How the band O-town helped me get through my depression

Music is one of the most powerful of all man-made creations. It has the power to bring people together, to single-handedly change a person's mood, to inspire and make people feel less alone.

I think this quote in "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" by Stephen Chbosky describes music best, "Many people got through a lot of bad times because of those songs. And how many people enjoyed good times with those songs. ... I hope the people who wrote those songs are happy. I hope they feel it's enough. I really do because they've made me happy. And I'm only one person.”

You may say it was the Beatles or the Rolling Stones or Led Zeppelin or Michael Jackson that, as a kid, first inspired you.

But as a girl growing up in the 90's during the boy band era, O-town was the first band to really inspire me. Theirs was the first concert I went to (although, at 11 years old, I was pretty shocked to find out what "Liquid Dreams" really meant). They were the first band I ever met and the first autographs I ever received.

This past weekend, for one night, I got to relive this feeling, and it felt like I was a preteen all over again (except, this time, I got to drink specialty cocktails). The four remaining members of O-town (Jacob Underwood, Erik-Michael Estrada, Trevor Penick, and Dan Miller) performed at The Crofoot in Pontiac, Mich. on Saturday night and hundreds of women (and some men) in their late 20s and early 30s gathered to relive their teenybopper years. I can't even tell you the last time I had been so excited for something.

The reason this band has been such a huge part of my life is because they helped me through the toughest years of my life thus far — middle school.

In middle school, I was the first girl in my class to get a pimple, right at the tip of my nose which ensued in me being called "Rudolph," and the last in my class to develop boobs. I was shy and awkward with both glasses AND braces (oh how the start of puberty failed me). I didn't trust people and I hated myself. I felt ugly all the time, and I didn't want to participate in any after school activities because of how low my self-esteem was. When I got out of school, all I wanted was to go home and be alone.

And then I listened to the song "Shy Girl" on O-town's first album. I listened to the words, "You might think you're nothing special. You might be losing hope. But baby don't you realize how beautiful you really are." When I listened to that song on repeat, I felt less alone or like something was wrong with me.

I got over my phone anxiety because of them — calling the local radio station on, at least, a weekly basis to play "All or Nothing." And it was their songs "From the Damage" and "These are the Days" from their sophomore album O2 that helped me cope with  my first heartbreak.

If you don't know who O-town is, here is a little background: O-town was formed during the first season of ABCs "Making the Band" in 1999. I loved that it was a group of regular guys who made up the band and that the members were diverse. I loved that there was no frontman (like *cough*cough* other boy bands during the time) and that they all got their turn at solos.

I was front row at the band's first ever live TV performance in 2000 on "Regis and Kathie Lee." The following year, at age 12, I went to my first ever concert — O-town at the Tulip Festival in Holland, Mich. And, guess what? The hotel we were staying at — O-town just happened to be staying there too!

Even though I wasn't wearing any make-up and even though I wasn't one of the girls with cleavage and a low cut tank top, the guys of O-town paid attention to me. They talked to me, they let me take several pictures with them, and they signed multiple pictures for me. And, for that moment, I forgot to be depressed. I forgot to be self conscious. For the first time, I actually felt "cool." I made friends with several fans, and I felt like I belonged.

I hope that these guys can know how they and their music changed my life for the better.

Let me know in the comments: What was the musician(s) that inspired you most? Who do you listen to when you feel depressed?

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