SZA - Babylon
Her sound has had no precedent.
SZA - Babylon
Her sound has had no precedent.
I’m fairly certain that each one of you, every one of us, has been betrayed by happiness at least once in life, probably numerous times. And every one of us has known some measure of despair or another, even if we pretend to be invincible in front of others and in front of ourselves. As we grow older we adapt to this reality by learning to wear masks: masks for our colleagues, for our coworkers, for acquaintances, for family, for friends, for lovers, even masks for ourselves. In a strange sense, the masks both obscure our truths and create new ones. I don’t think our being different with family versus friends, for example, denotes that we’re lying. No human being is just one person. We are each many different characters amalgamated into one, and I believe that human beings are complex creatures.
There are things that we sometimes lose in that complexity that are not worth losing, that are at least worth putting up a fight for. One of those things is honesty, probably the trait I value most in any person, myself included. You know those late night conversations you have with people online at like 3 AM or something, and then you see them the next day at school or at work or on the street or whatever and you’re back to being “respectably” distant? What the fuck is up with that? I can’t for the life of me fathom why people act that way, although I’m 100% sure I’m guilty of the same charge. In my defense, I do try and minimize this coldness towards others, and it more often than not puts me in a position of vulnerability. I know this, I’ve reached that undesirable verdict many spells ago. I’m not stupid, either, I can tell what people often think of me. I can see it in their facial expressions. Some find me eccentric: a weirdo, which I can’t deny that I am; I have vivid and engaged conversations with myself in public and I think it translates that I don’t really care much for people’s opinions of me, for better or for worse. The other half of the time people feel I’m some sort of bigot, like I think I’m better than them or that they’re not worth my time, and that really bothers me. I may be solitary and insular, generally, but I really do like people, for the most part. On rare occasions, I’m even capable of loving people. I can even think of one person (who knows who he is) for whom I’ve always imagined I would take a bullet to the temple without a second thought (although some hesitation may present itself outside of theory).
Because of those confining convictions, those baseless apparitions, I slowly learned to grow distant from the people around me. I found confusion in communion and solace in solitude. There is joy to be found in aloneness, in knowing, befriending, hating and admiring your own self, that society cannot offer. Sooner or later, however, that desire for a separate existence forges mental manacles and you begin to forget how to interact with other human beings, how to value other people’s needs and fears and desires and ambitions. You begin to forget the intrinsic worth of the worthless other. .
Disdain of happiness can lead you to sever and ignore your connections with your fellow primates, the equally-lost spirits floating around existence, same as you. And, while I’m still as cautious as ever, I think I’m done being disdainful of happiness, whether in myself or in others. Such a tragic way of wasting life, and I refuse to subscribe to that creed any longer. Bad experiences cannot be allowed to foil good ones; that is a lesson we must consistently remind ourselves of as we grow older. With that being said, I think I’m becoming open around people once more. I don’t expect anything, either, it’s just that I’m beginning to realize that other people can be a lot more interesting than we often give them credit for, if we only stop assuming and begin to temper our motions with strength of character instead of a bad attitude.
I don’t know, I’m just detoxing my soul right now. I hope you don’t mind witnessing.
- “Man, these last few years I’ve been putting in work. Like, I have all these ideas and I’m just trying to execute them, but I need a team. I’m telling you, guy, we just need to be dedicated and put work in. We’re only going to live for so long, I’m sick and tired of wasting time. We need to make something out of the gift of life we’ve been given. We’re young, we need to stay motivated and focused and invest our time and energy in things that matter. Soon we’ll reap the fruits of our labour, but before that we need to join forces and make things happen.”
- “Yeah, man, I feel you. This is getting me really motivated.”
- “Me too, man. From this point onward we look forward. Good things are waiting for us.”
- “Yo you know what would be really funny? If we both die in a car accident right now.”
I was going to e-mail someone I used to be friends with before we parted ways. As I began my reply, addressing the concerns stated in the last message I had received, I started reading this final declaration from a distant correspondent. At first I was adamant about making a wholehearted attempt to build another bridge, but the more I read of my former companion’s tirade, the more I remembered that it was designed with malicious intent; made of thinly-veiled passive-aggressive hatred, with precision and dedication and adept craftsmanship.
I was one sentence into my apology before I said “fuck this bitch” and scrapped the project.