Wednesday, January 11, 2012

"My Gift is my Song and This One's for You"

A melody, a lyric, a rhythm, or a voice can be a powerful thing when it's frequency seems to be completely synced to your emotion. Music can give you comfort, strength, joy, validation, and freedom.

Like an art enthusiast might visit galleries or collect paintings, I have spent a good amount of time going to live performances and listening to a copious amount of music. Once and a while I'll have what feels like a musical déjà vu. The words will sink into my memory and I'll get the strangest vibe that I've felt this feeling before.

Writing the soundtrack to my life, I reached into that memory bank more so than the contents of my iPod. Thinking about how my perspective on life has evolved over the last 21 years, the music began to subtly fade in as a proper soundtrack should, impeccably accompanying the images in my head.

1. The Beatles – All You Need Is Love
“There’s nothing you can know that isn’t known.
Nothing you can see that isn’t shown.
At The Beatles' Love, 2009
Nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be.
It’s easy. All you need is love”

"All You Need is Love" is simple and amazing. For me, it is the perfect representation of what my childhood felt like. Everything happened for a reason, and there wasn't anywhere I could be that wasn't where I was meant to be.

2. Simple Plan – Grow Up
“This is who I am. And this is what I like.
GC, Sum and Blink and MxPx rockin’ my room.
If you’re looking for me. I’ll be at the show.
I could never find a better place to go.
Until the day I die. I promise I won’t change.
So you better give up”.

Lead Singer of Simple Plan, 2003
Goofy as it may be, Simple Plan was my favorite pop punk band when I was in middle school. I developed a fascination for things like the X games, studded belts, and started saying "dude" a lot. Like your average middle schooler I thought I was really cool with my music and my band Ts style, and was adverse to change.

3. The Head And The Heart – Rivers and Roads
“been talking ‘bout the way things change.
and my family lives in a different state.
and if you don’t know what to make of this. then we will not relate”.

I moved to Nevada in 2005, and heard this song in 2011. I had almost forgotten how much of a struggle it was to realize that no matter how adverse you are to change, things still continue forward; and that it is up to you to move forward as well.

Modest Mouse, Anaheim 2010
4. Modest Mouse – Bukowski
“If God controls the land and disease.
Keeps a watchful eye on me.
If he’s really so damn mighty.
My problem is I can’t see.
Well who’d want to be. Who’d want to be such a control freak?”

Between the age of 13 and 19 I had an internal struggle with religion. In a typical coming-of-age moment I had to put aside what I learned in church and private Christian school, and choose to think for myself.

5. Bob Dylan – It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)
“Advertising signs that con you.
Into thinking you’re the one.

Bob Dylan, 2011
That can do what’s never been done.
That can win what’s never been won.
Meantime life outside goes on. All around you”.

As I began to shed the ideas that I no longer believed, I initially approached it in the wrong way. I couldn't understand why everyone else couldn't see what was going on in front of them in the way that I had. Everything was a lie, and everyone were fools. But in reality, life wasn't that simple. No matter what type of box I wanted to force the world into, whether it be cross shaped or not, it was in the end still going to continue to just be life.

Bright Eyes, 2011
6. Bright Eyes – Arc Of Time (Time Code)
“To the deepest part of the human heart .
The fear of death expands.
Until we crack the code we have always known .
But could never understand.
On a circuit board we will soon be born again”.

My struggle with religion came to an end when I decided that it was okay not to have an answer. Like Thomas Paine Said in his book, The Age of Reason, "My mind is my own church".

7. Kid Cudi – Pursuit of Happiness
“Imma do just what I want, lookin’ ahead no turnin’ back.
If I fall, if I die, know I lived it to the fullest.
If I fall, if I die, know I lived and missed some bullets.
I’m on the pursuit of happiness and I know everything that shine ain’t always gonna be gold, hey.
I’ll be fine once I get it, I’ll be good”.

Kid Cudi's album The Man on the Moon was my confidence for 2009. It was the year of the impossible. I juggled more and accomplished beyond what I could have ever dreamed. I overcame fears, and gained the momentum that would set up everything that came after.

8. Cat Stevens – If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out
“You can do what you want.
the opportunities are.
And if you find a new way, you can do it today.
You can make it all true . And you can make it undo”.

In 2011, I created the O One One Project, a list that kept me accountable for making what I wanted for my life happen. There were no limitations for how serious, frivolous, easy, or impossible the task were, the only rule was that I had to continue to try. This project turned out to be the saving grace of my year.

9. Modest Mouse – Guilty Cocker Spaniels
“Before I could spit it out.
I guess the words had burnt my mouth, what can I say?
There’s the thought I laid it down.
So you could take it out of context either way.
We said all along we deserve every bit.
And mostly we knew that the supply would quit.
But we got going, going just away with it.
Until everybody lost their mind.
Directly behind me and ahead of the time.
But don’t you worry he’ll fall right in line.
Yep, everything just might fly by.
No one’s getting blamed this time”.

From 2008 to 2010 I was flying high. Accomplishments were frequent, I was got multiple promotions, scholarships, and felt like I was on top of the world. But I got the feeling somehow that I was entitled to my successes and because of that nothing could go wrong. In about a 10th of the time that it took me to build, all that I had earned suddenly began to crumble. The castle was made out of sand, and 2011 was unseasonably rainy.

10. The Avett Brothers – Head Full Of Doubt/Road Full Of Promise
When nothing is owed, deserved or expected.
And your life doesn’t change by the man that’s elected.
If you’re loved by someone you’re never rejected.
Decide what to be and go be it”.
There was a dream.
One day I could see it.
Like a bird in a cage I broke in and demanded that somebody free it.
And there was a kid, with a head full of doubt.
So I scream til I die or the last of those bad thoughts are finally out”.

I move forward a humbled person. I no longer assume that things are going to go my way. Instead I've learned to roll with the punches and to ask myself "what's next". I continue to work on what I envision for myself and to do things for me with the understanding that sometimes a change or two may be needed along the way.

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