I’m happiest when…

It’s after close at Barbs.

Nikola is behind the bar playing afro beats. Travis, Ritchie and I are on the other side. Travis asks Nikola to play “Happiness” by The 1975. He’s been listening on headphones all night. Nikola cues it up.

It sounds so good. I’ve only heard it on my computer up to this point. I can feel all the different parts. Adam’s riffing. Matty’s deeper voice. George’s production. Ross’s baseline. And the sax. It’s so good and I get to see Travis in love.

Ritchie feels the groove and starts dancing. And now Ritchie and Travis are dancing. Nikola’s bopping behind the bar. So I stand in the corner and just take it in.

None of them could ever know how The 1975 changed my life and how many people told me I was ridiculous for liking them. For going to their shows. For posting pictures of Matty every day for years. All these really cruel things were said to hurt me and make me feel basic or flakey or misguided or immature or whatever. Mostly just alone, navigating the pity of well-meaning people who saw me as this sad, lost, broken thing.

So to get to this point from where I was in 2016, starting the year in a mental hospital, and then building a life and learning to love it with its flaws and limitations over the next six years…yeah, I just want to stand in a corner and take it all in sometimes.

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