Tegan and Sara and Me

November 25, 2009
By shireeeeeeen BRONZE, Southborough, Massachusetts
shireeeeeeen BRONZE, Southborough, Massachusetts
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
“to be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
-ralph waldo emerson

Exactly one year ago, my life Exactly one year ago, my life became altered perpetually. At that point, I found meaning within corny, melodramatic phrases and recognized changes within myself and my lifestyle. One year ago, when I was a level-headed, slightly naïve sophomore, I went to a Tegan and Sara concert on Saturday, October 4th. Since that day, I have made reformations in the way I spend my time, who I spend it with, and who I want to be for the remainder of my life. These are big words for a little person, but when something so thrilling comes upon a bored person, happiness happens.

The majority of others around my age are unaware of exactly who they are today and who they want to grow up to be. I once thought of myself as a specialist of that equivocal mindset. I spent my freshman year spending my time at Youth and Government meetings and spending my parents’ earnings on Abercrombie. These “interests” of mine were all things I took part in because I couldn’t see any other way to do things. I was the type of person to float around at lunch, sitting with different people on different days because I couldn’t decide if I wanted to gossip or discuss sports or anime or just sit and be mute. Luckily, I was equipped with social skills so my inner doubt never surfaced in the presence of my lunch-mates. However daily, I contemplated my interests on the inside. As sophomore year began, I found a slight interest in alternative/ indie-rock music which was useful in breaking the ice amidst an awkward conversation. At one particular lunch I turned to a meal-time companion and asked him if he’d be interested in going to a Death Cab for Cutie concert with me (and my mom). He told me he was already attending, and the awkward silence progressed. That following day, however, he asked me if I was free on the evening succeeding the concert to go see Tegan and Sara perform. Blindly, I smiled, pretended to know who they were, and complied.
Prior to the show, I would not have called myself a Tegan and Sara fan. In fact, there is a specific memory of adding them under my Facebook’s “favorite music” section because I wanted to make my interests seem diverse, yet I recall quickly removing it seeing as I could only name one song. I walked into the venue that night, surrounded by tattoos and immersed in a stench of beer and cigarettes. This wasn’t a Youth and Government meeting. We had arrived slightly late, missing the opening act. The show was general admission, and the floor was packed. I requested to move up onto the balcony so that all five feet of me could see something other than shaved heads. Shortly after finding seats, the main act came on stage. As a collective audience we listened to the songs, laughed at the on-stage banter, stood in line for a t-shirt, and left to go home.

Within the proceeding months I learned more about Tegan and Sara than I have ever learned in two years of algebra. It became evident at the concert that the two were identical twin sisters/ song-writers accompanied by an onstage band. I later came to learn that they were Canadian, gay, diehard Bruce Springsteen fans, and had been around since I was five. They are well known for their catchy love songs, political activism, progressive haircuts, and comical conversations between songs while performing live. Within those months what I like to refer to as my “O.P.D” or “Obsessive Personality Disorder” kicked in. This has been an issue I’d dealt with for years, yet had wilt away once puberty and peer pressure came into the picture. Growing up as an only child, I learned how to befriend my Barbies to the fullest extent for the first several years of my life. Entering elementary school I recall spending recesses reading Harry Potter, and most likely read each book five times before even considering moving onto something else. Once middle school began, I started a collection of Kurt Cobain posters and memorabilia. However what followed were years of passionless interests and extreme neutrality. Tegan and Sara’s period in my life meant re-watching their concerts on YouTube for those slivers of onstage conversation, having a reason to purchase my first iPod, and entering the world of blogging. From that, I learned that Tegan and Sara fans were avid and ruthless. They would blog every photo, video, and quote the twins had to offer. I found myself doing the same; I stayed up debating the meaning of lyrics with a T&S fan from Spain instead of completing biology homework.

Some good did come from my O.P.D. I sat at my piano for the first time since I was ten and taught myself the Tegan and Sara ballad “Dark Come Soon”. I was also so intrigued by their album artwork until I found out the designer who created it, and so I tried my hand at drawing. By second semester I had signed up for an independent study to continue practicing sketching and painting, and received a lot of positive feedback from doing so. Most importantly, I had learned what it meant to be inspired. I had found meaning behind what I had always disregarded as cheesy phrases such as “broaden your horizon” and “be yourself.” Although I was once again being influenced, it was different from what had come from my peers. I was doing certain thing because I had watched others do them, but not because I couldn’t see any other options; doors had opened and swept their doormats for me.

Sophomore year, apart from my newly found hobbies, was also a very tumultuous time. My dad spent the school year working overseas and (being in different time-zones) seldom spoke with me over the phone. We exchanged e-mails, while in the meantime my mom and I did our best to manage the household, and often were in too close proximity of each other. My friends had adapted to bad habits during that time as well, and many of my relationships with them had strained. At that point I anticipated my personal salvation, which I assume would be the point where most people would turn to prayer, therapy, or a diary. I turned to iTunes and the sensation of my headphones.

I had become aware that many, such as my mother and friends, had become bored and irritated with my superfluous and frequent mention of Tegan and Sara. I mastered the skill of dropping their name somehow into nearly every conversation, and although I was aware I needed to stop forcing upon those around me, I couldn’t help it. I guess that’s what happens when you go on a personal quest of interest. I decided to go on a diet, limiting myself to an extent. I tried to disgust myself toward the world I had once been so entrenched in. I looked at their crazy, blogging fans and decided I didn’t want to be one of them. I tried to become put off by their 30,000 and counting Twitter followers and their rapid rise to fame. I often felt a strange pang of heartache as one of their songs came on my iPod’s shuffle and I skipped over it. I was a drug addict in withdrawal or an alcoholic at a 12-Step program by myself. I didn’t like not knowing what their latest haircut looked like and these were disappointments I was not accustomed to. When my dad returned from Iran, where my parents were born and raised and where they had left behind sellable property, I tried to enter him into the edifying liberal world which had consumed me. I played him songs, told him stores of my endeavors, showed him pictures, yet recognized immediately his interest was vacant. This was incredibly upsetting at the time; I couldn’t understand why my father had no enthusiasm in the person I could feel myself becoming. I was no longer directionless, passive, and abashed. I had formed opinions about society, dreams of being an art major, and friendships with people I could easily converse with.

Looking back at my successes as a Tegan and Sara fan there are few exciting incidents where I was really proud of myself. I learned that accomplishments don’t have to come from school or authority, but from myself. For example, when I spent hours calling shoe stores on the east coast to find a size 6.5 pair of limited edition Tegan and Sara sneakers, I managed to land myself the last existing pair in all of Manhattan. Once I had found a rare copy of Tegan and Sara’s first album from 1998 at my cousin’s (a Toronto-native) house. That same cousin gave birth to her first child that month, and the hospital visit meant exposing the little baby boy’s ears to the calm melodies of “Dark Come Soon.” My cousins then moved to Los Angeles, where I visited them this past summer and managed to attend a Tegan and Sara concert while I was there. This was what it felt like to accomplish something; all I had to do was reach goals which made me happier. A slight regret I have is the expenses the twin sisters have caused me over the past year. Had I not quit pretending to enjoy field hockey and traded the time in for a job at an art museum, I don’t think I would have been able to afford it.

Today, I am of course still growing and maturing, and I am certain that in the remainder of my life I will come across many more passions and interests. However in the meantime I plan on maintaining what I love so far: my personal blog, exploring for new music and art which can inspire me, and Tegan and Sara. I do still appreciate discussing their lyrics and reading their tweets, but I appreciate more what I’ve learned since first seeing them perform. Next time I see them live I will not make the mistake of passively slipping away onto the balcony, but I will push through as many shaved heads until I make it to the front row. Luckily I won’t have to wait much longer to see them. Their new album will be released this month and they’ll begin touring all over again, and I’ll begin learning all over again.

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This article has 2 comments.

figisit said...
on Jul. 11 2010 at 8:14 pm
THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for posting this. So much of what you said applies directly to me. I'm not sure what it is about Tegan and Sara that makes me so obsessive but it's an addiction. My family and friends have reacted the same way to the fact that I throw in Tegan and Sara tidbits into every situation. I feel as if even if the obsessive-ness subsides a bit I will never lose the effect that they have had on me (that's totally a good thing!)But anyway thank you so much as the other person already commented, for making me feel that I'm not alone. 

Dana92 said...
on Jan. 11 2010 at 8:50 pm
Seriously, is this Punked? Have you been secretly filming my life over the past two years? My friends and family have become disinterested with my obsession... i mean everything you wrote (except your dad and hockey) was like pages torn from the book of my life. Thank you for writting this and letting me know that I'm not alone (I'm NOT a-a-lone, NOT a-a-lone...but I AM so far away... you get it ;)


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