Everyone has gone through a bit of an emo stage at one point or another. Emo is a style of post-hardcore characterized by expressive, often confessional, lyrics. It originated in the mid-1980s.
The black nail polish, the brooding 'everything sucks, so why bother' attitude, the bad haircuts, and the moody MySpace page to prove it. Being emo always had a negative connotation to it, but science is here to say maybe being emo isn't so bad after all.
To be emotional is to strive for something better, and according to Quartz striving for something better is what it takes to make you truly happy.
Neuroscientist Jaak Panskepp argues that of seven core instincts in the human brain (anger, fear, panic-grief, maternal care, pleasure/lust, play, and seeking), seeking is the most important.
The "emo" people are the seekers. This seeking system entails a dopamine neurotransmitter that is linked to reward and pleasure, but it's also involved in coordinating planning activities.
This means there are rewards for exploring your surroundings and seeking new information for survival.
"The innate human desire to seek means that we can never truly feel that every desire and wish has been met. There will never be an end to the to-do list, future goals and plans, the things we want to achieve and see."
People who refer to themselves as emo probably appear to never be satisfied with their current life state, but Panskepp says that isn't a bad thing. "... the fact that we don t have everything we want is exactly what makes life so fulfilling."
So go ahead and tell your coworkers you were the emo kid in high school who sulked in the corner scribbling in your notebook. Chances are, you're happier than them because of it.
In order to re-own the emo identity here are a few songs that every emo kid can identify with. The Essential Emo Playlist.
Misery Business - Paramore
The 2007 angry girl anthem.
You're So Last Summer - Taking Back Sunday
I'm so over it, you're so last summer.
I'm Not Okay (I Promise) - My Chemical Romance
"I'm not okay / I'm not okay / I'm not okay." You probably are, though.
I Write Sins Not Tragedies - Panic! At The Disco
"It's much better to face these kinds of things, with a sense of poise and rationality." Yeah, right.
Sugar We're Going Down - Fall Out Boy
"Am I more than you bargained for yet?" "Dying to be the friction in your jeans" is the most romantic lyric my 13-year-old ears have ever heard.
Ohio Is for Lovers - Hawthorne Heights
In 2004 everyone heard this song, and for the first time in the history of the world everyone suddenly wanted to move to Ohio.
First Day Of My Life - Bright Eyes
First day of your life, probably the worst day of your life, too.
Miserable at Best - Mayday Parade
Winner of the most emo song title in the history of music. Congrats, Mayday Parade. So cheer up, lost souls of the emo era.
Or don't. It turns out that all those years of lining your eyelids with black charcoal meant more than just raccoon eyes in the morning. You're be happier, more successful, and even more fulfilled because of it.