My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way is more than one of the scene’s most iconic frontmen—he’s also an inspirational figure. As proof, we compiled some of Way’s most inspirational quotes. Bookmark this page for future use—because his words don’t age.

“Mental illness used to be a taboo and now it's not anymore, at least, I feel like it's not. I'm glad about that.”
It doesn’t seem like that much of a quote, but sometimes the biggest strength is found in subtlety During his October 2014 Reddit AMA, Gerard Way made sure to point out the limitations of mental health speak—and completely ignore it. The only way toward progress is to ignore taboos, to eradicate them, and for Way, they don’t exist. That’s powerful!

Read more: Gerard Way Reddit AMA Recap: My Chemical Romance, gender, art and ‘Hesitant Alien’

“The difference we wanna make is, number one, to let these kids know that they’re not alone, that they’re actually not that messed up and that they can do whatever they want. They can express themselves however they want without be persecuted or called a ‘faggot’ or some kind of racist thing.”

My Chemical Romance has always been a band dedicated to the outcasts, making all of us embrace our weird tendencies—to recognize that the things that make us different are the things that make us great. With this Black Parade-era quote, Way outlines MCR’s mission statement: to make us feel less alone. Watch the full quote in the video above, around the 4:59 minute mark:.

“If you or someone you know are severely depressed, you need to fucking talk to somebody: your best friend, your mom, somebody in school, I don’t give a fuck—because pissing away your life on suicide is fucking bullshit.”

Recognizing mental difference is only the first step to helping yourself and others—talking to people is crucial, too. Way made that clear night after night onstage. This particular quote can be seen in the video above, at the 6:47 minute mark.

“I don't want people to be afraid of living, which I think is everybody's biggest fear. I want people to express themselves how they want. If that means dressing up in women's clothing, so be it. I'm very opposed to intolerance, racism, and sexism. Men are still being called ‘faggot.’ I see women being treated as second-class citizens, even in punk rock. So if it's happening there, it's happening everywhere. I'm very much into acceptance.”
In a 2006 interview with Rolling Stone, Gerard Way outlined his personal-as-political beliefs in the most poignant way. Waking up every morning is the bravest thing any of us can do; looking out for our fellow human is up there, too. Feeling inspired yet?

“Rock 'n' roll, to me, is about control. It's about who has it, who loses it, who wants it, who is trying to take it. And there are parts of that [which]  are beautiful, the fact that it's about the loss of control. Then there are other sides where you kind of have to take it back. You have to say, ‘This is the way it's going to be.’ You kind of reclaim your art and say, ‘No, I want this to stay special. This is how I'll do it.’”
This 2014 Fuse interview arrived just before Way released his debut solo album, Hesitant Alien. In it, he details the demise of My Chem and his move toward solo recording; but in doing so, he outlined the importance of taking ownership over yourself and your art. It’s not limited to rock ’n’ roll, either—when you take charge of what matters to you, you become happier.

“I’d like to think that. I remember being at Warped Tour and seeing a lot of macho guys and saying: ‘If you’re a homophobe, if you’re a racist or sexist, please don’t watch us. There’s no point.’ And a lot of the big, gnarly dude-dudes would cheer. Because of music, my acceptance of it expanded. Getting into Bowie and [London] Suede. It helped me not feel so different.”
In this 2014 New York Times interview, Way all but disses bro culture and machismo while highlighting music’s incredible ability to be accepting of all genders. In his own way, Gerard was something of a feminist hero.

“Sometimes you have to kind of die inside in order to rise from your own ashes and believe in yourself and love yourself to become a new person.”
This particular statement comes from Teen Ink and is specific to Way’s ongoing battle with drugs and alcohol. He’s sober now, but it took a lot to get there—sometimes the best changes come from the darkest places. You can’t be afraid to fail, but you have to be willing to climb out of it.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental illness, there is help to be found.  Please consider these online resources and talk to your regular doctor about your symptoms:
MentalHealth.gov – Get Immediate Help
ImAlive – Online Crisis Network
International Association For Suicide Prevention – Resources
The Anxiety And Depression Association Of America
The National Alliance On Mental Illness
American Psychiatric Association – Finding Help
National Institute Of Mental Health
American Psychological Association – Psychologist locator