How “Blue Neighbourhood” taught me to live my truth and love myself

I was 17 years old in the passenger’s seat of my first boyfriend’s car driving down the 405 freeway late at night. A song came on over the Bluetooth, I lifted my hand from his thigh to check his phone and see what it was.

The song was called “YOUTH” by Troye Sivan.

“You don’t know who Troye Sivan is?” he asked. I nodded my head no while he proceeded to shuffle Sivan’s album, “Blue Neighbourhood.”

I never really cared much for male singers, but this felt different.

“He’s gay,” my ex said.

“That explains it,” I thought.

Sivan was the first gay singer I had ever heard.

As we drove, we listened to the entirety of the album. “TALK ME DOWN” was instantly my favorite song.

At the time, I was pretty depressed. Sad songs had always spoken to me, and although they still sometimes do, it was different back then. I added it to my “songs to cry to” playlist knowing that it would stay in rotation.

After that night, I listened to the album constantly.

Sivan released a trilogy of music videos with a continuous storyline to go with songs on the album. This was the first time that I had ever seen young, gay love in media.

The videos made me feel things I had never felt before.

I hadn’t come out yet, so my ex and I were still sneaking around behind everyone’s back. At times, I thought that it was kind of fun, but Sivan’s music videos made me want to accept who I was and love him with no holds barred.

His lyrics put my thoughts into words in a way I never could have. It felt as if he was speaking to me personally.

I struggled a lot at that time. Not only was I trying to figure out my sexuality, but I was also managing my depression and a new relationship; a relationship that had quickly turned abusive.

When I would have a bad day, I would go home and listen to “Blue Neighbourhood.” I would blast “TALK ME DOWN” and “LOST BOY” when I needed to cry, or “WILD” and “YOUTH” when I needed something to shake off the negative thoughts.

In his song “HEAVEN,” Sivan talks about coming to terms with his sexuality.

He asks the question, “Without losing a piece of me, how do I get to heaven?” This line has always struck a chord with me.

As a 17-year-old with no queer people around me, I wondered the same thing. I grew up religious and was always scared that I would disappoint someone. When I started focusing my life around my ex, it seemed like that was all I could do.

In Sivan’s video trilogy, one of the boy’s dads is homophobic and tries to keep them apart. I was so scared to come out, thinking somehow that could happen to me too, that somehow my mom would be disappointed.

I decided I was not going to live in fear. If Sivan could be queer and in the public eye, why was I so scared?

I ended up coming out to my mom. After that, I had nothing to hide from anyone.

My mom is the best person on this planet. Despite her religion, she loves everyone with her whole heart. She made it clear to me that she would never stop loving me, no matter who I loved.

It’s been years, but “TALK ME DOWN” still makes me cry. It makes me think about the young, queer child that I was when I first heard it.

A child who had found love, but found it in someone who didn’t know how to show it back.

It reminds me that even when I don’t like myself, I should still always love myself and never allow anyone to make me feel otherwise.

“Blue Neighbourhood” made so many queer kids confront who they are and think about the love they deserve. When I listen to it, I look back and see how much it made me who I am today. It didn’t just shape me, it shaped a whole generation.

Comments are closed.

Daily 49er newsletter