The Best Two Weeks of My Life: Part One

Four Cities, Four Bands, and Hundreds of Memories


I'm sure a lot of us can say "2017 was the worst year of my life." I know for sure I can say it. It's not because of politics, and not because of all the chaos that's happened. Nine days into 2017, I lost the most important person in my life. I lost my mom. 

At the young age of eighteen, I'm just entering adulthood and have no clue what I'm doing. People usually call their parents for help when it comes to "adulting" things. Well, I don't have that option, and I'm kind of in a weird place with my dad, so things kind of get awkward, so I can't really talk to him, either. I do have an older brother...but he hasn't really been himself, so that's another option shut down. I really only had my mom. She knew me better than anyone else. I miss her.

Months of sulking had gone by. I had lost friends, realized I'm fine with constantly hanging out with my best friend, and discovered a new love for traveling. Around April, I decided to take a trip to one of the most lively and unique places in the United States—New Orleans, Louisiana. Louisiana is a place I've always wanted to visit. My dad's parents fell in love there and I wanted to see where it all began. The best part was that my trip lined up with my all-time favorite band's tour, so I got to see them live again. New Orleans is such a unique city. There's so much creative energy flowing around. A lot of people think it's so dangerous, but what's life without a risk? I enjoyed myself so much. It left me craving a new adventure.

Months had passed and it was September. I was in such a weird place. I lost two more friends because our friendship was toxic. I didn't want to think about it too much, so I decided that, the two weeks after my birthday, I'd hit four cities to watch four bands, get VIP for each date, and add three tours to my list of concerts attended. I'd never done anything like this before, but it excited me so much. 

For anyone who doesn't know what a VIP experience is, it can vary depending on the artist you're going to see. The three bands I got VIP for were along the same lines, except for one of the bands. Two of the bands I saw allowed Q and A sessions before the Meet and Greet. Q and A sessions are really when you get to be more personal with the band, get to see them more as people than your heroes. Meet and Greets are one of my favorite things. They're an opportunity to talk to the band, and you get a picture to commemorate the moment. Of course, you still have your memories, too. The picture just makes the deal sweeter. You can also get really creative with your poses (this comes into play later). 

The first tour I went to was the ISSUES Headspace Tour in Orlando, Florida. I had always seen ISSUES as a band that's sound was unique to the alternative music scene. They played R&B sounding breakdowns with guitars for a heavier sound, they'd add rap or pop sounding vocals mixed with screaming, and I loved it. I have never gone to one of their tours before. I'd only seen them live on Warped Tour and that was it. The tour absolutely blew my mind away. The aesthetics of the lights and stage set-up left me in awe. Not only that, I made some new friends that make me so happy, even if we don't get to see each other often. If each show was exactly like this, I knew my two-week trip would be amazing.

My Meet and Greet picture made me really happy. A year prior, I was at Warped Tour with my friends and managed to snag a Meet and Greet wristband to meet ISSUES. When it finally came my time to take my picture, I couldn't stop freaking out, because they had been one of the many bands that saved my life. No, I don't mean that in a dramatic fangirl way. I've had a lot of problems with bullying and emotional abuse from several people, and they made me feel like I wasn't alone in the world. I ended up crying during the picture and we turned it into a little joke, so all the guys decided to "cry" with me so we could take the picture. It was really sweet and I wanted to recreate it.

ISSUES

Warped Tour 2016

ISSUES Meet and Greet Picture

After my wonderful day in sunny Orlando, I packed my bags the day after the ISSUES concert and flew to Pensacola, Florida for the Sleeping With Sirens Gossip Tour. I discovered Sleeping With Sirens when I was a freshman in high school. They also came into play when I was in a dark place. I've never been able to see them live, so this was the best option ever. I also got to see one of my closest friends again.

Part of me wanted to do something more amazing during this trip. I wanted more memories. Since I was sixteen, I've always wanted to get some Sleeping With Sirens lyrics tattooed on me. I know, to some, that seems extreme, but getting tattoos is one of the healthiest addictions I've had. My friend and I decided to go to her favorite tattoo shop, and I got some lyrics tattooed on my chest.

For the longest time, I let my anxiety and overthinking get the best of me. All my mistakes held me back and left me feeling like I wasn't good enough. The final product read: "We made our mistakes, it's not too late," a little reminder to myself that things can be fixed. When I posted the picture to my Instagram, the best thing happened—Sleeping With Sirens's official band page had liked my picture. It made me more excited about the show so I could show the band in person.

My Tattoo

The official page's like on my picture

The day of the concert had finally come. I went to the venue fairly early to wait in line with my friend. Normally, I like to be first in line so I can get my spot at the barricade. Being in the very front isn't the kindest place for your ears or your body. A lot of people like to push around and whoever is directly at the barricade might end up with a few bruised ribs, but that's only an extreme case. The best part about it is that you're right in front of your favorite artists and they will usually look down at you just to make your night. 

Throughout the day, my friend and I got to talk to some of the opening bands. They were all incredibly sweet guys. I also got to meet some of the members of Sleeping With Sirens, too. My favorite member is Nick Martin, their guitarist. I had kindly asked him for a picture and he agreed. I then told him how I had gotten their lyrics tattooed on my chest the day before. He was so surprised and asked to see it, so I showed him. It made me so happy that he liked my tattoo. The smile on his face matched mine; a truly surreal moment.

After the Q and A, I got in line to get my group picture with the entire band. All the members were happily surprised by it. The best part was their lead singer, Kellin Quinn, telling me "That's so amazing. You are amazing, and so strong for doing that." The day had been so amazing so far, and the concert hadn't even started yet. 

Like I said earlier: I never saw Sleeping With Sirens live. That concert was so amazing; listening to the songs I've always loved live felt like a dream. Hearing the crowd sing all the lyrics, jumping around, creating memories with a ton of strangers—it's the best therapy I've had. 

Sleeping With Sirens M&G picture

Tune in next time for the second half of my two week adventure where I talk about my crazy lightsaber picture that's at the very beginning of this post.

Katherine Ruiz
Katherine Ruiz

I love traveling, especially for concerts, the experience opens up my soul and creativity more than anything. I find myself loving to write to let go of unwanted negativity in my mind. 

Now Reading
The Best Two Weeks of My Life: Part One