I used be date a guy who taught me how to understand art. He taught me that it’s about the feeling it gives you and not necessarily about the presentation of a pretty thing. It’s one of the most important lessons I’ve ever learned, not only because I can look at a thing and see its poetry even if I don’t appreciate it aesthetically, but I’m also in tune with my emotional reactions to media.
Last night, I was listening to the Pursuit of Happiness by Kid Cudi. I had listened to it about 50 times already. “This song is heartbreaking.” I said to my husband without even truly thinking about it. I had checked in to my heart, and felt it wrench in my chest. “It’s about hope.” He said and looked at me quizzically as I talked out my thoughts. In the track, he isn't looking for happiness in any of the right places. He’s drinking. He’s smoking. He’s tormented by night terrors. True, it may be about hope. But it’s also about the vicious cycle that all of us perpetuate when we look for happiness in the wrong places. It can feel like an endless, hopeless cause for some of us.
This has provoked me to consider my own path, where I've been and where I’ll go. I’ve spent the better part of my 20s looking in all of the wrong places. And it took that whole time to realize that fulfillment couldn't be found where I was looking. It was madness, really. I have resolved to be kinder to myself, to do things I love, and to nurture growth with positivity and not misguided, socially acceptable forms of self-abuse. It’s a struggle, and they do say that old habits die hard, but I’m grateful for the wisdom. I hope wherever you are in your journey, you see there is love and light after that life. You may have some things to learn yet, but you will get there. I believe in you. Just do one thing for me. When you’re relying on an old habit that might be hurting your progress. Take a second to check in. Take a breath. Give yourself a break. Think about how you want to feel and be true to that.