The featured image showcases what I think is my first true failure of a T-shirt. It is the first of many, mark my words.
Looking back at my time at Stanford from almost the end, it seems like a montage. Time blurred for days or weeks at a time sometimes, but there was memorable stuff happening almost every day. It gets exhausting sometimes. When I got here, I had bad coping mechanisms and good coping mechanisms to deal with stress. I’ve been replacing the bad ones with neutral or good ones as much as possible for the last while, building this new identity to be strong enough to deal with the stresses it will face.
Starting new, good habits and keeping them up, like going to the gym or eating better, is difficult. While going to school, it can be nearly impossible. To deal with this, I had to find things I would enjoy every day. One of those regenerative pleasures is listening to music while in the shower. My house was broken into and I was assaulted when I was coming out of the shower in Albuquerque once (I had gotten boxers on before they bashed in the bathroom door), which means showers sometimes bring up anxiety these days, which sucks because I effing love showers. Or maybe I’m just part dog. In either case, music helps change the situation just enough to distract me from the occasional flashbacks.
What did I listen to in the shower? Energetic feel-good stuff that has grit, lots of hiphop and (guilty) DragonForce. What, I’m a nerd. In hip hop as a white person, it’s rare that you find the bootstrappy sort of musician who has genuinely made it on his own without selling his soul to the recording indu- I mean devil. Well, except Eminem.
It’s more rare that he happens to like many of the same things you like, like Seattle and the word “hella” at the same time. I won’t use the word “hella”, but I don’t mind it anymore. I used to ridicule it along with everyone else in Albuquerque that despised Santa Fe and Taos because they were wholly owned subsidiaries of California. It was the thing to do. Mostly, we were jealous that people in Santa Fe didn’t have to live in Albuquerque, though.
But then I moved here, eventually, and it’s awesome when you ignore the entitled arrogant rich tech bastards. I call them bastards because they often appear to believe they’re nobility, and it is exactly when they do believe that that they are the most wrong.
Anyway, I’m listening to this Macklemore guy this morning. I recommend you check him out. The first song is about putting in the work to make your life better. The second song is just about raising the roof. I can do this from memory, I’ve listened to this album so much. The third song is about not being a consumer whore. The fourth is about leaving someone when it’s causing you pain to stay, but it’s also about leaving memories in the past that need to be left, even if you love them so much it hurts. I often start crying on song four because that’s when I remember my late friend Roxy, who pretty fundamentally changed my life. Right after, I remember that it’s my job to live as memorable a life as I can as a tribute to her and my living friends.
At least, that’s what those songs mean to me. Sometimes I hear things in music that don’t seem to be there – but I’m looking at what the stories embedded in these songs tell me. I look at things the artists do that they might not even know they were doing, the metaphors or seemingly unintentional slips from first to second to third person. The fifth song is about not being able to change one’s sexual orientation, and was made for the 2012 radio, and fit it perfectly. I’ll leave the rest to you, but they’re equally good.
I hope you enjoy this album even close to as much as I have.
Image courtesy of