“Did you have a trauma-free childhood, or are you attracted to Pete Davidson?”
A friend sent me that tiktok from @bootlegmegz awhile back and it SPOKE to me. Not because I had a particularly traumatic childhood, but because I love me some Pete Davidson.
I was bullied mercilessly by my classmates, so a majority of my childhood trauma came in the form of spitballs, cruel laughs, and the occasional outburst of physical violence (getting tripped, pushed into things).
I never felt like I fit in, so eventually my armor became that I didn’t want to fit in. I could spend thousands of words describing all the ways I made sure that anyone who knew me knew that I was different. I was a black sheep with the spray paint still drying. I heard a lot of my own experiences in Blink 182. “Everything sucks and I will never fit in and happiness is an illusion.”
I don’t know if my childhood bullying scars were the seeds that bloomed into my mad love for Pete Davidson, but there is just something about that man that mesmerises me. Naturally, I have Google Alerts for him (I didn’t even set them, they just came up because Google knows all) and those alerts led me to Machine Gun Kelly.
If you have a hard on for Pete Davison, you’re going to double up when you invest in MGK too. The two of them form this perfect friend duo, the kind I would have wanted to be the chick-best-friend of back in high school. Pete Davidson brings a goofy and funny charm while MGK provides an aloof attitude and an easy smile. Both of them bring a fuck-it attitude – Pete’s comes off as “why are you being a dick? Don’t be a dick, that’s dumb” while MGK presents a harsher, punk vibe.
I’ve been an easy fan of MGK since I first heard him, I’ve found a few anthems in a lot of decent tracks (Go For Broke inspired me to start up this blog). But when Downfalls High dropped…so did my panties.
I mean, my jaw. My jaw dropped.
But also, my panties.
Everything about Downfalls High swallows me in nostalgia. It reminds me of life before my 20s, back when I was a teenager and truly believed that I was right in all things. When I believed that while things may not be fair in the short term, justice would always be served in the end. Back when I knew where I stood, because I knew that I stood against everyone else. No matter how much enlightenment I have found in the years since high school, nothing has ever felt as reassuring as the certainty of youth.
The greatest humiliation in my life was one that I endured silently throughout my entire 20s as, day after day, I realized that I was not certain about anything. Somehow the insecurities of my twenties made me believe that to be uncertain was to be wrong. The logic follows that of spurned lovers – if one thing is a lie, are all things lies? MGK echoes my thoughts in the movie itself. “All I know is I don’t know nothing. I don’t know nothing at all.”
My twenties made me feel more physically free than ever before in my life while mentally I built a cage for my personality to live in. As I left high school and entered a bigger pool, finding more acceptance, I began to fear nothing more than rejection. I no longer held up both middle fingers to the entire world (I only held them up in the socially acceptable moments). I suppose you could say that I sold out.
As I watch the movie Downfalls High now, at 31, after I have had an entire year away from all societal pressures, a part of me that I put to sleep a long time ago has started to wake up. The part of me that really, truly, gave zero fucks about anyone that didn’t like me. I’m reminded that if I stop caring about what people I don’t like think about me, then I am free to love myself again.
MGK starts the album and the movie off with his song “Title Track” in which he says “I sold some tickets to come see my downfall. It sold out in minutes, I saw friends in the front row.”
Those words echoed inside of me for days. I spent my teenage years being so loud about who I was and what I believed in that when those things changed I was embarrassed that I had been wrong, when really I had only been uncertain all along. Watching Downfalls High reminds me that it’s ok that I was uncertain. And I can go be whoever I want, and that is allowed to change. In a way, selling Tickets to my Downfall is a badge of honor. It says that I am proud of myself, mistakes and all. I have fucked up, and you are welcome to see it.
I don’t know if this entire rant is brought about by the feelings that I had watching Downfalls High, the endorphins I feel being aroused by Machine Gun Kelly, or the Sake that my partner gave me while he made some gyoza. I realize I have barely reviewed Downfalls High at all. Obviously I think it’s excellent, it made me feel a lot of feelings and I found a renewed love for myself in all of it. Everyone who has ever felt like a misfit, run-down by this cruel world, should spend the next 45 minutes watching it. You can find the movie here.