I Am A Concert Fanatic, And I Am Not Ashamed

I Am A Concert Fanatic, And I Am Not Ashamed

"It's okay to love something maybe a little too much as long as it's real to you."
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I still remember the experience of my first concert like it was yesterday. It was the final show of the OP Presents Tour; the headlining act was my then-favorite band, Boys Like Girls.

I’d been counting down the days for what felt like forever. I remember the rush of adrenaline I felt as my cousin, my sister, my mom and I joined the long line wrapping around the venue. I remember listening to the chatter of the people around me, observing them and picking out the band tees and worn-out Converse low-tops that matched mine exactly. When you’re thirteen, all that seems to matter is fitting in and feeling like you belong, and for the first time, I did. Some had brought warm blankets with them, a sign of true dedication, since they knew they’d be waiting for several hours out in the November cold. And then, finally, feeling my heart skip a beat as the line started moving.

Seeing my all-time favorite band burst onto the stage was more thrilling than I ever could’ve expected. Being part of that crowd, that group of hundreds of strangers, united by our love for the music; hearing my favorite songs played live right in front of me and singing along; feeding off of that energy shared by everyone in the room—it was unlike anything I’d ever experienced before. And of course I’d taken a gazillion pictures and videos so that I could relive it all over again the next day.

After that first concert, I caught the bug and I was hooked. I even traveled to different states a few times for those special shows with killer lineups that I just could not miss. To this day, I have probably been to at least thirty concerts, and the looks of surprise I get from people when I tell them this never gets old. I have to explain to them that concert-going isn’t just a hobby, but a lifestyle for me.

Now that I’m a junior in college, I don’t get the chance to attend concerts nearly as often as I did in high school. But I still consider my love for live music one of the most important parts of me (and of course I still snatch up tickets whenever I do get the opportunity!). Those seven years of road-tripping to see my favorite bands, of waiting in lines in the summer heat at Warped Tour to get photos with them, of decorating t-shirts with their lyrics and album art and getting tons of compliments on them, were a defining period of my life. One of the best and most memorable parts of it was the overwhelming sense of community and solidarity it brought, especially at the smaller venues. In my normal, everyday surroundings, it was pretty rare to find even one person who felt as strongly about certain bands as I did, and some people even made fun of me for how “obsessed” I was. But once I was there, at the show, surrounded by people who understood, I felt right in my element. I probably spent hundreds of dollars on tickets and mercy during those years, and I do not feel one ounce of regret. Having those experiences helped me figure out who I was as a teenager and brought me so much happiness and wholeness, and now I have amazing memories to hold onto forever. Now, one of my adult goals is to become financially secure enough to travel to shows and music festivals all over the world.

I know that concerts will always be a huge source of happiness and comfort for me, and it feels pretty special to have developed an interest in my early teens that has stuck with me into my twenties. For those reasons, I feel absolutely no shame in my concert history, and acknowledge the nostalgia I feel even for bands I no longer listen to or care for. My taste will probably continue to change and evolve as I get older, but I will always owe my passion for live music to those early days and they will always mean the world to me. I plan on being an avid concert-goer until I can’t walk anymore, and if people want to call me crazy for that, I’m okay with it. Because, in the words of Gerard Way, former frontman of the beloved emo band My Chemical Romance, being at a show is all about “singing your heart out, and knowing it’s okay to love something maybe a little too much as long as it’s real to you.”

Cover Image Credit: Ariana Leo

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I'm A Woman And You Can't Convince Me Breastfeeding In Public Is OK In 2019

Sorry, not sorry.

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Lately, I have seen so many people going off on social media about how people shouldn't be upset with mothers breastfeeding in public. You know what? I disagree.

There's a huge difference between being modest while breastfeeding and just being straight up careless, trashy and disrespectful to those around you. Why don't you try popping out a boob without a baby attached to it and see how long it takes for you to get arrested for public indecency? Strange how that works, right?

So many people talking about it bring up the point of how we shouldn't "sexualize" breastfeeding and seeing a woman's breasts while doing so. Actually, all of these people are missing the point. It's not sexual, it's just purely immodest and disrespectful.

If you see a girl in a shirt cut too low, you call her a slut. If you see a celebrity post a nude photo, you call them immodest and a terrible role model. What makes you think that pulling out a breast in the middle of public is different, regardless of what you're doing with it?

If I'm eating in a restaurant, I would be disgusted if the person at the table next to me had their bare feet out while they were eating. It's just not appropriate. Neither is pulling out your breast for the entire general public to see.

Nobody asked you to put a blanket over your kid's head to feed them. Nobody asked you to go feed them in a dirty bathroom. But you don't need to basically be topless to feed your kid. Growing up, I watched my mom feed my younger siblings in public. She never shied away from it, but the way she did it was always tasteful and never drew attention. She would cover herself up while doing it. She would make sure that nothing inappropriate could be seen. She was lowkey about it.

Mindblowing, right? Wait, you can actually breastfeed in public and not have to show everyone what you're doing? What a revolutionary idea!

There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby. It's something you need to do, it's a part of life. But there is definitely something wrong with thinking it's fine to expose yourself to the entire world while doing it. Nobody wants to see it. Nobody cares if you're feeding your kid. Nobody cares if you're trying to make some sort of weird "feminist" statement by showing them your boobs.

Cover up. Be modest. Be mindful. Be respectful. Don't want to see my boobs? Good, I don't want to see yours either. Hard to believe, I know.

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My AP Environmental Science Class' Cookie Mining Experiment Shows Why Capitalism Is Destroying The Planet

Who cares about the environment with profits this high?

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With the AP exams in May approaching quickly, my AP Environmental Science class has wasted no time in jumping right into labs. To demonstrate the damage to the environment done by strip mining, we were instructed to remove the chocolate chips from cookies.

The experiment in itself was rather simple. We profited from fully or partially extracted chips ($8 for a full piece and $4 for a partial) and lost from buying tools, using time and area and incurring fines.

This might seem simplistic, but it showcased the nature of disastrous fossil fuel companies.

We were fined a $1 per minute we spent mining. It cost $4 per tool we bought (either tweezers or paper clips) and 50 cents for every square centimeter of cookie we mined.

Despite the seemingly overbearing charges compared to the sole way to profit, it was actually really easy to profit.

If we found even a partial chocolate chip per minute, that's $3 profit or utilization elsewhere. Tools were an investment that could be made up each with a partial chip, and clearly we were able to find much, much more than just one partial chip per tool.

Perhaps the most disproportionally easiest thing to get around were the fines. We were liable to be fined for habitat destruction, dangerous mining conditions with faulty tools, clutter, mess and noise level. No one in the class got fined for noise level nor faulty tools, but we got hit with habitat destruction and clutter, both of which added up to a mere $6.

We managed to avoid higher fines by deceiving our teacher by pushing together the broken cookie landscapes and swiping away the majority of our mess before being examined for fining purposes. This was amidst all of our cookies being broken into at least three portions.

After finding many, many chips, despite the costs of mining, we profited over $100. We earned a Franklin for destroying our sugary environment.

We weren't even the worst group.

It was kind of funny the situations other groups simulated to their cookies. We were meant to represent strip mining, but one group decided to represent mountaintop removal. Mountaintop removal is where companies go to extract resources from the tops of mountains via explosions to literally blow the tops off. This group did this by literally pulverizing their cookies to bits and pieces with their fists.

They incurred the maximum fine of $45. They didn't profit $100, however.

They profited over $500 dollars.

In the context of our environmental science class, these situations were anywhere from funny to satisfying. In the context of the real world, however, the consequences are devastating our environment.

Without even mentioning the current trajectory we're on approaching a near irreversible global temperature increase even if we took drastic measures this moment, mining and fracking is literally destroying ecosystems.



We think of earthquakes as creating mass amounts of sudden movement and unholy deep trenches as they fracture our crust. With dangerous mining habits, we do this ourselves.

Bigger companies not even related to mining end up destroying the planet and even hundreds of thousands of lives. ExxonMobil, BP? Still thriving in business after serial oil spills over the course of their operation. Purdue Pharma, the company who has misled the medical community for decades about the effects of OxyContin and its potential for abuse, is still running and ruining multitudes more lives every single day.

Did these companies receive fines? Yes.

But their business model is too profitable to make the fines have just about any effect upon their operation.

In our cookie mining simulation, we found that completely obliterating the landscape was much more profitable than being careful and walking on eggshells around the laws. Large, too-big-to-fail companies have held the future of our planet in their greedy paws and have likewise pulverized our environment, soon enough to be unable to return from.

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