Category Archives: life

The Evolution of a Sad Girl

Sad music makes me happy. Most people can’t wrap their head around that notion, but it’s true.

My Sad Girl story starts in high school. New Hampshire. Early 2000’s. Wearing studded belts and sneaking out to go see Taking Back Sunday. The hairs on the back of my neck raising when I heard Something Corporate play ‘Konstantine’ during their opener for Yellowcard. Posting Dashboard Confessional lyrics in 90% of my AIM away messages which seemed like a good idea at the time. Drinking shitty beer in cul-de-sacs with my friends; listening to Panic! At The Disco and ‘From Under The Cork Tree’ on repeat. I think I watched the music video for ‘I Miss You’ once a day at least. I was peak emo and it was glorious.

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(16 year old, teen angst Madison in my sisters dorm room.)

After my first big soul crushing heartbreak I found Chiodos. I remember seeing Craig and the boys play a tiny venue off of Main Street in Nashua, NH. Feeling fucked up was the price of entry and it felt so good to stand in a room full of people going through their own shit. Every scream made my cold, black heart race. I was home.

When my parents got divorced I found Atreyu and then I got a kitten and gave him the same name. He’s a real asshole. Now if only he could sing while playing the drums.

Then came Senses Fail, Silverstein, A Day to Remember, The Used, Brand New, Thrice and mother fuckin’ UNDEROATH.

I got sunburnt in parking lots every summer with my sister at Warped Tour and wore a t-shirt that said “I Hate Myself and I Want to Die” to Taste of Chaos which looking back was probably a mistake.

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(Okay this is kind of cute actually. IMA BUY IT.)

And then I met a boy who listened to Nirvana, Kings of Leon, The Shins, Led Zeppelin, Arcade Fire, The Stones and Radiohead. I fell madly in love with him and with Kurt Cobain and Caleb Followill and Alanis and Thom Yorke and Elliott Smith and Eddie and Jerry and Stevie Nicks and Anthony Kiedis and all the rest of them. My musical tastes shifted, but the sullen undertones were always there.

I went through a hippie phase, an EDM sunglasses indoors phase, a hip-hop phase after phase after phase. I’ve had a thousand different versions of myself.

And then I met Danae.

We went to grad school together in Atlanta and I remember listening to Taking Back Sunday in her car and having it all come back to me in that moment. I had stopped listening to pop punk, but just because I stopped listening didn’t mean all the bands I loved stopped making music. I had a lot to catch up on.

We got a job together as a creative team at an ad agency, moved to Chicago in 2014 and discovered a little place called Beauty Bar and Emo vs. Pop Punk night every Sunday. Just like that, I was home again.

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(Me and Danae at Emo vs. Pop Punk Night @ the most beautiful bar in all the land.)

One night in early 2017 when we were out at Beauty Bar, we met a girl named Lola and a guy named Ryan. There was an immediate connection there. I thought I was going to end up falling for Ryan, but I fell for Lola instead. We’ve talked every day since we met and she’s quickly become one of my favorite people in the whole world. Those soul connections, man. Crazy.

The last few years have been concert after concert with Danae. Warped Tour, Riot Fest. You name it, we’re there. Two became three when Danae met her boyfriend, William. And then Lola and Ryan came along. We’ve got our PPP crew and I love it so fucking much.

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(Me, Danae and Lola @ Dashboard for the 10,000th time, March 2017. Chris Carrabba, WE LOVE YOU.)

I still love all my favorites, but my playlist has expanded tenfold.

We’ve got the Chicago scene: Real Friends, Knuckle Puck, Sleep On It, Cupcheck, Ship Captain Crew.

The up–and-comers: Capstan, Moose Blood, Boston Manor, Turnover, Northbound.

And the hot list: The Story So Far, Have Mercy, State Champs, Mayday Parade, Neck Deep, Bayside, Our Last Night, Transit + so so many more.

The pop punk cup is overflowing with good music right now. We are so damn blessed.

The emo/pop punk scene is alive and well. I came back for nostalgia and fell in love all over again. I traded my studded belts for a vegan leather jacket and I’ll never ever leave again. Oh and I still post Dashboard lyrics on Twitter every now and then.

Once a Sad Girl, always a Sad Girl.

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For more on the Sad Girl life, check out https://illinoissadgirls.wordpress.com/ 

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How to Cut the Shit and Be Happy Already

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Woahhhh, you guys. Big changes happening in my life this year. Lots of crazy energy and vibrations coming at me from every angle. While change is good and exciting, it’s also pretty scary and full of uncertainty. I’ve had to sit in a lot of fear, sadness, anger and confusion lately… you know, all the good stuff.

While all of that can be pretty uncomfortable, it means that I’m growing and growing is LIT. Life isn’t about feeling good all the time. Anyone that says they feel good all the time is absolutely full of shit. Sometimes it can be hard to shake some of the bullshit, but there are some simple ways to pick yourself up, let go of the things that aren’t serving you and feel a little better. This is what works for me. I hope it can work for you, too.

SWEATING HELPS– Feeling shitty? Want to not feel shitty? MOVE. YOUR. BODY. Try something fun like Soulcycle or yoga. I like to do group classes because I’m less likely to quit halfway through, although I cannot promise anything. Workout at least three times a week. Try for more. Endorphins make you happy and happy people just don’t kill their husbands.  

TAME YOUR BRAIN– Can’t get someone off your mind? Every time they pop into your head, imagine them putting mayo on pizza and the thought will quickly evaporate out of your brain space because that’s fucking gross. 

EAT ICE CREAM– Ever heard of Halo Top? It’s 240 calories per pint and high in protein so you can eat the whole damn thing and still stay a skinny bitch. You’re welcome.

LISTEN TO THE MUSIC PLAY– I like sad music the most because it speaks to my dark sullen soul, but when I’m depressed as fuck, listening to “Videotape” on repeat on my bus ride home usually ends with me wanting to walk out in front of it. So maybe don’t do that. Backstreet Boys is always a good choice! Pick something with a beat and bop around. If people on the street look at you like you’re crazy, IT’S WORKING.

DON’T COMPARE– For the love of god, stop doing this! Acceptance is one of the many keys to feeling bouts of real happiness. It’s really fucking hard, but as soon as you can be at peace with what you have and how things are, right now in this very moment, you’ll breathe a little easier and feel a little lighter. You have everything you need.

CHANGE UP YOUR LOOK– Dye your hair blue! Rock some casual sequins! Wear purple lipstick! Dude? Grow a beard! Stop wearing cargo shorts!

GO THE FUCK OUTSIDE– Fly out to Park City and go on hikes with your mom. Skip around in the woods. Take your baby niece to the park and push her on a swing while she laughs. Take your dog out to play and let him take a shit on some flowers. Go to the beach and get sand literally everywhere. Go to a concert with friends. Go to a concert by yourself. Lay on some grass and look for dick shaped clouds in the sky. Whatever! Just get out there!

CALL YOUR FAMILY Talking on the phone blows, but hearing your grandma tell you that she’s proud of you and that she loves you is some kind of wonderful. Suck it up and pick up the phone. Beep, beep, boop: happiness.

FRIENDSHIP! Spend as much time as possible with the people who love and understand you. Old friends! New friends! All the friends! Go see obscure emo bands that you love so fucking much, go try out all the bowling alleys in your city, go eat so much pizza, Facetime friends who live far away, go out and dance until 2am, go to an amateur WWE match and throw tampons on the stage and laugh so hard that one of your friends collapses and smacks her head on the seat in front of her and it leaves a mark. Go let yourself have some fucking fun! Seriously, go!

EYE FUCK SOME LITERATURE– “Take a risk, take a chance, make a change and reeeeeaaaddd aaaa book.” -Kelly Clarkson  

SAY NO- *Occasionally* it is 100% okay to stay in, turn your phone off,  turn some music on, take a glorious bubble bath and then go to bed at 9pm. Treat yo self.

EAT/DRINK GREEN THINGS You’ll be fitter, happier, more productive and smoothies are delicious. 

BE YOURSELF Sometimes this can feel like the hardest thing to do. We adapt to our surroundings, it’s human nature, it’s a safety net, but when you act how you think other people want you to, you end up crushing your spirit. Never change yourself for someone else, don’t dull your sparkle. You are perfect exactly the way you are. You have permission to be yourself, always. But like, be nice.

FEEL YOUR FEELINGS If you want to move past a negative emotion, recognize it when it pops up, say hello, hang out with it for a little bit and see what it’s trying to tell you and then send it on it’s way. If you want to cry, let it out! Call your mom 6 times in one day, scream into a pillow, listen to a pop punk cover of “You Oughta Know” on repeat during an early morning flight. Sometimes certain feelings stay longer than others, but if you allow yourself to feel them instead of numbing out, they will always pass. Promise.

BREATHE In for 4 out for 4. In for 6 out for 8. Deep breaths. Inhale the good shit, exhale the bullshit. Ommmmmmmmm.

And when all else fails, go pet a puppy.

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