Writer's note: today's post is one concept divided into two days. Before & After. First you will read an entry I wrote on October 4th, 2021, exactly two weeks before my Cleveland trip to see Harry Styles live on his Love On Tour explaining the significance. The second half is my reaction, thoughts, and anything I felt I needed to include either the day after or a few hours later when I got back to my hotel.
Trigger warning: suicidal ideation.
Hi, loves. I hope you are in a comfy position & have a warm beverage in hand for today's coffee conversation. This one is a conversation that means a lot to me and I'm so glad you're here to be a part of it. Let's begin.
You might recall in my October 1st post, A New Beginning, hearing about how I woke up on the 18th of October last year and made the difficult decision to seek medical treatment in a behavioral facility. I brushed on the day a little bit, explaining the gist of what happened. I went to church, cried to worship, went home to grab my bag and headed to the emergency room in the town over. I told you the steps of that day. Let me explain to you what I was feeling, how the car ride happened, and my thought process before, during and after the visit.
The anxiety I felt in the car while I was driving down 35 was nothing I had experienced. I've had anxiety for as long as I can remember, but this anxiety was a war. My heart was racing from fear while my brain was foggy from the numbness I felt. My brain and heart were working together, but felt completely different things. With those battling inside me, I just wanted it all to stop. The only thing that could calm me down was playing Harry Styles' song Fine Line from his Fine Line album. This album came out a few months after I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in 2019. Like any other Harry Styles song or album, I instantly became hooked and the lyrics he wrote in the album meant a lot to me. That October morning, my soul found new meaning to his lyrics. With the lyrics "we'll be alright" playing over and over on my car stereo it became the courage I needed to get out of the car and walk into the emergency room. When I sat down in the waiting room, though scared because I had never done anything like this on my own, Harry's words, "we'll be alright" echoed in the back of my head. I sat in group or with the therapist and told my doctors that I was okay, which was clearly proven to be a lie from the tears forming in my eyes every single time I was asked the questions "why are you here Erin?" or "do you want to live?" Those moments I mumbled to myself his reminder, "we'll be alright" over and over and over until I believed it. When the rest of the world around me slept, I stared out the window at the stars and replayed the guitar strum in my head.
It's cheesy to say, but if it weren't for Harry and the rest of the members of One Direction (obviously along with my loving friends and family) I wouldn't had made it to 18. If it weren't for Harry's solo albums in my early adult life, I wouldn't had seen my 23rd birthday, a birthday I never planned on seeing. Without this person to cling on to for a little bit of hope I wouldn't be writing this today. Without Harry and his music I wouldn't have some of the most amazing friends online; my dear friend Bre, who came into my life in 2010 because judges said yes to a boyband, or Scarlet, Meg, Gab, and Mila, who came into my life because I decided to make a stan account to follow Love On Tour updates this year. This all being said, October 18th, 2021 marks exactly one year after my decision to live. This day is a huge accomplishment and very important to me, which makes it even more surreal that October 18th, 2021 is also the night I see Harry Styles live. If you see pictures of me in a puddle of tears up in Cleveland while Harry sings Fine Line out loud, in front of me, bare with me. An important day in my life will soon become the greatest moment to date.
Sometimes you do things that don't feel real. You experience things and leave feeling as if it was all a dream. That is exactly how I feel leaving Rocket Mortgage Field-house. Just standing in line to go in to the venue, I wanted to burst into tears. As soon as I sat down, my eyes burned from holding in my emotions. As soon as I heard the "dah dah dah" of Golden, tears began streaming down my face. Who knew seeing bunnies flash on a big screen would evoke such emotion? The moment Harry rose from the bottom of the stage, my heart stopped. He is someone I've looked up to since I was twelve years old. I had dreamed of seeing him live for years and years, and even didn't believe I was finally seeing him until I sat down in the seat. I honestly can't recall most of the show. I have memories engraved in my head and get flashbacks when I hear certain parts of certain songs, but it truly felt like a fever dream. I barely even moved for some of the songs because I couldn't comprehend that I was seeing this man standing in the same room as me. You should have seen my face when I watched him sing Falling or how I couldn't help but laugh when he said "just stop your crying, it's the sign of the times" seconds after I had just finished bawling my eyes out to the prior song.
The most important moment to me was, obviously, Fine Line. As you have heard, that song is the one that saved my life last year - the one that still keeps me alive to this day. I began recording, held my phone near my chest and just zoned in on Harry and The Love Band. It felt as if I was floating and I was the only person in the room. I completely lost myself in his words. What did I do to deserve hearing those words in person? Why did God allow me the opportunity to hear the words that are tattooed on my body in terminate ink echo all around me? In that exact moment I realized why I chose life last year. I chose life because there were so many more people left for me to meet. I chose life because there were so many more experiences for me to go through. I chose life because there were so much love for me to give and receive. I chose life because how could I leave this earth without hearing Harry Styles tell me "we'll be alright?" I'm so grateful I chose to live and after tonight, living is all I want to do.
Thank you to everyone who has supported me this last year and will continue to support me for years to come. Thank you to my amazing family who love me. Thank you to my beautiful friends near and far who get me. Thank you to Harry Styles for saving my life, more than once.
All the love,