Keep Going: A Lesson In Living Wounded
Charity Bixler gets deep with her 3eb Ink, discussing what it was like growing up with Third Eye Blind and how the band has helped her cope with her own mental health journey.
She showcases the Falling Man, as well as lyrics from Wounded, encapsulated in a woman she calls Persephone.
Brittney Chamberlain: First and foremost, I want to hear about your love of the band. When did you first become a fan? What’s your favorite album? What does 3eb mean to you?
Charity Bixler: My first 3eb memory is from when I was 9 or 10. My best friend and I had ordered a bunch of CDs from one of those "32 CDs for a penny" deals without our parents knowing and she got the self-titled album. She brought it to my house on her Discman and we giggled about the curse words in "Losing A Whole Year" like we had really pulled one over on our parents. That was probably in 1998. About 2001 I was listening to the self-titled album heavily and I stole my cousins copy of Blue, I think that's what solidified my 3eb love. Since then, "Wounded" has remained as my favorite song EVER. I basically measure all music against "Wounded."
I wish I could pick a favorite album, but I can't. I love self-titled because that’s how it all started; I love Blue because that album was like a 'coming of age' album for the band and myself; I love Out Of The Vein because it's just gold from top to bottom and the sound track to my high school career (Side note: The recessional at my wedding was "Crystal Baller"); The Red Star EP and Ursa Major... I mean, they all have such a connection to a specific time or situation in my life, I just can't pick a favorite. Plus, what about the B-sides!? So, that's what 3eb means to me. Their music is just completely integrated into my life. It's the soundtrack to my movie.
BC: How did you choose "Crystal Baller" for your recessional song?
CB: "Crystal Baller" has always seemed to me like that part in the movie where the characters realize they're meant to be together, like a proposal. So that's what I wanted the first song to be when I started my "happy ending." Thank goodness my husband didn't have any objections. He's a good sport; I even forced him to go with me to a 3eb show once... He knew a few songs. Haha!
BC: What’s the story behind the tattoo? Can you fill us in on what "Wounded" means to you, specifically?
CB: So, I got the falling man first. I thought that was all I'd be getting. It was like my test to see if another person was a REAL 3eb fan; If you could tell me what the tattoo was, then you knew 3eb. I honestly quizzed a guy at a show once. Plus, the falling man had always kind of been something I wanted to get. I'm not really sure where the idea for my sleeve came from, but I drew this girl with a blind third eye and her strands of hair reached out into 3eb lyrics in cursive. It was a sort of representation of myself, but also not at the same time. I thought it would make a great shoulder piece, but I wasn't happy with my style of drawing, so I had an artist friend of mine (@aronrookart on IG ) draw up what would become the tattoo; Her style was exactly what I was looking for. The original drawing included a bunch of different lyrics but, because tattoos are limiting, I picked just one; It was the one that was most important to me, and it was from "Wounded." I also call my tattoo "Persephone," and she is the Goddess of Third Eye Blind; She is the visual expression of what 3eb means to me. As far as the song "Wounded," for me, it's like a battle cry. I struggled with self-injury for a large portion of my life and I continue to struggle with mental illness, specifically Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Anxiety, as well as a few other things. So being wounded, for me, is a literal and figurative thing. The song reminds me that I can keep going even though I'm 'wounded,' just like the girl he talks to in the song. These things have been my bullies, but I can back them down to the back of the bus. Plus, it's just a great freaking song! I love how it starts out slow and soft and then it lets loose, then it dials back down, and by the end you're just singing at the top of your lungs!
BC: Were you motivated by a major life event, a significant person, or life transition?
CB: Yes, sort of. When I decided to get this tattoo, I was just coming out of a dark period in my struggle with BPD; Even though I didn’t have a solid diagnosis yet, that's for sure what it was. One of the symptoms of BPD is a weak sense of identity. I have been a 3eb fan since I was 8, so being a 3eb fan is something that is inherently me. I think getting this tattoo helped me to see myself more clearly and to solidify a piece of my true identity.
BC: An overarching theme throughout their music is mental health/awareness. That’s also been a major unifying factor within the community. Thanks for your willingness to address and discuss your personal mental heath journey. What other 3eb songs can you relate to? Give us a top 5 anthem playlist.
CB: 1. "Why Can't You Be" - I have felt this way many times so this one stands out on the top for me.
2. "Water Landing" - Because... these lyrics right here. This basically sums up BPD for me.
When will I start to learn / Cause she uses boys like bandages / And I hope you find it through this endless wandering / I'm missing you for so long / You're a question mark and a scar / You twist me up like a tourniquet / 'Til I don't know who we are / Chasing after you won't change a thing / And I hope you make it through this endless wandering
3. "Lay Back" - As far as I can tell, this is like a super obscure B-side, but it's one of my favorites. I think that this one reminds me of "Wounded." It's like what I wanted someone to say to me when I was struggling, just like, "hey, relax. Let it be. I'm here for you. You'll be alright."
4. "Misfits" - This to me is the ultimate "anthem-like" song of belonging, and belonging with all the people who don't belong.
5. "Dopamine" - I seriously just balled the first time I listened to this song. The feeling of trying to escape from something that has such a hold on you. I ran in to this with self injury; It was like an addiction. You get addicted to that release of pain for just that moment, even though you know you're literally hurting yourself.
There are sooooo many more. I could probably give you an explanation like this for every song, but this is the top 5.
BC: Have you had the opportunity to show the band your tattoo?
CB: I have not. But if I do, I hope they know that, for me, as a graphic/visual artist, it is the best way I can explain how they and their music has helped me and has always been there for me over the years, in the good times and the bad. Sometimes 3eb music was the only thing that held everything together when it felt like my world was falling apart.
BC: If you could ask SJ one thing about "Wounded," what would it be?
CB: Oh gosh. Maybe, do you think you accomplished what you set out to do when you wrote the song? I think he would have to say yes. I think I'm proof of that.
BC: Do you plan on getting more 3eb ink?
CB: My only plan at this point is that, if I ever do get to meet SJ, I will have him sign my arm with my other tattoos and get it inked over.
BC: How many times have you seen them live?
CB: So I've been a fan for at least 20 years and, in October, I saw them live for the 6th time. I'm sure there are more to come!