There's a lot to be said for the value of a family, but there are not enough words for the value of the Echelon. We are more than a community; we are the friendliest cult out there. We are more than a family; we are each other's spirits. We bring each other hope, while gently relaying tragedy. We bleed together. We also prosper together. When one is down, there are a thousand virtual hugs being squeezed into their being; whether we know each other or not, the Echelon is always there. The band is our light, our sun, the thing we orbit around and live our lives for. We hold more value to each other than we will ever realize. My recent experiences with the person manning this project showed that to me.
I found 30 Seconds to Mars when I was only 10; still awfully young, new to the world despite being alive a decade. They caught my attention with the music video for "From Yesterday". To me, it was art. An interesting plunge into the world of music that didn't lurk on the radio, played time and time again. During the summer, I snuck A Beautiful Lie from the library, unsure how my mother would react to the thought of her daughter listening to...heavier music. I felt so rebellious; I laugh at that now, and it brings me a sliver of joy. I wasn't as in to music as I am now, so the CD merely impressed me and didn't stick with me. It was on my iPod as good thinking music, inspiration for the poetry I was writing. Time passed, and I grew up. Music became an obsession, and I discovered how amazing 30 Seconds to Mars was, and still is. Each of their songs became my favorite (though I will say, it's "Capricorn" that has held me rapt these days) while I plunged into the world they created. Each glyph, each "goodbye" screamed to the plucking of guitar strings was magic, and the joy this band was brought me is incredible.
30 Seconds to Mars helped me survive my depression, which is something I can never pay them back for. Months ago, during the summer going into my eighth grade year, I fell into a state of sadness that I kept to myself for quite some time; nothing spurred it, yet is was consuming and maddening. Each day it threatened to eat me alive, gnawing on the beings of my sanity. Even my family couldn't, help, so I resorted to falling back into my shell. By that time, MARS was my favorite band, much loved and admired. Music was now an obsession, rather than an interest. This marked a major shift in my life, the turning point of maturity. When they say, "depression hurts", they're not lying. It bites harder than any wolf and cuts deeper than any blade. I never felt compelled to end my life or injure myself, being terrified of gore and slightly hesitant toward pain, but the suffering I went through still chills me to this day. Simply listening to their music was a step away from the real, harsh world. "Attack" told me to forget those who had hurt me, while "A Beautiful Lie" displayed to me that everyone suffers at some point. "The Kill" taught me how to face myself. In a twisted way, "The Fantasy" was telling me to remain hopeful, that there was always that best case scenario. "Do you live...do you die...do you bleed...for the fantasy?" Yeah, I would do anything to get back to normal, my fantasy. Anything. As we prepped for This Is War, I saw that scenario coming to life-being so hopeful for something so mundane that it hurt.
My countdown started at 100 days, and so did my healing process. Some faith ignited within me, because I knew this album would not falter. Sure, the release date changed a million times, but it was still looming around the corner. Around days 95 through 80, I was at my lowest points. The epitome of sorrow. These were the days where instead of sobbing, I'd sit in stony silence. "Are you okay?" A blink, a nod. Nothing more. Rarely talking even in class. Eventually, I broke out of that. Can't remember why. The lyrics from "Kings and Queens" kept vibrating through my head, and I vowed not to let myself become the victim of myself. I was the queen of promise. I saw the Mithra seal, and I was the phoenix, being born again.
On low days, I'd sit inside my raincloud, listen to music. Listen to interviews where I was constantly being told by Jared, Shannon, and Tomo that I was loved. It's surprising how much that meant; I had never met them, and the chances of me ever doing so were not great. Yet I felt a strange kinship with them, like they would patch me up if I was bleeding. I felt the same with the Echelon; my family, a Primordial soup filled with eccentric and lovable people. No one has any idea how much an "I love you" from a stranger means until you've heard one. Incomparable.
So, basically, in the end I fixed myself. And the music of 30 Seconds to Mars was the main cause for that. It taught me hope and faith. It also let me know, through screaming lyrics, that I was not alone in my problems. A seething voice, a singing guitar, thrashing drums layered upon heavenly synthesizer doesn't really seem like a good medication for depression. But trust me, MARS is the best drug out there. You're never alone, and their music, however angry, however soaring and epic, is a comforting hand placed on the shoulder.
Shannon, Tomo, Jared-Thank you for making this music. Thank you for supporting me, though chances are you'll never know what you did. You guys are good people, regardless of what anyone says. Your talent can never be exceeded, and the way you treat us, your fans, is something every musician, every celebrity, every minor coffee house poet should respect.
Echelon, you guys mean so much to me. My family, built off of familiar strangers. I'm here for you, always will be. Each of you are kind, brilliant people, and we can all learn so much from each other. I love you, and you guys have my blessing for the rest of your lives.
I'm falling back into that state now, but I'm not so afraid. I have faith in myself and my world, and I know that that is the very thing that will pull me out of the abyss.