Let me just say this outright before I dive into this concept, cliché as it is – I am straight edge. Now, I don’t want to be one of those stuck-up, pretentious jerks who insist it’s the “right way to live your life”; in fact, I’m perfectly fine with people who don’t want to live like I do, as long as they do it responsibly. Either way, as a high school student who’s chosen to avoid drugs and alcohol (two things that I’ve come to realize are common among high school students), music comes in handy quite often. When I’m pressured by others to give in, music keeps me on the right path. If I’m asked why I don’t go out and get trashed every weekend, music gives me the motivation to stand up for myself and to be who I want to be. Ever since the words of the great Ian MacKaye first entered my ears – “I’m a person just like you, but I’ve got better things to do” – I knew that I wasn’t alone in wanting to live in my own way.
I know that first paragraph really didn’t explain the title of this editorial. It made a good case for music as a support system, but not exactly a drug. The thing is, I can’t really compare music to drugs in a literal sense. However, what music does for me is very similar to what drugs do for lots of other people: it serves as both a way to ease the pain of everyday life, as well as an escape. Basically, for me, music fills the void that would, for lots of other people, be filled by getting drunk or high. It’s a coping mechanism. Feeling isolated and alone? Wavves knows what it’s like. The whole world has been out to get you lately? Black Flag will do the trick. Stressed out and tired of life? Put on some Iron and Wine and just chill out. You get the idea. Music’s all I need to get by; I don’t have to rely on something else.
Like I said before, this whole idea’s very tired and above all, cliché. I know I sound like some troubled “emo” girl who’s read far too many books about vampires, but, truth be told, everyone has moments of emotional turmoil. If you think you don’t, you either have short-term memory loss or you’re just lying to yourself. Because everyone has moments when they feel angry or depressed, everyone has some way of dealing with it. Some exercise, others eat, and many others use drugs and alcohol as a way of dealing with their problems. It’s a depressing fact, but it’s a fact all the same. That’s why I’m extremely thankful that music, for me, serves as a healthy outlet in these same situations. If I didn’t have it, who knows what I would use in its place?