I don’t know how normal this is but I was apathetic towards most music until I was about twenty-three. The only things I really took a shine to were Queen and They Might Be Giants, but most of the other stuff out there just didn’t appeal to me. My friend were all getting into various shades of heavier stuff like Korn and Slipknot but there was nothing there for me and classical music was fine but there wasn’t much to it for me. None of it stuck with me and the only things I could find that had any kind of pull were soundtracks to the movies and shows that I liked and it wasn’t that I actively disliked any of it. I was just very apathetic. The fact that I was in various school bands during this time likely didn’t help.

This didn’t end up changing until I was twenty-three. It was shortly after the end of my first relationship, which had lasted for five years and was not very healthy. I decided to make a concentrated effort to figure out what music I liked and started with They Might Be Giants and Man or Astro-Man. I had forgotten that I liked Queen by this point, and was buoyed in my task by a gift card to a music site and the rise of stuff like Pandora. I skewed towards the stuff that was either heavily influenced by things I liked or were comedic in nature and it served me well but I was unwilling to share the full extent of what I liked with absolutely anyone and I still have that unwillingness.

I didn’t go to my first show until the early 2000s. It was for the Protomen and I Fight Dragons and I really didn’t like it. I liked the bands but didn’t like the atmosphere and the vibrations and crowd messed with the chemistry of my brain. I wanted to leave shortly after and right when both bands had taken their final bows, I was out of there and on my way home. It was my birthday, and my ex-fiancee had gone with me.

The second show was for They Might Be Giants. My ex-fiancee had gotten me tickets for Christmas, and while I suspect she had gotten them so she could go with me, she was the type to martyr herself and claimed the second ticket was for a friend who had never shown any interest in the band and whose taste in music generally went towards the heavier stuff. We left as soon as the band ended, though I later learned that they had played a few songs afterward.

The third show as part of a local music festival and this, too, happened with the ex-fiancee. Things had been deteriorating for months between us due to various circumstances but we decided to go see Man or Astro-Man anyway. It was transformative, to say the least, and was the night I realized that the only way I was ever going to truly be happy was to change my circumstances radically. The music, whose loudness would usually render me depressed and unwilling to be anywhere, had the opposite effect it usually did and led to that realization. For the first time, I actually felt free and as if I could better myself and my life. Things changed that night.

Several months later, I was out of that relationship and I haven’t been to any shows since. There were some plans that were horribly waylaid by finances and other things, but the most I’ve done since then is tried to get into the heavier music. It no longer depresses me.