On 'Shame', By The Avett Brothers

On 'Shame', By The Avett Brothers

I'll keep praying the same, with some help from the Avett Brothers.


I'm the worst type of music listener: I play one song on repeat for days, and then move onto another one. The old Avett Brothers song, "Shame," is that song for me right now, and what better way to maximize what I get out of the song than write an Odyssey article about it?

With Scott Avett strumming and Seth Avett singing, the song proceeds with a country and folksy tune, with a slow beat and emotional tone. Like many Avett Brothers songs, this one starts with a love story and the reminiscing of a hectic end to a relationship: 'Okay, so I was wrong about/ My reasons for us fallin' out." But for Seth, there's a lot of regret, and a whole of shame, when he refers to the relationship as one "of love I want to fall back in." He claims to be a new man: "my name is different now, I swear/ I know now what it means to care/ About somebody other than myself." Ironically, in many life renditions of the song, Scott Avett interjects that "that's not true." Seth Avett then asks for another chance with his former lover and the relationship, and begs his ex-lover to "give a man a second start."

The chorus and crux of the song explore the theme of the song: shame. I've written before on the incredibly important differentiation between the phenomena of guilt and shame. Guilt implies that you do bad things, while shame implies that you are bad, and are irredeemable. Guilt is good, but shame is bad. I know this to be true and have often to preached the idea to others the same, but damn is it difficult as hell to not feel shame in our daily lives. And that shame, something I know to be inherently bad and unproductive, is something that overwhelms myself and so many of my peers almost every moment of every day.

Because I think they're so powerful, I'll just list the chorus here for everyone to not only read and think about, but feel:

"Shame, boatloads of shame
Day after day, more of the same
Blame, please lift it off
Please take it off, please make it stop."

I stop in my tracks every time I hear this verse. The second line, that shame hits "day after day" and hits us continually, and infests our lives with "more of the same" misery and pain hits home. In the third line, Seth Avett is begging for someone, anyone to "please lift it off," and hammers the point home in the last line to "please take it off, please make it stop."

One verse laments "the mail/ the stories people often tell/ about us that we never knew," referring to the gossip that surrounds the past relationship that only makes the situation worse. Another verse accepts that his world, now different, is changed, and often unbearable. "But now I'm out and I've had time...And sink into another world/ That's filled with guilt and overwhelming shame."

But there's a silver lining, and some consolation in the midst of this incredibly overwhelming shame. This is where the Avett Brothers choose to end the song. The singer has changed when he sees other people going through similar breakups, fallouts, and overall negative situations Previously, when somebody ' "And when they break and fall apart/ And need somebody's helping hand/ I used to say just let 'em fall." Before, he "couldn't help them," but now, he can.

So what do I take away from a song I'm doing unnecessarily exhaustive literary analysis on? Shame sucks. It really does. I see shame as an overarching source of so much pain and suffering for so many people, including myself - I often pray some variation of these words when I have the chance. "Heavenly Father, please, please, lift some of this shame. Make some of it more bearable, make some of it stop. Father please, please, make some of it go away." Although there is some good to it, and much of the shame I have felt has often been an intensively hard lesson on empathy, I'll keep praying the same, with some help from the Avett Brothers.

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9 Reasons Crocs Are The Only Shoes You Need

Crocs have holes so your swag can breathe.

Do you have fond childhood objects that make you nostalgic just thinking about your favorite Barbie or sequenced purse? Well for me, its my navy Crocs. Those shoes put me through elementary school. I eventually wore them out so much that I had to say goodbye. I tried Airwalks and sandals, but nothing compared. Then on my senior trip in New York City, a four story Crocs store gleamed at me from across the street and I bought another pair of Navy Blue Crocs. The rest is history. I wear them every morning to the lake for practice and then throughout the day to help air out my soaking feet. I love my Crocs so much, that I was in shock when it became apparent to me that people don't feel the same. Here are nine reasons why you should just throw out all of your other shoes and settle on Crocs.

1. They are waterproof.

These bad boys can take on the wettest of water. Nobody is sure what they are made of, though. The debate is still out there on foam vs. rubber. You can wear these bad boys any place water may or may not be: to the lake for practice or to the club where all the thirsty boys are. But honestly who cares because they're buoyant and water proof. Raise the roof.

2. Your most reliable support system

There is a reason nurses and swimming instructors alike swear by Crocs. Comfort. Croc's clogs will make you feel like your are walking on a cloud of Laffy Taffy. They are wide enough that your toes are not squished, and the rubbery material forms perfectly around your foot. Added bonus: The holes let in a nice breeze while riding around on your Razor Scooter.

3. Insane durability

Have you ever been so angry you could throw a Croc 'cause same? Have you ever had a Croc bitten while wrestling a great white shark? Me too. Have you ever had your entire foot rolled like a fruit roll up but had your Crocs still intact? Also me. All I know is that Seal Team 6 may or may not have worn these shoes to find and kill Osama Bin Laden. Just sayin'.

4. Bling, bling, bling

Jibbitz, am I right?! These are basically they're own money in the industry of comfortable footwear. From Spongebob to Christmas to your favorite fossil, Jibbitz has it all. There's nothing more swag-tastic than pimped out crocs. Lady. Killer.

5. So many options

From the classic clog to fashionable sneakers, Crocs offer so many options that are just too good to pass up on. They have fur lined boots, wedges, sandals, loafers, Maryjane's, glow in the dark, Minion themed, and best of all, CAMO! Where did your feet go?!

6. Affordable

Crocs: $30

Feeling like a boss: Priceless

7. Two words: Adventure Straps

Because you know that when you move the strap from casual mode chillin' in the front to behind the heal, it's like using a shell on Mario Cart.

8. Crocs cares

Okay, but for real, Crocs is a great company because they have donated over 3 million pairs of crocs to people in need around the world. Move over Toms, the Croc is in the house.

9. Stylish AF

The boys will be coming for you like Steve Irwin.

Who cares what the haters say, right? Wear with pride, and go forth in style.

Cover Image Credit: Chicago Tribune

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.


Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.

I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.

I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.

As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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