When I was 13 years old, I was an idiot. This was unfortunately the year where I, along with the rest of America’s youth went through our “emo phase.” My wardrobe consisted of band t-shirts that were three sizes too large for me, and jeans that were two sizes too large for me. My make-up consisted of black eyeliner and nothing else. My identity crisis was topped off with the love of emo rock music, listening to bands like Weezer, Fall Out Boy, Greenday, Linkin Park and my all-time favorite, My Chemical Romance. MCR was la crème for me. Their music was catchy and really resonated with my tortured preteen soul.
My mother being the young and hip mom that she was, got me tickets for my birthday to go to my first concert to see MCR at the Warped Tour. I was beyond excited. At the time, seeing the lead singer Gerard Way in person was something I only dared dream about.
It was a hot summer day in July when we went to the concert. This was in Atlanta, GA so a hot day is like 90 degrees Fahrenheit. It took over an hour for my mom and I to wriggle our way to the front row of the crowd. We got a perfect spot right up against the metal fence right as MCR walked on stage to start the performance. Then, I got to see what being at a rock concert looked like. The band played their first note and the crowd went wild. People started jumping up and down, mosh pitting and crowd surfing. My mom freaked out. It was her first rock concert as well. Within minutes, a guy fell on top of me since I was too short and weak to help him continue crowd surfing. My mother saw and immediately responded by grabbing the guy and throwing him off of me. She was a natural for this type of event. Everything was so chaotic! Despite the fact that we were in the front row, I could barely enjoy the performance; I was too preoccupied trying to protect myself from everyone who surrounded me.
By the third song, the heat, the violence and the screaming overwhelmed me. I couldn’t breathe. I tried to stay calm, because despite the fact that I felt like I was experiencing my first panic attack, I didn’t want my mom to see and force me to leave. I’d been dreaming about this concert for months! But, my mother doesn’t miss a beat, or a breath for that matter. She immediately noticed that I was unwell and screamed at the security guard on the other side of the metal fence to get me out. He saw me and with one arm, effortlessly picked me up by the waist and brought me to the other side. I was directed to a first-aid tent that was on the side of the stage. There were three other girls who had actually fainted from the heat and being in the crowd. This was only minutes into the performance of the main band! A nurse gave me water, but once I caught my breath I started panicking again because I was 13 and I had lost my mommy. I didn’t know how I was going to find her since she was still stuck in the crowd, and I was on the side of the stage. Yup, I was/am a really big baby. Once the tears started spilling over, I saw my mom walk up to the first-aid tent, and then ask me nonchalantly, “What’s wrong?” I explained I was worried I wasn’t going to be able to find her. She laughed at me.
She revealed that immediately after she screamed at the security guard to grab me out of the audience, she asked him to do the same for her by pretending that she also couldn’t breathe. Although, she embarrassingly admitted that she was not as east to pluck from the crowd as I was. The security guard couldn’t just pick her up with one hand like he did me. She laughed as she explained that two guys behind her had to help her by pushing her over the fence.
We enjoyed the rest of the concert from the side of the stage where we had as much space as we wanted. When the concert ended something miraculous happened. The band exited on the side of the stage where we were! Gerard Way was 10 feet away from me. The third panic attack started. It was a really stressful day for me! My mom saw my eyes bulge and suggested that I go over and ask for an autograph and a picture. There were only about 10 other fans who were in this backstage area, but they all had backstage passes; I feared we’d get kicked out. I said to my mom, “You don’t just go up to Gerard Way mom.” I was content just admiring him from afar and didn’t want the moment to end by asking for too much and then getting kicked out. Yea the fan-girl crush with Gerard Way was huge. My mom rolled her eyes at me, and walked up to him with no fear. She didn’t listen to MCR’s music so to her he was just another guy who happened to wear a lot of black eyeliner. I looked like a deer in headlights. I didn’t know if I should follow her or stay where I was. My fear told me to stay put.
After a couple of minutes of watching my mom casually converse with the man of my dreams, they both looked over at me, and my mom beckoned me to walk over. I made my way toward Gerard Way with my heart pounding a hundred beats a second. I couldn’t think of what to do or say. My mom carried the conversation by saying, “This is my daughter, I took her to your concert as her birthday present, because she loves you guys.” Gerard Way smiles at me. He SMILED at me and asked, “What’s your name?” You know, I think it was kind of unfair of him to ask such a difficult question. I was in a very fragile state and was not prepared to handle this type of interrogation. I blanked. Yea, I forgot my name.
Once too many seconds went by without me saying anything, my mom took the reins again and introduced me since I was clearly incapable of doing so myself. Gerard flashed another gorgeous smile my way and said that it was really nice to meet me. I was able to respond this time with a smile. No words, just a smile. My mom decided to win herself mother of the year award by asking him for an autograph and a picture. Being the sweetheart that he is, Gerard obliged and I was able to eternalize the greatest and stupidest moment of my life.