Kurt Cobain Is A "Friend In My Head"

Kurt Cobain Is A "Friend In My Head"

Kurt Cobain once exclaimed, “I'm so happy 'cause today I've found my friends... They're in my head." He's one of mine.

“They laugh at me because I'm different; I laugh at them because they're all the same.” - Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain's feelings and thoughts translate similarly to mine. His words comfort me. I know that yes, I am different, but I wouldn't want life to be any other way. I hope my complex self causes confusion and self-evaluation to those that encounter me. I hope I express my passion well enough that others are encouraged to do the same, or maybe even take the first step to finding what they themselves are passionate about.

"Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are." - Kurt Cobain

I spent far too much time during my earlier years of high school wishing I was someone that I viewed as prettier than I was, or received better grades than I had. All in all, I wasted so much time doing so, when in reality these were wishes that would never come true. I should have spent more time falling in love with my quirks, accepting my faults, and embracing my good qualities. No one else can live my life better than me.

"I'd rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I am not." - Kurt Cobain

I used to be in a very close relationship with God. I believed that throughout all my trials, with Him by my side, I could do all things. I allowed the Bible to feed into my daily mindset. I was in love with a God; I was not in love with a religion. I began to realize this when I vocally supported equality, specifically LGBTQ equality. A member of the church went as far as to ask me, "You support gays... So, are you gay?" As if by having a good heart and requesting peace and love for all, I was assumed to be of the group experiencing hate. It was assumed by some that since I supported and encouraged equality and happiness, that I was personally struggling for LGBTQ equal rights. Fewer people spoke to me at church. I wasn't going because I wanted to. I didn't feel as if I had to prove anything to God by going to church. So I stopped going to church; I stopped going through the motions. I established that I would simply live a life that I genuinely feel that "God" would approve of. I wasn't going to lose my voice simply because others disagreed. I wasn't going to stop being who I was just to lessen the confusion of narrow-minded people. I wasn't going to stop being who I was, period.

The duty of youth is to challenge corruption." - Kurt Cobain

At the age of merely 17, surrounded by global corruption, it is easy to feel as if I am a waste of space. It is easy to feel as if any effort toward peace wouldn't go further than being recognized by myself alone. I've learned that most fights toward peace will go unrecognized, and that is OKAY. Sometimes you do something small for the good of the world, and it receives more attention than ever expected. So yes, most attempts by one person go unnoticed in the big world that we live in. But if we stop trying, the sum of attempts to better this world will grow smaller... We cannot afford to stop trying. So take every extra second you have to find opportunities to better this world--despite the size of action or the amount of years you've experienced this world.

"The sun is gone, but I have a light." - Kurt Cobain

Each night I lay in bed surrounded by darkness. Some nights I fall asleep easily, and others I am at the shore of depression's waves. There may be no physical light within the darkness, but there are almost endless metaphorical lights within the darkness or within the invisible. We read poetry, but do we see it? We listen to music, but do we see it? We feel the sun on our skin, but do we see it? We are thought of by those we love, but do we see it? We feel the butterflies and tremble when our line of vision meets someone we love, but do we see the butterflies? Do we actually see most of the things that bring us comfort?

“Thank you for the tragedy. I need it for my art.” - Kurt Cobain

The first time I shared my writing capabilities was at my best friend's funeral. I wrote a eulogy for my best friend at the age of 15. I always dreamed of partaking in a dramatic slam poetry contest and everyone being blown away by my unpredicted talent. Yet there I was, not so joyfully sharing a eulogy for my best friend... That day I broke down so many barriers at once. I took note that writing was and always has been the only thing that'll always be here for me. I had to devote my entire self to get across the inexplicable experiences I had lived through. Words don't do justice to many things I write about, especially not my best friend. Although, it was the closest I could allow the audience to get to personally experiencing the times my friend and I had shared ourselves. That day I realized how much power my writing truly had. With tears in the audience's eyes and gasps in their breaths. I was numb enough due to the grief to make it through the entire read through. From that day on, I have never stopped writing. I was even inspired to begin publishing my writings. So here I am, publishing my thoughts through writing, that I never thought I'd open up to the public.

“There's good in all of us and I think I simply love people too much, so much that it makes me feel too fucking sad.” - Kurt Cobain

My mother always tells me that "Somebody New" by Hozier seems to have been written for me, which I simply nod my head in response to. She's entirely accurate. I see the good in everyone. If I could get paid to meet strangers every day, hearing their life stories, learning what they've gone through, what they've accomplished, what makes them happy, what they struggle to talk to, etc., I would never "work" a day in my life again. I fall in love with quirks and abnormalities. I see potential in even the most strayed or broken individuals. So when I witness others fail themselves, I feel their painful self-disappointment as well. When I witness someone not receive a well-deserved award/position, I feel their defeat. I feel for others. Empathy (when possible) is my middle name, and when I cannot empathize, Sympathy is my middle name. Tatum Empathy/Sympathy Oxford... Sure does have a ring to it.

“Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.” - Kurt Cobain

I have struggled to cope with my past trauma of being stalked and followed. Yes, it is normal to check your surroundings when in an unfamiliar location or are alone at night; however, I do this in my own home. I jump at any sound. I continuously peer over my shoulder. While listening to music, I often pause the music, thinking I've heard someone nearby. The destruction my trauma has caused me is utterly disturbing. With the help of my treatment, I am learning to feel safer. I am learning that while stalking is a true problem and it has made me a victim once before, that doesn't mean I'm always on display. I can live my life as if no one is watching. Such a simple concept, a human right, was stripped of me for too long.

“I started to be really proud of the fact I was gay even though I wasn't.” - Kurt Cobain

When the Supreme Court of the United States ruled same-sex marriage a right nationwide, I celebrated. ME. Even though I wasn't in line on that exact day awaiting my marriage, I felt the excitement. I felt the warmth. I felt accepted. I saw people I knew, expectedly or not, open up and proclaim their sexuality. I had an internal conversation with myself that when I find the person I love and want to spend the rest of my life with, IT DOES NOT MATTER WHAT IS IN THEIR PANTS. I felt a new me open up. I knew that we were beginning to live in a more accepting world. I couldn't help but want to be cliche and wave a rainbow-striped flag. I was full of pride.

“If my eyes could show my soul, everyone would cry when they saw me smile.” - Kurt Cobain

My short time on this earth has been filled with experiences that most people haven't even witnessed by the age of 60. I am blessed and cursed for having such experience and knowledge. I know the importance and burdening factor to empathy. I know that I must express my love for those around me while I can because they can be taken in an instant... Sometimes you cannot even say goodbye. I've battled anxiety, chronic pain, depression, grief, migraines, trauma, and much more. I am not my difficulties. I am nothing but the bold person that is still somehow breathing today. So when you look me in the eyes, and if in that instant my smile reaches my eyes, I would cry if I was you; I cry when I see a genuine smile on the face of someone who has endured their unfair deck of cards. So if you cry, I understand. I'd cry too.

Cover Image Credit: Mark Seliger

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Green Day and Donald Trump

Why Rock Music and Politics Are Forever Intertwined

Why Rock Music and Politics Are Forever Intertwined

Green Day performing at the 2016 AMA’s

Since Green Day’s album Revolution Radio was released last October, just a month before Donald Trump was elected to be President of the United States, the band has received a barrage of opinions on its political involvement, specifically its support of politically left ideologies and candidates, mostly negative. The band’s frontman, Billie Joe Armstrong, has often been criticized for stepping outside of life as a musical celebrity and speaking about politics. However, this is hardly without precedent. Green Day itself has already come under fire over a decade earlier for the release of American Idiot just before the 2004 presidential election, criticizing the Bush administration and its decision to go to war with Iraq. But it goes back even further than that.

Rock and roll as a genre began evolving from African-American blues and jazz, genres that began by combining African musical tendencies with western instruments. Blues was often known for discussing the darker aspects of life, often related to living as an African-American in the South. For example, Billie Holiday’s song “Strange Fruit” speaks to the terrors of lynching and other race violence that black people in the U.S. often experienced. Bringing these topics to the forefront of Black American culture and doing so with European instruments in itself was a rebellion against the harsh segregation that was rampant throughout the whole country.

Rock music continued to act as a vehicle for rebellion as it became more defined into what we now recognize as rock today. Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” became an instant success in 1958, despite his race, and Berry’s music continued to be discuss a major that was growing in the ‘50s and ‘60s: consumerism. Although rock had its origins in American race problems, rock music began to evolve into a more white genre as Elvis Presley took center stage and the title “The King." As rock and roll grew with the British invasion (featuring the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and more), instead of becoming a more commercial genre it retained its rebellious nature, although no longer in the context of race relations. Instead, it became more based in white social structures, going against the nuclear family lifestyle that had been the norm during the ‘40s and ‘50s. Additionally, when hippie culture began rising and peaked during the Vietnam War, much of rock music was based in free love, free substances, and harmony. In a time period when gender norms, strict etiquette, and nuclear war were all tied together, rock and roll instead became a fluid idea, which resulted in many genres being created.

What’s interesting about rock music from an outsider’s perspective is that much of the music from the past 30 years or so does not have a lot in common. What makes both Metallica and Fleetwood Mac rock music? Even accepting that subgenres exist makes it difficult to fully understand. While obviously a lot of the genre classification is rooted in instruments, that’s not the whole story. Much of it is that rock music is about rebellion. Even though much pop music today uses the same rock lineup of guitar, bass, drums, occasionally a keyboard, and vocals, it conforms to musical standards already approved by a massive target audience. That is to say, pop music is made with the idea of appealing to a greater number of people. However, rock music is made with the idea of making people question things, question what is right and wrong, and what is ignored in current societal norms.

Rock music has always been about rebellion. Continuing through the ‘70s, the Sex Pistols began to draw more political ideology into rock music with their songs “Anarchy in the U.K.” and “God Save the Queen”, sending anarchist and anti-monarchy messages out to other rock fans. The ‘80s were filled with hair metal band after hair metal band fighting against gender norms following the second wave of feminism in the ‘70s. It was during these two decades that women began to lead more and more bands. Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac became a star, Joan Jett became an icon, and the metal band Girlschool was formed, challenging the idea that rock music was a man’s outlet for bad behavior. In the ‘90s, rock music became increasingly more political with the grunge scene placing the problems of Generation X front and center. And the band Rage Against the Machine was formed.

Rage Against the Machine at Vegoose, 2007.

Rage Against the Machine can be considered a front runner of bands making specific political comments, and using their platform as musicians to focus on making change happen in the world. And these musicians meant business. Guitarist for Rage Against the Machine, Tom Morello, holds a degree from Harvard University in political science and lead vocalist Zack de la Rocha is the child of the Chicano artist, Beto de la Rocha. Rage Against the Machine critiqued more than aspects of American society. In fact, it critiqued American society and government as a whole, and refused to perform in censored spaces. Rage Against the Machine, although a more extreme band than many others, laid the foundation for current artists speaking out about politics.

Rock music has always been about politics, and so it is not at all surprising that Green Day has been so outspoken about American politics. It’s more surprising, in fact, that they are an outlier in this, when rock music, with or without a Harvard degree in political science, is made to critique societal norms. Which is why it’s important that rock music continues to have a platform through which more social awareness is brought to the general population - so that we can continue creating a better world.

Cover Image Credit: Green Day's Revolution Radio

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A 5 Step Guide To Making Your Awkwardness Awesome

Embrace The Awkward Within

If you have had more than twelve years on this earth chances are you have experienced an awkward moment. The more you live life the more your chances of awkwardness increase, but some of us have had more than others. You may self-identify as an awkward person. (I myself do completely wear the "I-AM-AWKWARD" tophat everywhere I go.) I counted the number of awkward situations I found myself in just today and in four hours I had experienced four awkward moments. That is an awkward moment every hour!

So I have decided to write a short guide on "How-to" embrace the awesome Awkwardness that lies within because believe it or not, being awkward can be one of your best qualities! We often look at ourselves and criticize every "wrong choice" or moment that creates an awkward vibe but hopefully after reading my guide you'll be able to tap into yourself and become "Majestically Awkward"!

1. Lean Into The Jokes!

If you're anything like me and suffer from "foot-in-mouth" syndrome many things you say can cause people to make fun or joke about your behavior. Don't let your face turn red or your skin start to sweat, embrace the joke and laugh along with them. I embarrass myself at least three to four times a day it makes everyone feel better when you roll with the punches. (This does not mean stuff down pain if you are truly hurt!) My advice is to think of a joke to add to the moment and learn to not take yourself so seriously. Being awkward can throw off the moment, but with some jokes and laughter, each moment can seem endearing.

2. Forget Being Graceful, Just Finesse!

The gif says it all! Being awkward can get physical! I once fell down three flights of spiral stairs and still went to class afterward. You have to own the moment and then continue on. I know the feeling of heat in your face and stomach that makes you think "Oh my gosh everyone saw that!" but quiet that voice and replace it with one that says "yeah, I did that!" I have a friend that any time she knocks into something she says she was checking for it. She can bump into the door and then say "I was just checking the door." If spills are involved don't waste your time with tons of sorries just find the nearest cleaning supplies. In short finesse the situation.

3. When All Else Fails, Dance Away

I am a fan of this one because I am always caught dancing to some new song in public because I just can't help myself. So if I am ever feeling overwhelmed by the awkwardness I have most likely caused, I dance away. People are always confused by the movement but they normally respect it and chuckle. It is a fun way of acknowledging that the moment was a little too much for you and you just need a dance break.

4. Feel Your Feelings

Awkward situations can sometimes stem from pent-up feelings. This is why I am an advocate of feeling your feelings. Deal with what you can and move on. Don't bring awkward "I-can't-deal-with-my-feelings-syndrome" from one situation to the next. Take a moment to journal, pray or confide in a friend. Feel the moment and move on, it will shorten your awkward encounters by at least 1/2!

5. Remember To Be Fierce

This one is simple, but I will admit that it may be the hardest. Love yourself! Look at that awkward bumbling person within and encourage them to try hard at everything you want. Do it. Fierce. Power! Be the most awkward Beyonce you can be because you're amazing.

I hope after considering my mini-guide you feel encouraged and have some tips and tricks for maneuvering within this awkward situation inducing world. Stay Awkward Y'all!

Cover Image Credit: Elfster

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