An open letter to Off With Their Heads
A year or so ago, I posted a small snippet of how much OWTH meant to me and felt the uncomfortable panic attack of embarrassment when the singer, Ryan, liked the post. It was never meant to be seen by any of them, but thanks to a mutual friend, Facebook decided to rat me out and let him know I posted a photo that he might have been tagged in.
Fast forward to today, I've decided to write an open letter because I feel like I finally answered my own question.
How could a band that produces some of the saddest lyrics single handedly save me?
Here's a little background on me. I have struggled with severe depression for over a decade. In the last seven to eight years, sprinkle in some anxiety and self-harm. When I decided to start my life over from scratch and move from the west coast all the way to the east coast with barely any notice and having no friends/family to rely on, I decided that I was really going to focus on helping others. So I got Dropkick Depression off the ground and started using my platform as a professional wrestler to help show others that they weren't alone in their mental health struggles.
The entire core philosophy of DD was "You are not alone". A simple statement, but the strongest statement. Although we all end up in our own situations, in our own worlds, we all travel the mental health road together. I remember the night I thought I no longer deserved to live and how alone I felt. How alone I thought I was. I wanted to help even just ONE person realize that it isn't true.
In 2016, I started dating my now-fiancé. He was a member of multiple hardcore bands and listened to mostly hardcore and punk music. I, on the other hand, barely listened to music at all. I was a heavily active athlete my entire childhood up until college days, so almost 7 days a week I was out and doing things where I didn't have time to appreciate music. I didn't really have a favorite band and most music I knew were my parents favorites. So now I'm listening to an entirely new world of music because of him.
I have no idea how I remember this, but one day we were driving to a friend’s house and an acoustic version of OWTH's "Clear the Air" came on. I remember where we were going, I remember what city we were in, I remember what street we were on. It was the first time I ever heard anything of theirs. I didn't think much of it other than "Hey, that was cool, I liked that." A few weeks later, something reminded me of it and I looked them up on Spotify. I exclusively listened to that song for a while before branching out to their other stuff.
A few years later, I realized that the majority of the time I was listening to them on shuffle on Spotify. Working out? OWTH. Bored at home? OWTH. Driving to a show? OWTH. Tuning people out at work? OWTH. Something about their music, their lyrics, and most importantly Ryan's voice connected with me. I related to the whole vibe of OWTH and it never got old. Even now, 3 years later as I type this out, I'm listening to "Trying To Breathe". But here's where we come to my question - How could a band that produces some of the saddest lyrics single handedly save me?
Although my depression for the most part has faded, it has been replaced with the worst anxiety. I stress out and get anxious constantly. I have a very high stress job, I'm planning a wedding, I live in a very expensive state, I run Dropkick Depression, etc. I've started having anxiety attacks where my brain will just shut down completely and I'll just cry. I'm useless in that situation. It has started happening at work to the point where I forget basic functions, like how to save a document. Then I realized if I have my headphones in, I can tune out a lot of the stress. What do I put on? OWTH. If I'm in a very anxious state and non-functioning, I put on "Focus On Your Own Family". It's my go-to "I'm not going to make it another few minutes before I fully collapse into a puddle of nothingness. I never understood the correlation, I just knew that my favorite band made me feel a little better and would stop me from attacks.
Last night, it finally hit me and spawned this entire idea to fully air my feelings.
They produce some of the saddest lyrics because these are situations that one or more of them have been through. The things that I relate to, the feelings I relate to, the vibe I relate to - It's because I'm not the only one that has gone through it. My entire goal with Dropkick Depression is to show that "you are not alone" and for some reason that never actually seeped into my brain enough for me to realize that I myself am also not alone.
I feel worthless sometimes, I feel sad sometimes, I feel like I'm never going to make it. Other people feel that too. Not only do other people feel that too, but can create beautiful, well put together music and lyrics. Thought evoking beautiful, well put together music and lyrics. Songs that make me feel togetherness over my anxiousness or depression.
I love OWTH because they show me that I'm not alone and although I may be an anxious ball of mess, I can still bring something beautiful to this world.
Thank you OWTH.
Thank you Ryan.