Scribble #7: Back of Your Head

“Big monster lover, a bigger pusher over,”

“I think the hardest thing about my life is that I’ve met so many people all over the world who I love, but they’re not friends with each other.” This quote from Cat Power (Chan Marshall), singer-songwriter behind this week’s song, Back of Your Head, sums up part of my experience making friends in college so far.

“Stands alone in most walks of life.”

While I am grateful to have no shortage of beloved friends, most of them don’t know each other. I met many of them last year, during the height of the pandemic, when meeting with more than one person at a time was extremely difficult. As a result, my closest friends, for the most part, do not know each other very well. 

“Walks alone in most walks in life.”

I wouldn’t trade my relationships with my friends for anything, but sometimes I have a hard time being able to make sure I see all of them somewhat regularly. Managing my time enough to make sure I meet up with my various friends can be challenging, but I am grateful that we know that we will stay friends regardless of whether or not we see each other on a weekly basis. 

“See you looking through me like you’ve unzipped the zipper.”

Over the weekend, I met up with my best friend for the first time in two weeks. With our schoolwork, classes, clubs, and other commitments keeping us busy (not to mention the fact that we live on opposite sides of campus), it was such a relief to be able to spend time with the person who knows me the best. We agreed that going two weeks without seeing each other is far too long and we will do our best to not let it be so long again.

“You hold the big picture so well.”

This is only my third semester of college, and my first semester that resembles something like a typical college experience. I have plenty of time to introduce my friends to each other and meet even more. I could never have imagined that I would have so many friends a year ago, and I am so grateful that I have been fortunate enough to make so many so quickly. Who knows where I will be a year from now?

Listen to Back of Your Head here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8MKnV5i6qU

Scribble #6: Chinese Satellite

 

“I’ve been running around in circles, pretending to be myself.”

I had a conversation with my dad this past weekend about how maturity and independence grows exponentially. In the past year and a half since starting college, I have seen this to be very true. Between the pandemic and moving halfway across the country for school, I’ve grown more than I thought was possible in such a short amount of time. I often wish I knew exactly who I am, but I am not even sure exactly who I want to be. This is a lifelong process, I know, and yet I catch myself wishing I could expedite it.

“Why would somebody do this on purpose when they could do something else?”

In Chinese Satellite, Phoebe Bridgers sings about her unsure attitude toward religion and her doubts of an afterlife. To me, this song represents something more: not being sure of who you are and desperately wanting to know how you feel and what you want, while also knowing that there is no way for you to rush this process. 

“Drowning out the morning birds with the same three songs over and over.”

After what feels like far longer than just over two months, I’m finally getting into the routine of in-person college. In another two months, once the new semester begins, some of that routine will change again. Just as I felt like I was getting used to my life here, there is going to be yet another change with the new semester.

“I wish I wrote it, but I didn’t, so I learn the words.”

It will be nice to be home for Thanksgiving – back in the place where I grew up and where routine is easy to fall into. I also know that after a few days I will be more than ready to be back in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where I feel like I am my best version of myself. When I am at school, my potential for growth feels unlimited, both in a daunting and inspirational way, and I miss that feeling whenever I’m gone.

“Hum along ’til the feeling’s gone forever.”

Over the past year and a half, my living situation has changed, my friends have changed, and I have changed. I’m finally getting to a point where I feel more stable, but it is inevitable that something will come along and shake things up again. Change is a special, beautiful thing, for better and for worse. The present is not permanent. Good things pass, but then again, bad things pass, too. For me, it always comes back to the same thing: it all works out, given enough time and the right attitude.

Listen to Chinese Satellite here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AV-eEC6XyzA

Scribble #5: Can’t Be Sure

Did you know desire’s a terrible thing?”

After a fun weekend of Halloween festivities, I am confronted with the reality of having multiple 10-12 page papers assigned and due by mid-December. A group project worth 20% of my semester grade is due in less than a week. There are only 22 days until Thanksgiving and only 37 days until the last day of classes. I’m still meeting new people on a near-daily basis and trying to juggle the many clubs I joined with the return of in-person classes and activities.

“It makes the world go blind.”

My semester has flown by. Maybe it’s because we are finally doing things in person, maybe it is because I already have a year of college under my belt, or maybe it’s because I’ve been incredibly busy ever since I moved in. 

“But if desire’s a terrible thing,”

In my experience, among my favorite things at the University of Michigan are the endless opportunities at my fingertips. I have no shortage of clubs to join, events to attend, jobs to apply for, and people to meet and spend time with. Unfortunately, this creates a challenge for me. With a course load of fifteen credits or more per semester and in-person activities resuming, I have to ask myself an important question: How much is too much?

You know that I really don’t mind,”

It is not a failure to step back and do less. It is not a sign of defeat to admit that I am not able to do everything. I am not letting myself or others down by acknowledging that I am in over my head. It is okay to say no to events and opportunities, and there is no shame in doing so. After a year of nearly nothing, it is not a reasonable expectation that all of a sudden we would be able to do more than we ever did in our lives prior to the pandemic.

“And it’s my life.”

Like Harriet Wheeler, lead singer of The Sundays, says in Can’t Be Sure, knowing what is best for you and what you want doesn’t have to be instant. Desires and passions can change, and there is no problem with that.

“And though I can’t be sure what I want any more, it will come to me later.”

Sometimes, I don’t know if I’m making the right decision when I choose to start a new activity or reduce my participation in an old one. Fortunately, I also trust myself to do what is best, and when I doubt myself, I have a network of people who I can talk it out with. Regardless, I’ll be able to see that it all works out for me eventually. There will be no shortage of future opportunities for me to engage in if I so choose.

Listen to Can’t Be Sure here: https://youtu.be/yARVs1ZNLjU

Scribble #4: What Are You So Scared Of?

“We’re scared of what we do not know,”

This week’s Scribble is based on the song What Are You So Scared Of? by Australian band Tonight Alive. One of the themes throughout the album (of the same name as the track) is the difficult necessity of letting go of things you cannot control in order to move through life without being paralyzed by fear. With only a few days until Halloween, I figured I should write a blog that deals with something spooky, and what is scarier than fear itself? 

“No matter where we want to go.”

I’m scared of feeling like I did not do my best and therefore was unable to reach my full potential. I’m scared of bad things happening to the people I love. I’m scared to open up to others and show vulnerability and expose my weaknesses. I’m scared of letting myself and my loved ones down. I’m scared of spending my whole life looking forward to the future until I realize, too late, that I forgot to live in the now.

“Wait for it to find you, to find you,”

The thing about these fears is that some are within my control while others aren’t. For the things that are within my control, I do my best to control them. I try my hardest most of the time, but I’ve been working on accepting the truth that it is impossible to do everything right and it is okay (and natural) to be imperfect. I have been practicing vulnerability (one way is by writing these blogs!) which is helping me get closer to my friends and form deeper and more honest relationships than I ever thought I could. Doing what scares me, in this case being more vulnerable, helps me realize that there is, in fact, nothing to fear. I still catch myself focusing on the future more than the present from time to time, and in those moments, it is important for me to take a moment to reflect on what makes me happy today. As for fearing things that I can’t control, the best thing I can do for now is accept the fact that some things are simply out of my hands. For me, like communicated throughout What Are You So Scared Of?, a vital part of facing my own fears is allowing myself to let go.

“But the truth is far behind you now.”

This Halloween, after you are done scaring yourself on haunted hayrides and watching horror films, I encourage you to do some healthy reflection. Now that the candy-filled distractions are gone, what are you so scared of? Challenge yourself not to run from your fears. What can (or can’t) you do about them? Sometimes, being brave means confronting what you are scared of. Other times, the courage lies in letting go. You might realize that there is far less to fear than you thought. 

“Time to say it out loud: What are you so scared of?”

Listen to What Are You So Scared Of? here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qvN2LxsFjA

Scribble #3: Spellbound

“You hear laughter cracking through the walls.”

As I sit down to write this blog, I struggle. This time it isn’t particularly difficult to write due to an intimidating feeling I am experiencing. I am not having a hard time putting a personal topic into words. After a fun-filled, cathartic weekend of catching up with friends and taking care of myself, I find myself struggling to formulate a blog that concerns music and my emotions. Music is one of the ways I process my sadness, anger, stress, and/or feeling lost, and this past weekend I haven’t experienced much of that. I happen to struggle with my worst bouts of writer’s block and artist’s block when I lack these emotions, so today’s blog will be something different.

“It sends you spinning, you have no choice.”

Although I didn’t go home for fall break, I would argue that these few days off were just as restorative for me as if I had. It gave me time to spend with friends who I hadn’t seen much of this semester. It seems like classes and studying have taken over our lives now that most things are finally in person, for better and for worse. Luckily, I had minimal work to do over break, so it was the perfect chance to catch up with my friends without the shadows of deadlines and pending exams hanging over our heads. Instead of worrying about what studying needed to get done, I was able to be fully present and enjoy every minute spent with my friends.

“Following the footsteps of a rag doll dance,”

I can’t tell you the last time I was as happy as I was while dancing to Spellbound by Siouxsie and the Banshees with my best friend this past weekend. We were enjoying each other’s company and the music we both love, and, in that moment, I felt like I was exactly where I was supposed to be. This is a feeling that is incredibly valuable to me in the constant turmoil of “growing up” and the long and never-ending process of figuring out who I am.

“We are entranced; spellbound.”

This week’s blog might have taken a bit more time and creativity than usual, but knowing that this is because I have been at peace with myself makes me hope I have many more weeks of this type of creative block to overcome.

Listen to Spellbound here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_bXdEA6nSM

Scribble #2: Milk

“I am milk, I am red hot kitchen.”

The Scribble for this week is inspired by the song Milk by the band Garbage. Shirley Manson, frontwoman of the band, has said that Milk is about “​​things you can’t have and you will forever wait for.” This past week, I’ve reflected on my own fears of being and remaining “incomplete”, and I have come to some important realizations.

“And I am cool, cool as the deep blue ocean.”

In my story, the protagonist is thriving. They have a job they are passionate about, a group of trusted friends, and the feeling of being able to be unabashedly themself. They have achieved their definition of success for the moment, and, though nothing is perfect, they have come further than they ever expected and are thriving. They look around with gratitude and, at last, have time to stop and relax.

“I am lost so I am cruel.”

They have the time to read books, watch movies and TV, and scroll through social media. Everything keeps screaming to them that something is missing. The doubt creeps in at night, when there are no further distractions: Will they ever be truly complete without “true love”? They see the necessity of “true love” all the time – they have since they were a kid. When the beloved characters from those beloved stories finally won, that usually included some type of prince or princess. Our protagonist feels like they won, but there is no prince or princess, so there is no way they can be fully complete. It was not a factor for their happiness at the start of their story, but maybe it should be now. All of a sudden, the protagonist fears that their story will never be complete. 

“But I’d be love and sweetness if I had you.”

I’ve had a mentality shift recently. The stories I grew up on filled my brain with misinformation surrounding “true love” that negatively impacts me to this day. Maybe my life would be incomplete without “true love,” but luckily I do not go without it. 

Thankfully, “true love” is not something I will forever wait for. “True love” is the gratitude I felt when I passed a still-blooming purple and yellow flowered bush even though it is October. “True love” is all of the late night vulnerable conversations I have with my best friends that leave us laughing or in tears. “True love” is losing track of time and space when I draw, write, or play guitar. “True love” is the random phone call from Mom because she just wanted to hear my voice.

“I’m waiting, I’m waiting for you.”

“True love” is thousands of things I have experienced and even more that I’ve yet to experience, and I cannot wait for each and every one of them. My story is far from over, but it is by no means incomplete. 

Listen to Milk here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amrvLJRA3dc