media can bind us closer to the things that can help us if we can’t find that connection in our daily lives. We can always find parachute in the vast entity of the internet.
Rachelle is a fourth year undergrad student at Western University, studying media and the public interest, and is excited to be doing a co-op with mindyourmind as a part of it. She focuses her attention on how to use her studies in a way that can benefit herself and others, keeping mental health in mind. She loves listening to and playing music, making a variety of art, and tackling new projects. As part of her placement, Rachelle will be doing a series of blogs about the connection between music and mental health.