The Time I Was Almost in a Teen Band.
My best friend in 8th and 9th grade, Mikhal Akram, and I were going to start a band someday. We were going to call ourselves The Scum.
The name came about accidentally when Mikhal and I were on one of our middle school-marathon phone calls. I made a comment, “I really like this gum.”
“Wait. What did you say?!” Mikhal sounded excited about my statement. I was confused.
“Uh…I really like this gum…?”
“That’s it! Our band name!”
After 9th grade, my family moved from Pakistan to The Philippines. I never saw Mikhal again.
We exchanged letters and mixtapes for a few years. He went to school in New York to study music and I was in-and-out of college in Seattle.
We never started our band but I had dreams that we would someday.
A few years later, I found out that Mikhal had died. A freak accident at a friend’s Halloween party.
Teen Mental Wellness, Cultural Ageism, and Music.
I think about Mikhal often and about the music we never made together. I think about my undiagnosed depressed teenage self and how much I would have benefited from playing music in a band.
Alas, I was shy, self-conscious and seemingly paralyzed by depression and anxiety. I didn’t play in bands but I was able to find solace and release by writing and playing music solo. #bedroomsessions
Being a teenager isn’t easy; especially when you don’t have a support system to guide and support you. The teen years make up a highly confusing, emotional and, at times, overwhelming developmental stage.
Yet, as adults, we often forget the first-hand experience of teen-hood and we, too quickly, write teenagers off as being dramatic, out-of-control, attention-seeking, and overly emotional.
This perspective tells me more about our culture and how much our society and institutions misunderstand, over-look, and discard teenagers. Ageism is rife and well, folks.
Teenagers are some of the most thoughtful, ingenious, inspiring, curious, adventurous resilient, and highly creative people. I intend to exemplify their incredible qualities and abilities by supporting local teen bands and unearthing to you, these dedicated teenage musicians and their music.