Every once in a while, a song successfully molds me into who I really am, fixes me, and teaches me.

I have acquired a hunger for live music. My first concert was very much like the first day of high school, except with students a whole lot older and a whole lot smellier than me. I was the new kid aching to be a social butterfly, while keeping to myself. When I bumped into someone, I would say, “I’m so sorry,” when they didn’t seem to care.

The thing about hardcore and punk is that it gives you no choice but to feel free and act without restriction. Unlike the educational institutions I knew, it wouldn’t matter if you were a girl or boy, black or white, loud or quiet, or anywhere in between. We were all one.

I saw members of the crowd lift their hands up, or sway, or cry. I saw the older men carry strangers as they crowd-surfed, making sure they made their way to the front without falling. I saw the singer on stage make direct eye contact with someone who really needed to know that he or she mattered. At that very moment, I knew that this is what I would live for.

After that day, I found myself needing to feel infinite again. Each show was like someone telling me, “You’re going to be fine” or “You’re welcome here. We love you.”

I made wonderful memories and found that I could fit in somewhere. It’s more than just music to me; it’s my life support.

I couldn’t handle the dead silence that existed around me or the lifeless answers I was given. At the music venues, I learned more about myself than in therapy. I learned more about what my future would look like than I did at school. I learned what love could really be.

This essay was written by a participant of the Teen Voices Rising program of WriteBoston. It first appeared in the publication Teens in Print.