I’m home for thanksgiving, and going through old stuff at my parents house. Found some great stuff, like a college application essay that I wrote in 2010 about how important AFI is to me. I have no idea what the essay prompt was. Here it is below:
““Once there was a boy who had a vibrant glow.” As an eight year old, much thought wasn’t put into those lyrics, cascading from the speakers as I landed an ollie. As far as I was concerned, I was Tony Hawk, and I was mastering the Toronto course. The only thing that held my attention was the Gamecube controller in my hands. The author of the lyrics was not known to me, let alone the exact words. Nothing could’ve gave way that I would listen to this song, and over 150 more by the same band, a mere five years later.
Upon the fall of eighth grade, I rediscovered those lyrics from long ago. “Once there was a boy who had a vibrant glow, but as it goes, someone took it from him.” While flipping through TV channels, a music video caught my eye. Once finished, I ran downstairs to the computer, attempting to uncover more about the artist. I learned that the artist was the band AFI, which stands for “a fire inside.” After a few more days of research, the present connected with the past. The song I loved five years earlier was also by AFI. From that day on, a new world had opened up. Such aggressive and passionate music was not known to me before, and I was instantly enthralled.
With the addition of black nail polish and punk music to my daily routine, my parents weren’t quite sure what to think. Was I dissatisfied with my life? Was I acting out? In reality, it was quite the opposite. I no longer dwelled on what others thought of me. I had the raw power and emotion of AFI within me. Music helped me to express and better understand myself. Sure, kids thought I was weird and strange when I wore my AFI t-shirts and sweatshirts to school, but it was those items that made most comfortable with my surroundings. With my love of AFI, it was if I was invincible.
After a few months, it was not just the music that greatly captivated me, but also the band members themselves. While spending endless hours reading and analyzing hundreds of lyrics, my curiosity grew for whoever wrote them. I was intrigued by the number of times I reached for the dictionary while reading lyrics to define words such as “malevolence” and “porphyria.” Upon research of the band members, I found that they were indeed intellects, practiced veganism and vegetarianism, and were strongly against drugs and alcohol. These things happen to be pretty out of character for a punk-rock band, and only made me appreciate the band that much more. During this time I became a vegetarian and spent a large portion of time attempting to increase my vocabulary.
Following the completion of eight grade, my love for AFI stuck. That summer, I had the amazing opportunity to see them live at Summerfest. Eagerly I waited in the pouring rain for five hours with a friend for the show, and it was worth every second. My first concert was an unbelievable experience, from the Australians to the right of me to trying to perform the act of maintaining my balance while standing on the soaked, metal bleachers. Three years later, I was ecstatic to have the chance to see AFI live again, but this time at Lollapalooza.
The summer before my senior year, I was still the same giddy, awe-struck teen in the audience during the concert. I ended up losing a shoe during the experience, but didn’t care at all due to the complete euphoria. Even through all the changes that had happened within the past three years of high school, from friends, to boyfriends, to sports, in that moment of time it seemed like none of that mattered. Although I was nearing my seventeenth birthday, during that hour and a half, part of me was still the ultra-confident thirteen year old who wasn’t embarrassed to get lost in her music. With tears of joy streaming down my face, it gave me great comfort to know that after everything, my love for AFI stayed constant. The fire inside me has continued to burn for four years now, and continues to burn brighter every day.”
I stopped following AFI for a few years during the burials and blood eras, but I can say with confidence that the fire within me is burning brighter now than ever before. Anyone else have fun old AFI-related writings, drawings etc to share?