2018, chapter 17: ‘Stressed Out’ by Twenty One Pilots (nr. 129)

Two girls have left society behind. Little Mix misses her childhood innocence.

Little Mix is a singer. She wishes she could do something more creative with her music. She wishes she was a better singer in general. Sing better with better words and new chord orders and sounds. Not rhyme every time. She was told that her fears would shrink when she got older, but they just turned into insecurities and caring what people think…

Sometimes a smell will take her back to her childhood with her brother at their home a stone’s throw from a creek. She can never identify where it’s coming from. If she could, she would make a candle out of it, not that it would sell. But it would remind both her and her brother of a time when nothing really mattered. She wishes she could hide in a tree house and not worry about her student loans. A lot of people probably feel that way.

Both she and her brother both wished they could turn back time to the good old days when their mother sang them to sleep. When they played pretend, built rocket ships and gave each other different names. Now the world was telling them that they needed to make money. It stressed them out. Her brother even started copying their words and repeating them to Little Mix. She doesn’t want that to happen to her too…

Rain falls on the windows as they drive on. Her face is reflected back at her in a blur. Little Mix, real name bunny, looks at herself and thinks: “I’m free now. I only have to care about what I think”.

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112: ‘Me Too’ by Meghan Trainor

Fergie has led a double-life, but now the secret is out.

Luckily, it only elevates her fame. From being a bit of an outlier, she becomes a celebrity. Everyone wants to be her. And finally, she is happy with herself. She thanks God every day that she can wake up loving herself.

Fame brings admiration, VIP rooms with her friends and free drinks.

She is accepted and happy. She longer needs Will‘s friendship or Evanescence‘s love.

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Another year has gone by, Another story over, a new one can begin.

To newcomers: I start out every year with a fresh start. A new story with a new focus. It’s in the same universe and has connections to the previous ones, but it’s easier to understand because the backstory is limited to the bare necessities. Will I reuse the same characters? Will it be completely new? We’ll see.

Merry Christmas, happy new year and any other holiday taking place in the immediate future or recent past.

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111: ‘Only Prettier’ by Miranda Lambert

Last time Sara met her siblings went less than well.

That is a long time ago now. And one late night, she sees them out with their friends. Sara is sitting and talking with King. They notice her and push away their high life friends, so they don’t see her, before walking up to her.

Sara has missed them and has softened significantly since last time. Still, she can’t herself from mocking them by thanking for saving her from talking to their friends with their southern charm. She comments on how they are still so well-behaved, just like their parents wanted.

She, however, offers up a handshake and a truce. She doesn’t want a fight. They can just agree to disagree and make amends, even though they don’t like each other. They’re after all not that different – Sara is just prettier (same can be said for her friends compared to theirs).

She offers them a drink, but they say no because they’re trying to lose weight. And true, they both weigh 100 pounds and stand 5 foot 3.

So she just says “bless your heart” and buys another drink for herself.

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110: ‘Slut Like You’ by P!nk

Fergie has two separate lives.

In one, she’s a pretty pop star. This is how she makes a living. Her image here is a facade.

In another, she goes partying. This is her break. Here she can be crazy and completely herself.

She has managed to keep these lives separate since her partying would hurt her pop star image. Until one night.

She is at this point very drunk. She meets a guy, who recognises her as a pop star. He, however, seems to be looking for the same thing she is; a one-night-stand. She is so relieved she tells him the whole truth.

She goes out, now primarily with other girls also looking for men to take home. They don’t really care all that much about them. But she doesn’t go home with just anyone. And she makes it clear to the guy (what was his name again? Jack? Sam?) that she’s the one in control. She’s not the fool being convinced by him, he is. She’s even the one buying him shots.

He doesn’t seem convinced though and starts to leave. She tries to convince him to stay by calling him a caveman.

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109: ‘Good To Be A Man’ by Elle King

Sara doesn’t just dance. She also gets a good talk.

Sara does not have the best opinion of men. And King, the guy she is talking to, does nothing to help that opinion. In his defence, he owns up to it. He admits to not having a conscience and not feeling bad for the awful things he says.

This makes him a perfect target for Sara’s venting: About men drinking until they get mean, chewing tobacco, always having to be right, cheating and just doing dumb things because they should. She tells a story about a guy she knew, who got stuck in a ditch, which she knew, he would.

They agree that being a man is damn good these days.

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108: ‘Lose It’ by Oh Wonder

Sara has been messing with an ex-boyfriend’s emotions as revenge. That has however reminded her, that she hasn’t felt this kind of intimacy in a long time. Now she misses it.

So she goes out and finds someone to dance with. She doesn’t even know their name, but she gets the sense of closeness. Her dance partner is so skinny, she can feel their bones beneath their skin. She feels a blood rush in the hazy glow, her heart skips a beat.

Her dance partner feels it too. They look at her wide-eyed. There is a spark between them, a fire in a silver dream. It’s a simple connection, presence in its most basic state.

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107: ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ by Taylor Swift

Taylor has been hurt. Others have set her up to look like a villain. Said the gun was hers. Fine, they get what they ask for.

She trusted them with her home, and they locked her out and threw a feast. They even laughed as they lied.

She had been nice. But she soon got harder and smarter. Now the nice Taylor is dead. A new Taylor rises from her grave.  And they’ll just have to wait for her revenge. She has them on a list, underlined in red.

She is now an outcast. But that just makes it easier for her to stalk them. She will be the actress starring in their bad dreams.

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106: ‘Not Afraid’ by Eminem

This is a flashback from when Slim, the rapper who was an inspiration to Sara, still had daughters to raise.

Slim was a rapper then too. He had a friend and a faith.

Then he went to a bad place; he started drinking.

Now he was out of it and he wanted to lead his fans who were also in a bad place out with him. Nothing would stop him from doing this.

He had not been popular while he was drinking. He had made some bad albums (named Infinite and Relapse) but kept making music. He was married to the game, and couldn’t stop. This made people doubt his talent and look down on him.

Dre, his friend had been particularly critical, not even recognising his work as rap. He had even insulted him publicly while calling himself king. Thus Slim had lost all respect for his former mentor and cut contact with him.

He promised his fans he would never let them down again. He even admitted that the Relapse album wasn’t very good. Maybe he ran the accents into the ground. He won’t go back to that again.

He was not just leading the fans out a dark place. He was saving himself from the dark cloud still following him around. He would face his own demons as well.

He wanted them to walk this road together, hand in hand, through the storm, cold and warm weather. The important thing was making clear that they were not alone.

This was also his way of paying back the fans for seeing him through his drinking.

Now he would not concern himself with haters and former friends. He would focus on his responsibilities as a father. He was strong enough to resist drinking and be an inspiration to his fans.

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105: ‘Live Forever’ by The Band Perry

Will and Taylor are having a baby. This makes Taylor reflect one night.

She has dodged commitment for years, created warlike fights, so she wouldn’t get hurt and fought stability off as if she was a ship unwilling to reach shore.

Now she is ready for commitment. Will will be her only one. This time she wants it all, live forever with him, really let herself fall.

Her love for Will is like a storm inside, an electrified force, a thunder in her heart.

She also thinks about the uncertainty of this prospect. Forever is a long time. This could be a dream, but there are also so many ways, this could end.

But it’s fine. If they stay young and crazy, everything will be fine.

She tells this to Will the following evening.

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104: ‘Here’s To Never Growing Up’ by Avril Lavigne

Will is having a baby. He tells Fergie, his friend. She’s happy for him, of course, but realises that this means that he will eventually stop going out partying with her. This throws her into a panic. These nights out have been the first time, she can be herself ever. She NEEDS them to continue!

So she tries to convince him to keep doing this forever by inviting all of their friends for the next night out. She reminds him how much fun they are having. For instance by singing Radiohead at the top of their lungs to a boom box, falling in love with new people, drinking whatever will get them drunk, running down the street yelling “Kiss my ass”, dancing on every bar…

She raises her cup, declaring “here’s to never growing up”, keeps saying, they’re never going to change and tries to get him to say that he’ll stay forever young too (with increasingly more desperation).

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