Remember that completely cringe worthy but totally necessary 3 year Emo phase that we all experienced?
Well, let me tell you all about mine and see if that jogs your memory.
Phase 1-B*Witched who?
I was 14 years old.
I’d spent the last 5 years of my life fantasising about being in the Spice Girls, and then B*Witched and later All Saints, practising dance routines and my amazing vocal ad libs every single day in front of the mirror with a hairbrush so that I would be totally prepared when I got the call that they needed another band member.
Ok, that paragraph was a total cliche but I’m not even sorry because that was my truth guys!
When I wasn’t planning my astronomical rise to fame, I was fantasising about one day marrying Adam Rickitt (HA! Remember THAT glass box?!) or Aaron Carter and later Abs from Five or Gary Lucy off of Footballers Wives. I pretty much had our lives planned out (4 kids, mansion in Wilmslow or wherever all the footballers live and matching dolphin tattoos).
And then Avril Lavigne came along and changed my life forever.
The moment I saw that video for Complicated on MTV I knew that my desire to be Rachel Stevens had died forever.
The long straight hair. The eye liner. The guitar. The baggy shorts. The tie.
The sk8r boyz.
So bad ass! So alternative! So quirky!
I quickly discarded my Britney poster and untangled my twists and knots with reckless abandonment.
The pedal pushers and Tammy Girl tank tops were tossed aside in favour of EXTREMELY baggy low rise jeans from criminal damage that allowed my then size 6 bony hips to poke out just above the band of my TopShop ‘female boxers’, a spikey dog collar choker (from Claire’s Accessorises…. #edgy) and a black crop top with the word SINNER emblazoned across the front.
“Are you a goth?!” my mother exclaimed one day.
“No Mam.” I replied “I’m an Emo.”
Phase 2- Busted and Beyond….
There followed a period whereby I was absolutely obsessed with ma gurl Avril and those absolute dream boats Busted, who were so cool because THEY PLAYED THEIR OWN INSTRUMENTS AND EVERYTHING.
And then I discovered ‘gigging’.
I’d drive my Ford KA twice, sometimes three times a week to various band nights that catered to the under 18s (The Dolls House and The Tavern, I’m looking at you) to mostly bop along to lads from the year above me in school playing covers of Kings of Leon 4 Kicks and The Hives Hate to Say I Told you So.
I realised that I was just scratching the surface with Avril….who knew?! My eyes were opened to Paramore, Fall Out Boy, Panic! at the Disco, Green Day, New Found Glory, Sum41 and Blink 182.
I finally realised why Busted always sang in an American accent even though they were from Southend-On-Sea.
Phase 3- Bagging myself a band member
What do you do when you fall in love with an older guy who is a member of an actual REAL LIFE band who WRITE THEIR OWN MUSIC?!
You burn the songs from their MySpace directly on to a blank CD so you can learn all the words, you dye your hair jet black with a white blonde slice through it, get yourself an asymmetric fringe and short choppy layers, apply more eyeliner and hang out at every gig until they notice you of course.
Sure, from behind you often get mistaken for a lesbian couple who share the same hairdresser. And, ok, deep down you realise that you’re not the only one with the honour of driving him to and from his gigs each week and getting the kiss goodnight.
But ultimately, do you care?! You have Asymmetric Fringe and Boyfriend in a Band therefore making you Queen Of The Emos.
Phase 4- Scene
I got to about 17/18 years old when I realised that, sure, I liked Sum41 and New Found Glory but actually I loved Ja Rule and Kanye West and Cascada and that *maybe* I was actually way too outgoing and energetic and preppy and MAINSTREAM to even be considered Emo.
I mean, I didn’t even really understand what being Emo was– I don’t think I was ever fully committed to the idea.
But I still fancied the indie boys, and the local gig vibes and I was still totally rocking the fringe and so I instead pursued being ‘scene’.
This basically meant still immersing yourself in the culture and the style and the band nights but also taking moody black and white overly posed pictures for your MySpace with really deep and meaningful Fall Out Boy lyrics as your caption because you are so misunderstood and tortured and complex.
Note: I REALLY wish I had not deleted my MySpace.
What did I learn from my Emo phase?
I don’t really know when I stopped trying to be Emo/Scene. I don’t think it came to an abrupt end but more fizzled out when I went to university and met new people and I just stopped trying so hard to be a certain type of person.
I started this blog by calling my emo phase ‘cringeworthy but totally nessecary’.
It was cringeworthy not because being Emo is cringeworthy in itself in any way. Anyone who can and does express themselves in a way that is most meaningful and authentic to them is admirable and enviable.
The cringeworthy part was that I was trying SO HARD to be somebody and to fit something that I clearly wasn’t.
And that’s why the phase was totally necessary! It taught me so many important life lessons.
It taught me to be yourself, always.
It taught me that you cannot sustain a facade for too long.
It taught me that you should never, ever try to put yourself in a neat box.
It taught me not to chase after boys who play the guitar.
And mostly, it taught me that fringes are just not for me.
P.S. I’m still practising should Little Mix need a 5th band member.