When it comes to certain preferences, I can be picky. Very picky. This leads to quite the double-standard amongst my friends. I seemingly hate everything while pioneering what I believe in. The problem is is that I pioneer things too late (like the Ramones) or for too long (does anybody still actually pay attention to Calvin and Hobbes?). There's also another aspect of said passion that lives in between the lines of who I am and what I support. It is a very fine, neurotic line. Perhaps this particular entry can shed some light on this part of my psyche.
I have the tendency to allow stupid stigmas to dictate my ideals at certain times. It is recognizing that these stigmas exist that I feel like a shithead. It is in recognizing that I feel like a shithead that these stigmas either gain momentum or cease to exist. At the end of the day, it's all up to me and my stupid brain as how to interpret them.
It was after I privately discovered MXPX, bought my first Blink-182 CD and found a new home in the "independent punk" scene that I felt like I had finally found a home that I had been searching for my whole life. This was my own thing, a refuge amidst the prepubescent storm. It was my savior. I carry those initial feelings with me to this day. It might be a naive, self-perpetuating myth of a lifestyle, but it's mine and it always has been. The bravado of adolescence, the wish-washness of allegiances has always been what I thrived on.
I bought Jimmy Eat World's 'Bleed American' the literal day it came out. It was 2001, I was fifteen years old. The album was one of the first to honestly change my life. It was the backbeat for nights spent holed up in my room writing shitty high-school poetry. It was winter and summer, pure happiness and complete misery. The album itself is incredibly dynamic. It reminds me of my hometown city streets, the hopelessness and melodrama of growing up in the Midwest. It was my winter coat, my summer freedom. I fell asleep to that album for weeks on end.
I kept the band by my side for years. For some reason, the idea of them got muddled in the mess of life and I eventually abandoned the solace of their songs. They had become far bigger as a band than what I was used to. It felt like it was't my own anymore. I blatantly ignored the message, the feeling. I felt like I had grown out of it. I was wrong.
I remember back when Robin and I had became a pair, we were fierce. We were also completely smitten for each other. The summer had passed in its own way and Winter had reared its ugly head again. That had turned the hard-lined lifestyles we both led into "Crush". And, as with the seasons, I came back around to Jimmy Eat World's music. It was what I had always understood as Midwestern. It, again, became part of our Winter Canon.
The two of us fell in love, ran ourselves ragged and got the fuck out of town. I eventually wound up tossing the Jimmy Eat World CD's for no reason at all other than a moment of weakness, of misinterpretation. Then, when Winter rolled around again. Their songs became relevant again, a nostalgic feeling of understanding and the drudgery of another long season.
Then, New Year's Eve 2011 happened. What was originally planned as a low-key night with a few drinks wound up being motherfucking marathon of imbibing alcohol and sleep-deprivation. What had kick-started our night? The jukebox blaring Jimmy Eat World's songs chased with an ear-to-ear smile on my face. I brought back all the feelings that I had always had about the band, no matter how anachronistic they were.
That fire had been kept alive for a few months and became quickly forgotten. Then, random hangover mornings at work when their songs would play, I found myself with the same shit-eating grin for them that I had always had. I always walked away from the work-day tired, weary and legitimately excited to come home and let their music shake my walls.
A couple nights ago, Robin and I went to a housewarming party for some of our best friends. They had just got a new place in the Northeast and we were there to drink and christen the house. In the middle of the party, a random Jimmy Eat World song came on over the stereo. Me and a buddy of mine began waxing earnest on the topic of the band. I still, ten years later, felt the same way about the band as I always had. We talked shamelessly about our undying love for them. It reignited (yet again) my love, not only for the band but for the people I surround myself with.
So, thank you to both. And sorry, Jimmy Eat World, for ever doubting you. It will not go unnoticed ever again.