Photo: Nahian Iqbal

The anonymous tellings of an ex-emo

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I still get pissed off when I see bad eyeliner wings, but no one wants makeup advice from a guy in a Canadian tuxedo and a Bass Pro Shops hat.

I’m not the kind of guy that you’d expect to have had an emo phase. I have been playing sports for the majority of my life, have always been really into cheesy pop music from the 80s and I am very quick to crack a joke. However, from a few years out of my late teens, I was equal parts fabulous and furious.

Being that angry all of the time is exhausting, and I’m sure my eyes would have had black circles around them even if I hadn’t drawn them on. My only bits of joy were from when I was able to get My Chemical Romance played at school dances or in the dressing room before hockey games, before I would go home and dance alone to my Wham ‘Best Of’ CD.

Perhaps best, and worst, of all was that my Tumblr was absolute fire. It was the whole nine yards: Makeup guides, black and white photos with quotes so edgy you’d cut your eyes just reading them and poetry that would make Dr. Seuss banish rhyming words from his vocabulary. My followers became my true friends, meaning that I had zero and zero.

That was exactly the problem: In acting out a feigned rage that I would later learn are called hormones, I had completely alienated myself. Granted it’s not unusual for teenagers to be angsty and then grow out of it, it’s just unusual for it to take as long as it took me. Eventually I looked in the mirror and said “You’re not sad, you’re just an asshole.”

So how did I turn myself to the light of a more chipper attitude? Obviously, I added glitter to my arsenal of eye makeup. I wore blue sometimes. I walked up to the plate with ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’ announcing my arrival. I recognized that mental illness is not a fashion sense, and stood beside those in my life who were suffering genuine problems.

I don’t regret these years, per se. That Marilyn Manson concert was pretty sick, despite the fact that he had swine flu and kept spitting on the audience. Everybody goes through phases, and sometimes that’s exactly what they are no matter how aggressively you deny it and no matter how many buckles are on your pleather jacket.

I completely nuked that Tumblr account, though. I needed the help of an old priest, a young priest and a nun but it’s back in hell where it belongs.

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