For years now, Warped Tour has been my escape, the one day a year when I set aside all responsibilities and sadness and just LET IT ALL GO. It’s the one day where I don’t feel self-conscious. Where I don’t feel fat. Where I don’t feel judged. Where I don’t feel like a fucking lonely outsider. I have never had a bad experience with anyone in the crowd, and Henry and I actually hardly fight on this day (he knows not to fuck with Our Lady of Warped on this day). I’ve gone to therapy, I’ve done the anti-depressant thing, but nothing has ever helped me like this one day does.
But this year was different.
I mean, I could fill this post with a bunch of lies about how perfect the whole day was, but I’m not a liar. This isn’t OhLyingErin.
It wasn’t Warped Tour’s fault. It wasn’t that I didn’t like any of the bands. It wasn’t that I was feeling suddenly jaded around all the young scene kids. It wasn’t that Henry and I were fighting. It wasn’t any of these things.
It was that, for the first time ever, I am honestly feeling that low and depressed that I couldn’t fucking shake it off. Things have been Not Great for me and my family over the last few months. I try to smile through it and continue on with life, but I think maybe I’ve been doing too great of a job with bottling it all up and now that bottle has sprung a leak. Maybe 15 leaks.
I think the impetus was answering my phone that morning when I shouldn’t have answered it. We had literally JUST WALKED THROUGH THE GATES and were running up the big hill to the Vans tent on the other side when I got the call. I thought it was a florist that had been trying to deliver flowers to my house and kept missing me, so I answered it. But instead, it was an estate attorney I had contacted the day before, calling to get some background on my situation and I was like, “Well, I’m kind of at Warped Tour right now…?” but she was all, “This will just take a few minutes.” So there I was, crouched next to a tree, holding a hand over my free ear to try and hear this lady over top of three bands who were starting to play on nearby stages, wistfully wishing I was any one of the hundreds of kids jogging past me with literally no cares in the world while I’m on the phone talking about wills and estates and reverse mortgages. This isn’t me. This isn’t who I am. Talking about adult things? Ew.
It just made me realize that there is no escaping this one. Not even being “home” at my beloved Warped Tour was enough this time.
I hung up the phone and rejoined Henry and Chooch. I was totally out of sorts, high-strung, and emotional. We started to watch In Hearts Wake and after one and a half songs, I turned to Henry and said, “I can’t be here. Let’s just leave.”
He and Chooch were both like, “Are you fucking kidding, we just got here and you love Warped Tour?!”
Four times this happened. I wanted to leave and ran off to the exit, but then Henry convinced me to stay. I was: on edge, lunacy fringe, snapping at both him and Chooch, walking off in the middle of Knuckle Puck without telling them where I was going, throwing an actual hissy fit during Hail the Sun, a band I fucking love and was looking forward to seeing again but Chooch kept trying to talk to me and I projected and stormed off, blaming him and Henry for ruining my day, being a certified psychotic asshole, and literally not giving a shit who saw me flipping out because EMOTIONS.
I haven’t felt this out of control since my mid-20s. The thoughts I had swirling through my head were scary and I never want to let them back in.
During a rare moment of stability after my first public break down.
But then I got sucked back into the emotional spin cycle again, synapses playing laser tag death matches in my brain, which left me straight sulking and pouting alone in a seat under the amphitheater, not even caring when Masked Intruder walked past me. That’s some heavy duty saltiness, right there.
But finally by the afternoon, I calmed down. Corey and my mom both texted me and assured me that leaving Warped Tour wasn’t going to do any good, that I should stay and make the most of it, and even Chooch was like, “MOMMY, LOOK, YOU KNOW YOU DON’T WANT TO LEAVE. YOU LOVE WARPED TOUR. CALM THE FUCK DOWN, EMAROSA PLAYS AT 3:25.”
And thank god I didn’t leave. Because once I stopped hyperventilating and took a moment to just sit quietly alone on the hillside, I felt ready to salvage the rest of the day. I hate that the first quarter of it was so tainted with my mental poison, considering my motto is “No Bitching at Warped Tour.” But I just don’t even know who I am anymore. This was kind of my wake-up call. I’ve been so busy worrying about how the current situation is affecting everyone else, that I haven’t taken the time to mourn properly. No place better than Warped Tour to open up the flood gates, I guess.
Plus, Chooch pointed out this guy and that was pretty amusing.
Honestly, god bless Chooch for staying so calm while I was saying things like I JUST WANT TO FUCKING GO HOME AND STAY IN BED FOREVER because that’s the kind of excellent example I set. DRAW MOTHER A GIN BATH, SONNY BOY!
Look at him up there, reppin’ Cardboard Swords. This kid is so immersed in the scene, and it makes me extremely proud. I hope one day he’s in a band, playing Warped Tour! He better save room in the bus for his MOMMY.
Eventually, I was able to smile again and let my shoulders relax.
I stayed for the whole thing and, like all of the years before, it really did help clear my mind and calm me down. It just took a little longer this year. Which is why we should have gone to a second Warped date, HENRY. #DoOver
I think on my gravestone, it will say something like “AT HOME IN HEAVENLY WARPED TOUR” or “RESTING IN PERPETUAL WARPED TOUR.” Or “IN GODS ARMS AT WARPED TOUR.” I don’t fucking know. Something like that. I’m counting on you, Chooch.
[Next: either band stuff or a Chooch guest post?]