Talking Freddie Gray Blues

I can’t get this song out of my head.

It’s beautifully written and constructed in classic Kevin Devine fashion, Elliott Smith influence ever so subtle.

I haven’t been very vocal about this because I feel as though no matter what I say, I cannot change the situation or the larger problems surrounding it; Only shoot hypotheticals and what-ifs and could-bes. But KD did such a wonderful job here. 99% of the words are things I wish I could say or construct into such a beautiful, succinct statement.

I don’t watch the news as much anymore as I believe it is mainly a vehicle for entertainment and bias. But I see the headlines and tune in every once in awhile. Because I have the luxury of not becoming emotionally involved. I’m a white female living in the suburbs and I can just turn it off whenever I want.

This is not my reality / I’m afforded the luxury / Of shaking my head / I shut the screen, go to bed / I can turn off what you never can / And watch it happen again and again

Truth is, I feel so deeply for my black brothers and sisters. And days come and go where I wish I could take away all of their pain.

Truth is, as a nation, we’re nowhere where we need to be. And this won’t go away overnight. Change is necessary. Justice and Equality are necessary.

But with each passing day I just feel helpless and unsure. And I’m so sorry and I wish I could paint the world over.

The system’s broken / Not breaking / It’s done

Because how many more times must this happen, how many more young black lives must be lost before we wake up as a country and ignite the human compassion seemingly dormant within us all?

I hope not too long.

Day 6: Publish A Post That Includes A New Element

Today’s Assignment

I’ve had this song on repeat since this past weekend.

You know when you stumble across something you’ve listened to hundreds of times before and all of sudden in that moment, in that exact time in your life, you become awash with transcendent emotion because it all makes such perfect sense in ways it never did before? Now I know I’ve already posted in this 30 day challenge about Saves The Day and how much they mean to me, but I need to talk about this song and why it’s so important not just for me, but maybe for you other 20-somethings out there who are in need for a soundtrack to accompany your predicament and your just-blossoming life. Music is therapy – always.

That melancholy, apathetic opening guitar tone is like a blanket that I don’t know whether to curl up in its promising comfort or cry in its lonely, dark-encompassing emptiness. I let out a sigh of sadness as Chris Conley’s longing vocals come in, “And I’m gonna get to the bottom of this, gonna peel back my skin and look at myself shaking and shivering“. Existential crisis confounds us all. You can try to ignore it, but it will never go away. These are the years to ask all the pressing the questions we couldn’t make time for throughout our years of schooling; There’s this desperate rush to figure it out, to understand when we’ve been trying to understand everything else our whole lives. But these fundamental questions of “What is life”, “Who am I?”, “What am I doing here?” “What is my purpose?” seem more important than anything else we’ve ever asked ourselves because this is the root. And we turn inwards, trying to figure ourselves out and even though that’s the first step, we are scared and confused beyond recognition.

There’s still longing for something else, something felt but not seen or heard that one can only feel within. And though we know it is so, the search never seems to end. The lyrics from a literal point of view paint this quasi-suicidal picture of wanting to just end it all because it’s such a terrific burden and the journey, seemingly aimless. And though that may be so, metaphorically it is all rebirth because what must live must eventually die like a snake sheds its skin. “And as my skin collects in a pile on the ground, I’ll radiate heat and turn off my head and just pretend that I don’t exist. Then, I’ll see clearly to the end“. We strip away our body to see what’s really inside our minds, our soul, trying to shut out desire and fear and just be. But it’s never easy; We sometimes feel prisoner to this existential quest, but we must come to peace with it somehow.

Truth is, I’ve felt like this. And I think it’s normal to feel this way at one point or another. There are days I make my peace and there are days filled with uncompromised anxiety. Life is ups and downs and it would not be Life without them; There would be no downs without the ups and there would be no ups without the downs. It’s emotional gravity. This song is important to me because I feel it aligns so much with what I’m currently going through, this kind of aimless wandering trying to find my niche. Sometimes it feels like the world doesn’t want me and it weighs me down. But I always know the next day will be better and waking up in the morning facing a new day is the restart button I seek sometimes. And some days I feel I have nothing figured out but after I close my eyes and attempt to center myself I know one day I will, and this is the first step out of many in figuring out who I am and what I’m going to do with the rest of my life. It’s a daunting thing that no one wants to fuck up. And even if we do make a mistake, chances are it’s only temporary but most importantly, normal.

I know these feelings will eventually go away, but sometimes it’s nice to wrap yourself up in that blanket and hide away for awhile or rightly so, let out a good cry. We’re only human after all.