Warrior Words: Even on your own, you are not alone*

It’s a Thursday night, and while I should be studying for my AP Bio test on eukaryotic cells, I am standing with my friend in Central Park, waiting for the lights to dim. We chat and giggle with strangers, contemplating whether Pope Francis — who was right around the corner — would be making an appearance at this Walk the Moon concert. Everything seems relatively calm and organized, that is, until the thrum of a drumbeat begins and screams erupt from the audience around us.

Suddenly, we are chaos, belting out words we know by heart, swaying to the rhythm like it was flowing through our bloodstreams. Colors and flashes flourish before my eyes and I blend with my favorite songs, forgetting that I am a slightly crazed student, instead feeling like just a person dancing with my arms in the air. This is life, I think to myself, as I bop up and down to the chorus of  Shut Up and Dance.

Of all the things I came to love in high school — from chemistry to blazers to Brussels sprouts sprinkled with sea salt — one of the things I grew to adore the most was music. When I was a freshman, I knew a few bands, but most of my song selections were off the Top 40 charts. (Needless to say Taylor Swift’s We Are Never Getting Back Together was my ninth grade jam.) It wasn’t until the summer before sophomore year when my friend from California handed me her iPod and said, “Hey, listen to this, I think you’ll like it.” New artists like Ed Sheeran and Mumford & Sons crept their way into my ears and musical library, and my love for indie music was born.

Every time I put in my earbuds and scroll through iTunes, I plunge headfirst into a time capsule I never knew was in my back pocket. I listened to The City by The 1975 as I dozed off to sleep on a cold November evening in Paris, Fancy by Iggy Azalea (no shame here) the first time I drove myself to school, Ash by Mop Mop in a limousine with my date on the way to junior prom. Each song is an anchor to the past, reminding me of who I was, what I liked, and where I’ve gone since then. Sometimes, I move so fast that it’s soothing to slow down and have a minute alone to listen and let nostalgia sink in.

But sometimes, I don’t want to listen by myself: sometimes, I call someone over to pull up a chair, pop a squat, and put in the right earbud to match my left one. At 16, 17, 18, we often feel lonely or isolated from others, that no one “gets” our joy or anguish, but when we come together at a table in the library or on the floor of a concert venue to hear the same lyrics, we begin to understand each other. We’ve all had a crush that went horribly awry, someone leave who we thought would always stay, a night so wonderful it can only be explained with a smile: a song is all it takes to remind us that we are not alone in what we go through.

So, as Walk the Moon concludes their concert with Anna Sun, a song about finishing four long years of classes, friendships, and adventures, my friend and I look at each other with a knowing grin, for we, just like everyone else, are “gonna rattle this town” and write stories of our own one day. To quote Nick, the lead singer, though “we are different colors, we carry each other” with unspoken empathy, our passion for lyrics binding us together through the roller coaster that is high school.

*Lyrics from the Walk the Moon song Portugal.

Abby Schiff is a senior at Wilton High School. She shares this column with four classmates.