When I was in middle and high school, I wasn’t suicidal, but I didn’t want to be there. I was honest with my mom about those feelings when they became a bit too much; I said, “Mama, I promise you that I don’t want to die, I just don’t want to be here.”
First, concert band, and then, marching band, saved my life. It was because of a few reasons:
Band teachers are incredible and they make you feel like you matter.
Playing music as a band is the definition of “being part of something that is bigger than yourself.”
Band people are weird and many are outsiders who don’t quite fit in anywhere else; it felt like home.
I went to the Drum Corps International Southeastern Championship in Atlanta last night with my fiancé. When the first marching band started performing, I automatically started to cry. I had a strong feeling that I would cry because I even have trouble holding back tears while listening to old band toons on Spotify as well. Something as impactful and as meaningful as marching band was bound to have an effect on me.
The title of this post is “Marching band makes me sad and happy”. For the reasons I listed above, marching band made and makes me happy. For these reasons, it makes me sad:
Present day, I no longer play any instruments. When I see bands perform, I feel like I’m missing out.
I have some of my best memories take place during my marching band years because of the people I was experiencing it with; even though I am still friends with some of those people, it’s just not the same.
My anxiety, depression, and identity issues were at their peak while I was in marching band. Marching band was my escape, but when the games, competitions, and bus rides were over, it was back to a life that I hated.
DCI was amazing. This was my second time, and I would 100% go again, maybe in a different state.
When this song came out, I was no longer in a toxic relationship, but the after effects were still very much with me. I was learning how to navigate making my own decisions again without having to consider how my partner would react or belittle me later because of them.
It took me 6-8 months longer than I would have liked to get out of that relationship. The ultimate reason I decided to leave was because I didn’t like who I had become.
I have always been confident and sure of myself when it comes to my academic ability and even my physical appearance. This partner made me feel stupid and like I couldn’t do anything right. There was so much manipulation and guilt-tripping and a loss of identity within myself.
I think to my friends and family I probably acted “normal”, but so did my partner. They never acted questionably around anyone but me. That’s why it was so hard to tell people how they had been treating me. My family genuinely liked them. They didn’t see what I saw. Even afterwards. It took a few years for them to stop referring to them. I made it clear that I didn’t want to hear their name or know about any run ins they had with them in town.
Kelsea Ballerini came out with this song and took the words right out of my heart. I missed myself and who I was before shit hit the fan. I forgot that I was capable of going places alone, making decisions alone, going to see MY friends, etc.
The song does trigger those memories, but it also makes me feel empowered.
When I was younger, my mother and sister and I would fly to Germany once per year, during the summer, to visit our grandmother. We stayed at her house for an entire month. We went swimming, hiking, traveling, and also did very normal everyday things like grocery shopping, visiting the city, and hanging out with our friends there.
As an adult, when I look up at the sky and see an airplane, I feel this pain in my chest, a type of longing, even. I wish I was on that plane going wherever it was going. I think I associate airplanes with the extremely happy memories that I have from going to Germany for all those years.
We stopped going as a family because we got older and had school obligations as well as jobs. My mother’s job also won’t let her take a lot of vacation. We mostly go separately now. My sister went while I was in high school for a few months. I studied there for 6 months my sophomore year of college. My mother goes when she can, but it’s not often or for very long.
My grandmother used to fly to us when we had a break in school, but there’s not much incentive to fly here now since we all have jobs and limited time. It makes me sad, but I still hold on very dearly to all of those years we spent over there.