It may not seem like it, but one of our favorite multi-hued hair rocker has faced some pretty hard times where her mental health is concerned, but we’re thankful Hayley Williams found a healthy outlet for her to express how she struggled with her mental well-being.
In an essay for Paper, Williams shared that in 2015, things seemed to be going great: she was engaged to New Found Glory’s Chad Gilbert, just won a Grammy, and she moved back home to Nashville; but something felt off.
“Imagine a little girl, dancing and twirling on a sidewalk in a loud, colorful dress. Eyes closed, laughing. 100 feet above her, someone’s pushing a piano (just go with me, here) out of their apartment window and it’s got nowhere to go but straight down. Well, I was the little girl,” she wrote.
She went on to say that she ‘woke up from that crash’ with one less bandmate, fights about money, and who had the rights to their songs, and that for a long time after that, she ‘didn’t eat, didn’t sleep, didn’t laugh.’
It goes without saying that her work suffered as a result, too, and according to her, ended up sounding like “someone dead in the eyes.”
But Williams pulled herself together enough to stop hiding from those sort of heavy feelings and decided to put them into song.
“Writing kept me alive [and]“Forced me to be honest… writing opened my heart to healing,” she wrote.
She refers to this time as “Life with AL,” which then turned into their new album After Laughter, with the songs dealing with themes like depression, anxiety, and societal expectations.
“It’s a little dumb, but it helps me mark this time as a significant turning point,” said Williams, and adds that now, she allows herself to experience “more tenderness.”
The first single they released off of the album, Rose Colored Boy, even talks about how it’s okay to not always put on a bright, positive face for the world, because you are allowed to feel otherwise when you do.
“Expression is survival,” she writes. “You can do it however you please.”
Read her entire penned essay here.