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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

July Playlist

July Playlist

Hey fam! July has been a pretty good month, I think. Honestly, it's mostly blurring in my mind--Tumblr, journaling, songwriting, screenplay-writing, novel-writing, finally exercising...but mostly me laying on my bed and staring at a screen. LOL. Nothing has changed.

I leave for a quick vacation on August 1st, and the next time I post a monthly playlist, I'll be moved into my sophomore year house, which is INSANE, but anyway here is my music for the month of July! My last two playlists were quite anticlimactic, because I wasn't listening to much music, but I've been listening to these tracks constantly, so I hope you enjoy!

Spotify link: https://open.spotify.com/user/12149039602/playlist/0EhngKWmwDrDsFBvdbcuUV

1. "Plastic" - 2.37
ALBUM: Mid-City Island
ARTIST: Moses Sumney

2. "Emotions And Math" - 3:17
ALBUM: Emotions and Math
ARTIST: Margaret Glaspy

3. "Tilted" - 3:53
ALBUM: Christine And The Queens
ARTIST: Christine and the Queens

4. "Where's Your Heart Gone" - 4:10
ALBUM: Where's Your Heart Gone
ARTIST: Golden Youth

5. "After Rain" - 4:54
ALBUM: After Rain
ARTIST: Dermot Kennedy

6. "Rejoice" - 3:34
ALBUM: Sprained Ankle
ARTIST: Julien Baker

7. "Wildfire" - 4:13
ALBUM: Paradise Valley
ARTIST: John Mayer

8. "All Falls Down" - 3:44
ALBUM: The College Dropout
ARTIST: Kanye West, Syleena Johnson

9. "Bluegrass" - 5:19
ALBUM: Move
ARTIST: Matt Phillips, Phil Harmonic

10. "Coffee" - 3:46
ALBUM: FMA
ARTIST: Grace

11. "Yellow Eyes" - 3:51
ALBUM: Yellow Eyes
ARTIST: Rayland Baxter

12. "Way Down We Go" - 3:40
ALBUM: Way Down We Go
ARTIST: Kaleo

13. "Getting Ready to Get Down" - 3:16
ALBUM: Getting Ready to Get Down
ARTIST: Josh Ritter

14. "Famous" - 3:16
ALBUM: The Life of Pablo
ARTIST: Kanye West

These are all the songs I've been listening to for the last three and a half weeks. I've been having a great summer so far, but I'm getting super excited for my second year of college. THINGS ARE CHANGING. For real this time. Let's do it.

Talk soon. xo

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Another Word on Police Brutality

Disclaimer: I support the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
Disclaimer: I am pro-cop. Well, I'm pro-good cop.
Disclaimer: I am as anti-gun as they come.

I've seen a lot of emotional calls to action, logical breakdowns of fact, and mixes of the two. I have seen liberals and conservatives duke it out on social media for supremacy of opinion. And I am exhausted by it.

I don't want to write that long of a post here, I just want to say what I really think about the problem of police brutality in this country.

Being in a police officer is dangerous. But it's not the most dangerous job in the world by any stretch of the imagination. It's also a choice. If you do not want to put your life on the line every day, perhaps you are better suited to a job that is not often dangerous or life-threatening. No matter how noble your intentions are, every time you put on your badge and walk the streets, you are not just enforcing the law and protecting the innocent. You have pinned a shiny gold target to your chest. And no matter how race relations change in this country, that will always be an immutable fact.

I read a lengthy post from a police officer about how black-on-black crime is a much larger problem than cop-on-black crime. (I'm not even going to get into how the only reason that's a problem is because of systemic discrimination and abuse, because it would take too long). I've read articles stating that more white people have been killed by police than black people and about how Latinos are killed in almost the same numbers as blacks.

That information doesn't matter to me, and here's why.

Police should NEVER shoot to kill.

The problem of police brutality is racial. We need to stop dancing around that. There's way, way more statistical information to back up the fact that blacks are more frequently harassed, verbally abused, physically attacked, tasered, and yes, shot and killed by police than whites, even while unarmed. But statistics can be biased. Statistics can be misleading. What we can calculate is how often police have killed people, regardless of race.

And no matter what number you get, if it's larger than zero, we've got a problem.

Police will argue that if their lives are in jeopardy, they have no choice but to shoot. And I would agree that if your life is threatened you should be able to defend yourself. But there are so, so many jobs with equal or greater danger posed by other human beings where killing is not an option. Think of a social worker. Think of an orderly in a mental hospital with violent patients. These are people who walk into equally or more dangerous situations as police officers every day, but with no guns. They have to subdue violent people or escape violent circumstances without killing people all the time. So why do the police kill so often? When a social worker enters a dysfunctional home to remove children from the care of an unfit and abusive parent, they know that there's a chance the situation will escalate to the violence. But do they walk in with a gun in their belt, hand already gripped around the trigger? No. They don't.

I am of the controversial opinion that our police force should not be armed at all and that no civilians should be allowed possession of guns. I hate guns. I really, really hate them. I think the second amendment is just as outdated as the Three-Fifths compromise, and that if the greatest threat to your civil rights is having your gun taken away, then your life is pretty good. I think that in other countries, where the police forces are far less heavily armed and there are next to zero fatalities caused by police, they've got it right.

But I know that the United States is way too gun-happy--and that many members of the government are too far in the pocket of the NRA--to get rid of guns in the way I'd like.

So I just want to say this: bad cops need to figure out a way to stop killing people. Black and white and everyone in between. This is a heavily racialized issue, and I wish people would stop trying to deny that, but it's also just a purely human issue. Our police forces are practically military in their armaments, and they seem way too quick to pull triggers and end lives. If police officers are going to be armed, the gun needs to be the last resort, and it should never be used to kill. There are ways to disarm dangerous criminals without shooting them.

The police have to do their jobs without committing murder. There are so many good cops out there, and just a few bad ones who slaughter innocents and criminals alike. The God complex has to stop. The bloodshed has to stop.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

It Is Hard to Be Yourself

It is really difficult to be yourself. Or maybe it's just difficult to be MY self.

I feel like the people I've met at college fall into these neat little boxes--the carefree artist, the reserved academic, the ambitious preprofessional, the inebriated frat star, the boisterous clown. I find myself at the nexus of a lot of these groups, always on the outskirts of their fun and never quite invited in. I'm either too boring or too wild or too lazy or too uptight or too unfunny at any given time to any given person. I feel like other than my family, I don't really have anyone who makes me comfortable being my full self. I don't mean to cast aspersions on my friends who appear to fall into these boxes--and I recognize how tremendously unfair it is for me to categorize these people so narrowly--because I know they're not trying to change me. But it's inherent that when you're hanging out with seven of your friends and all seven of them are in sync and you're not there with them, you're gonna feel some pressure to be different.

I guess what I want to know is how I can feel contented with who I am and not feel like it's too much or not enough.

The artists make me worry that I'm too mainstream when they come to class in big flowing skirts and cool vintage clothes, and I'm wearing an outfit plucked straight off a mannequin from the Gap. The academics make me feel like a burnout when they spend their Friday nights holed up in the library, and I stay up till 3am, bouncing from party to party with my music and film friends. The preprofessionals make think that I haven't done enough for my future when they land internship after internship, where my resume lays mostly blank. The frat stars make me feel like a square when they do five shots in a row or have one-night stands, and I quietly explain that I don't drink or do drugs or sleep with strangers. The clowns make me feel exceedingly boring when they get a big laugh in our motley crew of friends, and my jokes fall flat.

I just don't want to feel like I'm listening to the wrong music or wearing the wrong clothes or watching the wrong movies. I want to feel like people want me around and not like I'm this strange passenger who stole aboard their cargo ship moments before launching into the sea.

That sounded weird as hell, but I'm going with it.

I think the worst part about these feelings is that sometimes, I know EXACTLY who I am. When it comes to my career, I know what I want and where I want to go. But all of that gets muddled when I hang out with people whose personalities seem a lot more defined, or at least recognizable. Embarrassingly, I feel like I can't even recognize myself sometimes.

I guess the point of me writing all this is to say that one of my goals for my next year of college--and all the years to come in my life, I suppose--is to get better at being myself in front of other people. Going to a school like USC, being in a program like the pop music program, living in a house full of film majors--I'm surrounded by unique individuals all the time, and somehow, that has always made me feel like I'm standing out wrong (which just situationally makes no sense). I'm going to embrace all aspects of my personality: be loud when I feel like being loud, shutting up when I feel introspective and quiet, cracking jokes when they come to me, writing when I'm inspired, and being the odd patchwork person that I am. The artist, the academic, the preprofessional, the frat star, the clown. (Okay, maybe I'm not much of a frat star, but you get my point.)

And if you've ever felt these feelings, if I've explained them in a way that makes them sound familiar to you, then I urge you to do the same. Spend the next academic year of your life without superfluous filters. As long as you're not hurting anyone, you should be allowed to do pretty much whatever you want. So, I guess, figure out what that is, and then go do it.

Talk soon. xo

Friday, July 1, 2016

June Playlist

June Playlist

I KNOW. This is madness. June playlist coming a day late. But hey, maybe I'll start a new tradition on posting this thing on the first of every month...?

Anyway, here goes nothin. Spotify link: https://open.spotify.com/user/12149039602/playlist/2e0a90Ti1eyxH9AbnHfuO7

And now for the list of tunes under the cut (real short this time, but hang in there fam, July will probably be longer):

1. "It Ain't Me Babe" - 3:34
ALBUM: Another Side of Bob Dylan
ARTIST: Bob Dylan

2. "G Train" - 3:36
ALBUM: Searching
ARTIST: Thirdstory

3. "Take Me Dancing" - 3:10
ALBUM: Take Me Dancing
ARTIST: Will Joseph Cook

4. "The Joy" - 4:58
ALBUM: The Joy
ARTIST: M&O

5. "Tourist" - 3:46
ALBUM: Yuna
ARTIST: Yuna

6. "Indica" - 4:48
ALBUM: Dealer
ARTIST: Foxing

So yeah, that's actually it for what I listened to in June. I didn't listen to music all that much, which I get is weird, but if you can believe it, there wasn't much occasion for it. I read a lot, wrote a lot (in more than one medium), journaled a lot...but this month I plan on really diving into more music-listening (and maybe music learning, since I gotta get into fighting shape for fall term). I feel GOOD right now! It's weird that it's already July, that we're halfway through 2016, that at the end of next month I have to go back and do that whole college thing again, this time as a sophomore with way more responsibilities and expectations on my shoulders. But I'm ready for ya. One sophomore slump, please, hold the slump!

Talk soon. xo