Embracing Darkness and Why The Agent Hates to Self-Silence

“No, me; I will NOT shut up. This is some important s***.”
Source: Thinking Healthy

Just a quick stream-of-consciousness style rant today to discuss how I apparently have a ‘bad habit’ among my more private circle of friends.

I keep a private Facebook page exclusively for friends and family where I allow myself to get much darker in my speech and tackle weightier topics that I don’t discuss here simply because I treat this corner of my part of the internet like a business and I don’t want to drive people off.

But, if I’m being honest, that kind of pisses me off. I hate having to do that.

However, I got reminded of why I do that recently. You see, I share those dark stories and thoughts because it’s my way of letting others who may be struggling with depressing crap that I’m somebody that can relate, is listening, cares about what you have to say, and wants to see the world change for the better. I legitimately want people to turn to me for emotional support.

The problem is that when people see a long string of sad posts saying how I relate to people with depression, praising artists for speaking out against bullying, or sharing stories commending parents for being aware of the danger their kid may be involved in, they think that I’m about to go off my nut.

And while I may get annoyed with the ever-echoing mantra of, “are you okay,” don’t begrudge those people for wanting to check up on me. After all, they’re just as worried about me as I am about them. And I’d like to think ALL of us are worried about the state of the world. It’s only natural to want to be concerned with the each other.

But the fact of the matter is this; I talk about dark, depressing things because I feel that denying them is to deny serious look into the human condition. I want people to see just what’s happening in the world and understand how people are feeling until they have no choice but to do something about it as a collective whole.

Of course, I realize that part of the fault is my own. Nobody likes being told how much of a crap-sack the world is when there’s obviously plenty of good in it that keeps getting ignored (why do you think I post #GoodNewsFriday on Twitter every week?), but it seems just as easy these days to just ignore the horrible stuff and act like it never happens.

Basically, what I’m trying to say is that we all have a duty to speak up and act when we see injustice and inequality in the world and remind those that are suffering that we want to help them. Go and enjoy the good things in life that keep you going; that’s your right and what we all need every day. But don’t forget to step into the shadows every once and a while so you can remind yourself and others when and where there’s a candle that needs lighting.

Is Pop Music Entering a Blue Period?

Ah, so THIS is why this shirt got popular all of a sudden…
Source: Redbubble

Much to my chagrin (and those who frequent my place of work), they recently switched the radio station at work from a classic rock mix to a top 40 loop. It goes without saying that I don’t care if I never hear the likes of Adele ever again.

However, being forced to listen to the mainstream sound caused me to notice a distinct pattern in music today; namely, the lyrics are getting much more depressing. While I can’t speak for pop radio in other states (I’m sure what’s popular differs from region to region), the most frequently played songs here in my hometown seem to be focusing on darker subject matter.

Just to list a few examples, the aforementioned Adele’s Hello is a tale of regret after realizing how poorly she treated her ex now that they’re gone and too hurt even bother listening to her.

Meanwhile. Alessia Cara’s Here seeks to identify with the less social, high-minded crowd by recreating a feeling that many of us college folks can relate to – being dragged to a party by your friends and having no fun what-so-ever because everyone’s too drunk/high/vapid to carry on an intelligent conversation.

Even the more upbeat stuff like X Ambassadors’ Renegades and A Great Big World’s Hold Each Other have a hidden edge to them when you realize that we wouldn’t even need an anthem celebrating bold thinkers and the many forms of love respectively if they weren’t horribly undervalued already.

Probably the most soul crushing though has to be Stressed Out by Twenty One Pilots; a song about the endless stream of so-called ‘adult responsibility’ robs us of the chance to follow the dreams of our youth.

So, the question now is, “why is this happening now?”

Well, speaking personally, I believe that the transparency of the world has reached an all-time high. For what is surely the first time for many of us, we are seeing everything wrong with everything. Wars rage across the globe, environmental degradation threatens our lives, ignorance still drives the hatred of whole metaphorical oceans of people, and the corruption in our government is at its most blatant in years.

Art is reflective, not just of its creator, but of the world that created the creator. So many of us are so fed up with how sloppy and mismanaged our world has become, that we need to react to it. Art like music is our way of spreading the things that we see to others that can’t see it. And when enough people start seeing something together, that’s how revolutions and movements start.

Incidentally, this all ties into the recent wave of 80’s nostalgia that we’re experiencing in pop culture as a whole. Speaking as someone who grew up through the 80’s and early 90’s, very few of us expected to live past our early thirties. Now, the landscape of war, pollution, and political corruption seems to mirror that same age. But instead retreating back into sex and drugs to escape the problem like we did back then (the thinking being that we were going to die anyway, so we might as well enjoy ourselves), we’ve taken a less nihilistic approach and willingly face the problem head on.

So, you know what, I welcome this Blue Age of pop music. Who knows? Maybe some people will actually become famous for delivering a meaningful message instead of shaking their ass at the camera.

The Agent’s Best Worst Birthday Ever

Yes, it was worse than this.
Source: Billboard

So, now that Halloween is officially over (I personally don’t stop celebrating until Thanksgiving), I can start talking about other things that happened last month. Things like how my birthday was both the most painful experience I’ve had in recent memory and yet one of the best from a personal growth standpoint.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned how I normally love the month of October because my birthday coincides closely with Halloween. However, this year was quite difficult to enjoy.

A fair chunk of the issue is that this is my first year living on my own since getting out of college. As such, I’ve had to dedicate a huge swath of time and energy to making a comfortable life for myself. This means that most of my time has been spent away from friends, family, and even my roommate.

But it was the day of my birthday that hit me the hardest. I had just pulled up to my apartment after working all night. I was exhausted and emotionally drained after a half-hour of repetitive complaints from my boss that I had no power to fix; a daily morning routine for me for what felt like several months at this point.

I saw that my parents had called my cell phone, so I returned the call. After what felt like several minutes of explaining that I had to work that night and that I couldn’t see them, I had had a moment of lucidity.

I had not seen anything outside of the walls of my apartment or the rest stop that I work at since I moved. In my attempts to escape the trappings of my old reclusive live, I was stuck in a brand new box without the people I cared so much about.

As the realization that I was falling back on my shut-in behavior that I tried to distance myself from came over me, I wept. I wept like I never had in years. I just fell on the steering wheel of my car as I sat parked in front of my building and started sobbing. I had finally been broken.

But then, a strange thing happened. As I did my usual run of posts on Twitter and Facebook, I read the birthday wishes that others had sent me. It reminded me that there were those out there that still remember me and cared enough to take five seconds to let me know that. Still, it wasn’t the same as seeing a smile face.

That’s when my roommate came knocking at my bedroom door. She grabbed my best friend from work, got me a key lime pie, and didn’t want me leaving for work that night without it. Something about that small gesture just made the whole day seem worth being pulled out of bed. I went in to work that night with no regrets.

If there are two lessons to be taken from this, I’d say that the first it’s that – as sappy as it my be – there’s a reason that you’re here on this earth; because at least one person cares enough to need you in their live.

The other, less romantic lesson is that so-called ‘mature adult responsibilities’ will always be B.S. until they can be made to not interfere with the time you should be spending with the people that actually matter in your life.