Sorry all, another late one! This one was hard to write, but I’m so glad I wrote it. Thanks so much for reading.

So far, the emo songs I’ve written about have been ones that were important to me during my salad days. I haven’t said much about the songs that are important to me right this moment, and that’s what “Even If It Kills Me” by Motion City Soundtrack is. 

I’ve been a huge fan of Motion City Soundtrack since 2003, but I only came across them by coincidence. I was a fan of Hellogoodbye, and it just so happened they were opening for Motion City Soundtrack at the Whiskey in Hollywood. I had no reason not to stay, and boy was I glad I did. Motion City Soundtrack was insecurity and anxiety and anger with a moog behind it.

When their third album, “Even If It Kills Me,” came out in 2007, I was not long removed from an abusive relationship. I resolved to start taking chances, even if it meant getting my feelings hurt. Nothing could hurt as much as that ex’s punches, and I’m not talking about any physical pain they caused. I was in recovery mode, but I was definitely on the upswing.

“Even If It Kills Me” was the album I needed right when I needed it. It was the band’s most mature and introspective album to date and for good reason — frontman Justin Pierre’s substance abuse and alcoholism almost destroyed the band. He made it out alive, the band didn’t break up, and the album turned out to be a beautiful work of recovery and love. The title track really brought it all together.

The album gave me hope that I’d find better, and in July 2008, I found it. I met Aimee, and I felt I’d found my Antonia. She was my match in every way, or so I thought. Nine years and eleven months later — after building a world together — it all came crumbling down. In her depression, she left all of life’s responsibilities to me, and while I had been drowning slowly over the course of our relationship, I was finally in over my head and suffocating.

Since then, friends and loved ones have intimated that they couldn’t believe I put up with as much as I had in all that time, but it made perfect sense to me. For years, I had been a person who made lists of things I’d never finish, the one who wished I could settle every little stupid thing. She believed in me, believed I could do those things. She made me feel like I could do it.

For the first time in a long time
I can say that I want to try
To get better and overcome
Each moment in my own way

With Aimee, I could sing that verse and feel it true in every fiber of my being. I wanted to be better, to strive to accomplish more, but her encouragement gave me the confidence to believe I could do those things.

But this song isn’t about being saved by love. It’s about finding the strength within to keep moving, keep going forward, and that was never more important for me to keep in mind than after we broke up. The song is even more appropriate now than before, which is something I never could have imagined.

If you’ve been to my apartment, you know all my shit is still in boxes. I’ve got things from my childhood I can’t let go of, things from the recent past I’m too lazy to sort out, and things from my relationship with Aimee I’m too scared get rid of.

I fell face first into depression — I acted erratic, shut myself in, let my work suffer. I certainly tried hard to lose my mind. I haven’t yet given up on it, but my friends and family stuck by me and helped pull me out of that morass of hopelessness. My parents, Stephanie, my cousins, aunts, uncles, Anastasia, Nate, Steve, Jack, Matt and the Hoylers, Dave, Dex, Nelson, Amanda, the Mermaid Gang, YOU CAN’T DO THAT, my coworkers, my hockey team, others I’m sure I’m leaving out — without you, I don’t know where I’d be today. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I wanted to try to get better. I wanted it so badly, but, maybe more than anything, it took time. I found peace with myself, stopped trying to imagine scenarios in which I didn’t have to give up the hopes and dreams I had developed over the course of a decade, and let myself enjoy what I liked in my life again.

Also, I can’t tell you how many times I put “Even If It Kills Me” on repeat.

The last chorus is what gets to the heart of it all:

For the first time in a long time
I can say that I want to try
I feel helpless for the most part
But I’m learning to open my eyes
And the sad truth of the matter is
I’ll never get over it but I’m gonna try
To get better and overcome
Each moment in my own way

A friend who went through a bad breakup recently asked how I got my life back together. I told him yes, I’m a functional human being again, but I’ll never get over that hurt. I carry it with me every damn day. But with time and a little help from the support system I don’t deserve, I’ve gotten back to a point where I hope again — for life, for love, and to get better and overcome each moment in my own way.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s