I have been anticipating this column since joining In-Between Media.
I am incredibly happy to write about a topic that inspired me to write in the first place. On October 30 I will make the 11-hour drive to Ohio for the second time in one year. The first journey was to the Fantasy Football Convention in Canton, Ohio and I will remember that experience forever.
This time it will be to attend the Twenty One Pilots concert thanks to my amazing wife who waited in a virtual line in the early morning and surprised me with tickets.
Music is always something I have fallen back on to ease my anxiety and depression. Music understands me like no other human being and knows just how to ease my mind. My taste in music has changed more often than Ryan Fitzpatrick has changed teams in the NFL.
During some of my darker days, I gravitated towards the angsty and chaotic sounds of Nine Inch Nails. They helped dig me out of the deepest hole I’ve ever been in life and I am forever loyal to Trent Reznor, the band’s founder for that. While it was nice to find an artist that understood my emotions and depression I needed to find a band that helped me grow and evaluate these feelings and turn them into something positive.
Enter Twenty One Pilots.
It took just one song, “Chlorine,” to reel me in and lead me on an adventure to discover the rest of their catalog. The song and video were so obscure and intriguing that I dove down a rabbit hole of content on YouTube to find the answer.
I ended up with hours, days, and weeks of answers and even more questions. I had entered a universe created by two artists that consisted of characters, themes, and settings far surpassing the storytelling of HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” A universe, so relatable, it’s as if it was taken directly from my mind and explained to me in a way I could finally understand.
Long story short… Twenty One Pilots have taken the demons and insecurities of the human mind and developed them into characters and a plot that is the perfect metaphor for the mental struggles so many of us are feeling each and every day. It would take weeks to break all the details down, but essentially nine bishops from a world called “Dema” (our demons) represent fears such as staying the same, depression, fear of not knowing, losing a loved one, anxiety, self-doubt, change, defeat and abandonment.
Most relatable is the one character that embodies all of these insecurities and gets the best of us each and every day, “Blurryface.” The insecurities that control us and prevent us from moving forward. The one dark personality within us that makes us doubt that we are worthy of love, forgiveness and sometimes life.
Suicide is a very touchy subject in our culture but it is one explored very deep within the lyrics of Twenty One Pilots. It is a necessary conversation and a conversation that can save someone’s life. Although we each have our own unique fight that no one else on earth would understand, sometimes it helps to know that people value you and want to see you succeed. This is perfectly expressed in the song, “Kitchen Sink.”
I can point to countless songs and lyrics that have helped me develop a deeper understanding of myself and have reassured me that I am not alone. But this band is bigger than the lyrics to me. As I continued my research I found countless hidden clues and hints that unlocked secrets within this universe. I discovered Twitter accounts that speak on behalf of these demons and leave clues. I have uncovered theories and plot twists that would put the show “Lost” to shame.
My journey with these artists has made music fun again and not just a representation of my sorrow and self-pity. As an angry and confused kid, I remember wearing headphones for hours each day reciting every line of Eminem’s albums. It didn’t bring me joy or understanding to my pain, it only matched it and justified it. While that music represents that time in my life, it was time to find something that brought me peace, joy, and understanding.
Music can be whatever you need it to be. It can fulfill whatever purpose you need it to at any given time in your life. Twenty One Pilots was exactly what I needed in this chapter in my life when I am embracing more self-reflection and growth. I am beyond excited to share this experience with the one person who has grown beside me ever since we found each other in an equally hopeless place.
Thank you to my wife, Lauren, for paving the way for this incredible adventure.
In addition to this adventure, I recently strayed from my normal hobbies and decided to watch the recent boxing match between Tyson Fury and Deontae Wilder and I was not disappointed.
Tyson Fury vs. Deontae Wilder III: Recap
This fight had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. Every punch was thrown with pure power and I really thought any single one could end it. Maybe this is just me, but I noticed something interesting Tyson Fury was doing during the fight. The two times he was knocked down did not look to be the hardest shots he took for the fight.
It looked to me that Fury purposely dropped each of those times to avoid further damage. This seemed smart to me at that moment. Knockout (KO) punches were imminent in each of those situations and Fury seemed to lackadaisical fall to the mat during both instances. This is speaking from an outsider’s perspective that does not watch boxing, just Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), but Fury did not seem to be in real danger of missing the count.
I have to give it up for both fighters. No shame in Wilder’s defeat. Despite wearing down as the fight went on he was always a clear threat to end the fight and I had to constantly remind myself to breathe. The fake headlock to uppercut move from Fury also seemed extremely creative and I look forward to watching a few more boxing matches that do not involve hoping that Jake Paul gets knocked out.
Until then I look ahead to the big UFC fight card at UFC 267.
UFC 267: Blachowicz vs. Glover Teixeira
There are two titles on the line at UFC 267. The Light Heavyweight Championship and the Interim Bantamweight Championship.
Jan Blachowicz vs. Glover Teixeira
I fully expect Jan Blachowicz to walk away with the victory here. Blachowicz is the only fighter to defeat Israel Adesanya in a professional bout. Glover Teixeira is now 41 years old and has seen a lot of ups and downs in this division. His downs have typically come from fighting top-level opponents in the division. If you are betting on Monkey Knife Fight (MKF) for Knockout Kings, this is the fight I expect to win you some money. Both of these fighters will be looking to win by KO or Technical Knockout (TKO).
Petr Yahn vs. Cory Sandhagen
This fight is for the interim championship, as Petr Yahn lost that belt via disqualification in his last fight. Yahn landed an illegal knee, making Aljamain Sterling the first champion to win the belt by Disqualification (DQ). Prior to that fight, Yahn was on a tear through the division-winning seven straight, with his only loss in the UFC being that DQ.
This will be an exciting fight and both fighters have KO power. This is another fight I will be targeting for MKF Knockout Kings and my money is on Yahn.
“Now the night is coming to an end… The sun will rise and we will try again.” – Twenty One Pilots
Thank you for allowing me to share this. @3rdandShortt