One year ago I woke up and put on this Panic! at the Disco necklace from their 2011 Vices & Virtues merch. I don’t know exactly why I did. I never wore jewelry at this point last year. I never remembered to put it on so I never bothered even trying to wear it. But for some reason, I went into my desk drawer with all my Panic! at the Disco CD’s, found this necklace, and put it on for the day. Around 10pm that same day, Spencer Smith wrote a letter to the Panic! fans letting us know about his struggle with addiction/alcoholism and recovery. Burned in my mind and in the palm of my hand forever is the feeling of how tight I was grasping the necklace around my neck during and after reading that letter for the first time.
Spencer Smith had always been a person that just made me smile. Seeing him in interviews and seeing him perform live where some of the most uplifting things to me. Watching video of the band and seeing him talk or play always made my day a little brighter. It’s certainly not a “crush” and I still hate when people call it that. It has always been more respectful than that, an idol, and now since that year has past, more of a hero.
I had the pleasure of being able to see Panic! perform live that following Thursday with Spencer there with them. It was their first show after about two years and I got there with my friend at about 7 am before the stage and barricade were even set up. During I Write Sins, I pulled out a small sign reading “#SupportSpencer You’re on the winning side now” and held it up along with putting my necklace back on that had been packed away in my pocket that whole day. After the show, my friend and I went around to see if the guys were coming out to say hi. We saw Zack, who we had made ourselves familiar to that day while we had been waiting all that time, and asked him what was up. He told us they weren’t coming out but gladly took letters we wrote to the band and my sign I held up for Spencer and told us he would be sure to get them to the guys. A few days later, Spencer left the tour because he needed more time for his recovery.
Over the last year, my anxiety got a lot worse than it ever had been. I thought about doing a lot of things to numb or stop it but thinking of Spencer always prevented me from doing anything stupid. I kept thinking of how he said what he thought was numbing his pain ended up worsening it. That necklace remained around my neck every day to remind me of Spencer. Not only his words in his letter, but even before the letter how he made me smile on the dark days. All the times I felt a panic attack coming I grabbed that necklace. I can’t count how many times I have held that necklace through the heavy breathing and the tears and the overwhelming darkness I felt. But every time the necklace calmed me down. It kept me okay. It’s keeping me okay.
I know he’ll never see this and I’ll probably never get to tell him this in person but, Thank you so goddamn much for everything, Spencer Smith.
I’m not very good at writing emotional shit down like this and this whole “entry” or “letter”, whatever you wanna call it probably isn’t the best written thing in the world but I felt like I needed to try for today.
One year ago I woke up and put on this Panic! at the Disco necklace from their 2011 Vices & Virtues merch and I haven’t gone one day without wearing it since.