Nobody on this earth will ever understand how much this man means to me. I met Austin twice on Sunday, July 8th at Minnesota’s Warped date. I was there with my boyfriend Christian waiting in line at the Trojan tent to meet the whole band. I had an Of Mice & Men t-shirt in one hand ready to be signed, a Star Wars blanket I had spent two & a half hours making, and a letter I had wrote Austin in the other. It was getting closer and closer to it being my turn to meet the band. My favorite band of all time. The band that has gotten me through the most difficult of times. It was my turn in line. I first met Phil, then Alan, then Tino, and before I knew it… it was time to finally meet my dedication, inspiration. Austin was in the middle of talking to one of the people that was working in the Trojan merch tent, so I just stood there patiently waiting for him to notice me. I was really nervous & my anxiety was getting the best of me. He then looked at me & into my eyes and cheerfully said, “Hi!!!” My heart was beating so fast. I replied, “Hi! I’m Hayley. I tweet you all the time.” He smiled and hugged me. I then set the blanket I had made for him on the table. I smiled at him and said, “Here, I made this for you.” His eyes got big as he looked down & cupped his hands over his mouth. He looked like a child in a candy store. It was adorable. “You made this!!!??”, he asked. “Yes! And I also wrote you a letter. Here, this is also for you”, I replied as I handed him the letter. “Oh my god! This is amazing. I love it so much!!!!!!” He looked so happy. He stood up from his chair and hugged me tightly. As he was hugging me, he whispered in my ear, “I love you.” I said, “I love you too Austin.” He let go & was still smiling like crazy. I then put the t-shirt down on the table, and I asked him if he could sign it for me. He said, “Of course!!” He signed his name on the shirt. Next, he pulled out a mini Of Mice & Men poster, and he signed his name on that as well. He looked up and smiled at me, “Hey! Come to the Aspire & Create tent at 7 to hang out and we’ll take pictures!” I excitedly replied, “Okay! See you at 7!” After killing time with my boyfriend and waiting a few more hours to talk to my hero again, we approached the Aspire & Create tent. There was a sign that said “Austin Carlile signing 7:00, wristbands SOLD OUT.” I had absolutely no idea that you needed a wristband. And the fact that they were sold out, I became extremely bummed out. There was a long line of kids waiting to take their picture with Austin. I was standing to the side of the line, when all of a sudden, it was 7:00. I saw Austin walking towards the Aspire & Create tent. He had a bag of cookies in his hand and set the bag on the table, looked up, smiled & shouted “HAYLEY!!!!!!!” I could not believe he remembered who I was. I smiled so big, and I waved at him. The meet & greet was about to start. Austin was eating cookies, and the line had started moving. After the first kid in line got his picture taken with him, Austin broke off half of the cookie and gave it to him. After that, Austin looked over and gave me a smile. He did this for the next few kids that took their picture with him. Austin looked over & smiled at me in between each kids turn. My boyfriend Christian said to me, “He smiled at you about 10 times!” I happily replied, “I know!” Then, I glanced down at my phone & the time said 7:30. My boyfriend had to leave, so he kissed me goodbye and left. I was also supposed to get picked up at 7:30. My phone vibrated. It was my dad. I answered the phone and my dad said, “I’m here in the parking lot. I’ve been waiting here for 15 minutes. Lets go Hayley. Its time to leave.” I didn’t want to leave, but I had to go. I began to tear up, thinking theres no way I’ll ever talk to Austin again. I told my dad, “Okay, I’ll be there in minute.” I hung up the phone. I was still standing at the side of the line. I glanced over at Austin right as he was in the middle of finishing up taking a picture with a fan. I waited until he was done meeting the fan, then I screamed, “Austin! I have to leave, my dad is here!” Then he looked at me and said “come here!!!!” I was so grateful that he was actually letting me cut in line in front of these 75 people. I walked towards him and he hugged me so tightly. “Get out your camera so we can take pictures!!!”, so I got out my iPod. He grabbed the iPod from my hands, and clicked the camera button. First we took a picture where we could see ourselves taking the picture. After taking the first picture, he looked over at me and said ”we have to take pictures different ways!” I chuckled and said, “okay!” Then, he switched camera modes to where the camera lens was pointing towards us. He stuck out his tongue making his signature face. So, I decided to try to make the same face as him. I didn’t succeed, as you can tell by the picture. Then we had someone in line take three more pictures of us. I grabbed onto his hand as his arm was around my shoulder & held it. By the last picture, Austin being his super tall self looked down at me and said “You know what?”, then he wrapped both arms around me & held me super tight. I heard some people around us say, “awww cute!” & we just looked at each other and smiled. The fan gave me back my iPod and we thanked her for taking the pictures of us. Austin then looked into my eyes, held his arms out & hugged me as tightly as ever, and he said to me “I love you so much. And I am in love with the blanket. Thank you so much Hayley.” I said to him, “No problem! I’m so glad you like it. I love you too!” He could not stop smiling. Then he said, “Here, these are for you!” and gave me the rest of the bag of cookies. “Tweet me!”, he said. “Okay, I will!”, I replied. I’m assuming he read my letter to him which explained all of my struggles that include self-harm, depression, anxiety, being bullied, popping pills as an escape, being physically & verbally abused, body-dysmorphic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (due to being raped when I was 11), and my eating disorder. I definitely know for a fact that he noticed my obvious self-harm scars on my left arm, because he looked at me and said “Smile, okay? Smile every day this week.” So, I gave him a smile & said “Alright, I will. I will stay positive for you.” And he smiled real big and said “Okay, good. I love you Hayley!!!” “I love you too Austin.”, I replied. He smiled that amazing and contagious smile of his once more at me, and we waved goodbye.
Austin has as given me so much hope. He is truly one of the strongest people I know. I cant imagine losing my own mother at 17 years old, and battling Marfan’s syndrome every day of my life. This man has gone/is going through so much in his life, yet he is still standing and smiling his wonderful smile. I find that absolutely incredible. He has saved my life countless nights, and has given me a reason to smile. Because of him, I am finding the strength in myself to stop purging, to not skip meals, to not pop pills, and to never take a blade to my skin again, although it is very difficult. Because of him, I’m developing the strength to look in the mirror and smile, and I cannot thank him enough for that. Austin Robert Carlile means everything & more to me. And that will never change. ♥
^This is amazing.
He loves his fans so much. ♥
This made me cry!
I’m not a huge fan of Of Mice and Men, but I have the greatest amount respect for this man. Sweetest story ever<3
I quit. I quit life. This is so precious I’m crying I’m sobbing wow
This is the girl who gave Austin that blanket. Everyone kept telling me to read her story because it went so well with the photos. I asked her to send me the link, so I figured I’d share while I’m at it!