I have always been an over the top music fan, and as a result of that I’ve been severely bullied from the 7th to 12th grade.
I found my solitude within music, however, the more I surrounded myself with it, the more it caused me to drown. If I learned anything over my four years of high school, it is that kids are mean, and will do anything to prevent themselves from being the next target. So, as a result, I was the forever target because of my commitment and enthusiasm for music.
While going through an already tough phase in my life, I struggled with finding the balance of being able to love what I was passionate about, while also fitting in. The only semi-solution I could find was to continuously suppress it. Drinking and partying was almost a right of passage into popularity, however, none of that filled the void like live music did. If you’ve ever been to a concert, you’ll understand the feeling I’m describing.
The jolt of excitement that rushes through your body the moment the lights dim, and the first few chords begin to play. It’s almost as if, for a moment, every single ounce of negativity that has been thrown my way doesn’t matter anymore. For once, it was almost as if I belong.
Regardless of the suppression, I was continuously teased; the worst of it being online. Social media might be an amazing platform for musicians to connect to and update fans with announcements, but people are a lot more confident with mean words when they are behind a screen.
With my adoration of music not being at the forefront of my persona, I eventually equated the bullying as a centralized attack on my being, and I wasn’t sure how much more I could take. I tried ignoring the bullies, reaching out for help, and even went to the extent of attempting to switch schools, however, the constant thrust of words and physical attacks (ie: nasty notes on my locker/eggs thrown at my car) lead me to a point that, when I look back now, I am really not proud of.
I hadn’t gone far enough to write a formal suicide note, because I was at the point where I felt that if the only thing that made me happy caused everyone around me so much affliction, no one would miss me. As fed up with my life as I was, the one thing that would continuously bring me back to the surface was listening to my favorite artists, and finding solitude within the musicality. It was almost fate that my favorite artist had decided to come to town a few weeks before my plan was set to take place, or it is safe to say I would not be here today to write this article.
With what I originally thought to be the last time I would see a concert, it was the moment that saved my life. While being in the environment of fan/artist solidarity, the artist debuted a new song titled ‘Be Alright’, which thankfully dismissed every damaging comment and experience that I had. I’m a big believer in the idea that everything happens for a reason, and because of this moment, I came to the conclusion that, although loving and being involved in music can sometimes cause criticism and alienation, embracing it was the key to my survival.
It wasn’t until my first year of university that I was finally diagnosed with anxiety and depression, however, it was the first time I had felt like I was free from any personal restraints. Life happens… and so do mental health problems. And that’s okay. Once I realized that, although my dedication towards the music industry was feeding the bullying, and ultimately my mental health instabilities, I felt like I was finally strong enough to push past everything and embrace it. I knew that life progressed outside of this harmful sphere, and I am happy to say I am a university graduate, and continue to embrace who I am while studying music, focusing on artist and tour management!
Your mental health matters. Your passions matter. YOU matter. Never forget that.
Cassie Tari is a 20 year old graduate from Western University in London, Ontario Canada, where she studied Media and Information Technoculture. She is currently attending the Metalworks Institute of Sound and Music Production where she will obtain a diploma in Music Business. Cassie’s interest lies in the sector of personal artist or tour management, where she hopes to share her adoration of live music.
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