all posts tagged 'when we were young'

WeblogPoMo 2024 - Song 13: Anxiety Attack Mitigation

🔗 a linked post to » — originally shared here on

A heads up: this post talks about mental health and suicidal thoughts again.

When you mention suicidal thoughts to your therapist, the first thing they do is work with you to write up a plan.

The plan is a series of steps you can take when you are unable to pull yourself out of a funk.

The steps start out small and accelerate all the way up to “go to the hospital.”

My first small step was to write down movies, TV shows, or songs that make me happy.

The movies and TV shows were easy, but I struggled to think of songs that made me happy.

As I’ve written a lot about this month, most music simply distracts me or serves as a sympathetic friend. It’s not often that songs put a smile on my face.

I started a new playlist in Apple Music called Anxiety Attack Mitigation1. Over the following few weeks, I added songs that brought a legit smile to my face when I heard them.

Here are the songs on it as of today:

Black Box - Fall into My Love (Radio Edit)

One night, my daughter was eating at the table while I was doing dishes. We were arguing about something unimportant. She was “very mad” at me.

This song comes on shuffle and I begin dancing. I can’t help it with this song, it’s too damn groovy.

I turn around and look over at my daughter. She looks up from her plate with an angry scowl. She sees what I’m doing and her jaw drops like a cartoon character. She gets this look on her face that’s equal parts amused and shocked.

She quickly realizes that she’s supposed to be mad at me, so she quickly covers her mouth and looks away.

Whenever this song comes on, even if I’m “very mad” about something, I can’t help but crack a smile.

Coolio - The Winner

I mentioned this song in my Hit ‘em High writeup, so I’ll make this quick:

This is a song that I’ve heard all my life, but never actually listened to until very recently.

Seriously, read these lyrics.

I’ll admit that I didn’t expect this sort of message from the same guy as Gangsta’s Paradise, but I’m grateful for the wisdom of Coolio.

Des'ree - You Gotta Be

102.9 Lite FM was my second favorite radio station growing up2.

I’d fall asleep to that station every night.

The song I most looked forward to hearing was this one.

Even as a fourth grader, this song made me feel good about myself.

As an adult, the song serves as a manifesto for how to keep moving through life.

Sum 41 - Fat Lip

I had this song on my Cybiko.

That’s a big deal because my Cybiko had a 16 megabyte card, which could store a whopping 16 minutes of low quality MP3s.

This song reminds me of middle school. Wanting to rebel but never feeling courageous enough to do it.

I’ve been lucky enough to see them perform it live twice this year3. I used to think pop punk music wasn’t something I was allowed to have as part of my identity, but the past few months have needed a soundtrack to help me make sense of my present situation.

Now, I’m no longer ashamed to admit that I love it.

12 year old Tim would’ve loved to see Sum 41 live. 36 year old Tim is grateful to have had that realization before it was too late.

And every time I hear this song, it reminds me that I need to put on my own oxygen mask before helping others.

Rêve - Still Dancing

I already covered this one.

Hoobastank - Crawling In The Dark

I’m embarrassed to admit I listen to a lot of these songs, and this one is probably the one I’m the most embarrassed about.

Maybe I’m reaching a point in my life where I want to care less about what other people think, and this post serves as exposure therapy.

But I can’t rock out enough to this song when I feel angsty. It helps me feel less alone.

Jimmy Eat World - The Middle

This was another song that was on my Cybiko.

Every time I hear it, I try to place myself into the perspective of either the singer or the girl.

As the singer, someone pops into my head that I feel could use a pat on their back, so I shoot them a text and see how they’re hanging in there.

As the girl, I allow myself to get the pat on the back.

Bluey - I Know a Place (The Creek Song)

The best children’s television show of the past few years is unquestionably Bluey.

The soundtrack to the show is part of the reason why.

Close your eyes when listening to this song and picture the scene being described.

It’s a sure fire way to ground yourself back in reality, to give you a chance to let go of the thing that is causing you so much stress, to make space for thoughts that matter.

Em Beihold - Numb Little Bug

I went out for karaoke a month or so ago and heard someone sing this song that I’d never heard before.

The lyrics match the way I feel when I’m especially down, and listening to her helps me feel less isolated.

Modest Mouse - Float On

Like the Coolio song above, here’s a song that’s been in regular rotation for years, but I hadn’t really listened to the lyrics.

This song is a reminder that life often works out just fine in the end.

Hoku - Perfect Day

You listen to this song and try to not get a dumb grin on your face.

Curtis Mayfield - Move On Up

Yet another song I’ve enjoyed for years without considering the lyrics all that much.

The uplifting lyrics and encouragement to persevere through struggle make this song perfect for this playlist.

It also often gives me perspective for my own struggles. I know there isn’t such a thing as “the suffering Olympics,” but come on, my struggles aren’t much compared to those of an African American in the 70s.

The Linda Lindas - Talking to Myself

I’m seeing Green Day this summer, and the Linda Lindas are one of the opening sets.

Their entire Growing Up album is very good, but this song made it on this playlist because, much like the Numb Little Big song, it often feels like we’re alone when we have depressive thoughts.

I’m super lucky to have friends I can call to talk about the things I think about that I can’t help.

Some of you may even be reading this post! I can’t believe people read this stuff, but again, I’m a very lucky guy. ❤️

  1. This is an incredibly dorky name. Just needed to admit that here. 

  2. My first was Radio AAHS. The ink I could spill about my love for Radio AAHS… 

  3. They are currently on their final tour. I’m not sure if this is like pro wrestling when people have retirement matches and then go on to wrestle for another 30 years (looking at you, Ric Flair), but it sure feels like they are ready to call it. Yet another reason I’m glad I took the opportunity to see them live this year. 

Continue to the full article

WeblogPoMo 2024 - Song 9: EKKSTACY - im so happy

🔗 a linked post to » — originally shared here on

Editor’s note: This post contains discussion of suicide. Take care of yourselves, y’all.

Alright, so I guess some of these WeblogPoMo posts are going to be albums instead of songs, because sometimes the collective is more meaningful than any one individual song.

That’s certainly the case for this EKKSTACY album.

I first learned of EKKSTACY from the When We Were Young festival. I didn’t catch them live because they were on at the same time as the headliners, but I did give their Misery album a couple of spins leading up to the festival.

The album came across shuffle once again shortly after getting laid off at the beginning of this year, and I haven’t been able to stop listening to it.

First of all, this style of music just sounds cool to me. The guitar and bass sound so ethereal, the vocals are haunting and brooding. There’s a simplicity to the melodies that makes it feel approachable1.

But maybe what I love the most about this album is how striking the lyrics are.

Back in February, these lyrics from the song “Christian Death” specifically were stuck in my head for days:

I just wanna die, I just wanna kill myself
I don’t give a fuck about anyone else
I never leave my house
When I die, I hope there’s a pistol in my mouth
I just wanna die, I just wanna kill myself

This past February and March were quite difficult for me. I constantly felt the worst mental pain I’ve ever felt in my life. Not only was I dealing with burnout and stress, but I also had this asshole voice called depression in my head with me nonstop.

At first, this guy would show up and whisper stuff in my ear, much like you’d see a drug dealer sneak up to someone in a 90s anti-drug PSA.

“Hey, an easy fix to all this would be to kill yourself. I wonder what that might look like.”

Just like how I’d imagine if someone snuck up to me and offered drugs in the 90s, I replied to these thoughts with genuine bewilderment and confusion.

Why would you be offering me free drugs? Your drug dealing business would be way more profitable by selling that product to your existing customers. I also do not have an income, so what would you gain by getting me addicted?

Why would I kill myself? What benefit would that actually give me? How would that solve any problem and not create way more problems for everyone around me?

The bewildered response was how I often responded to this guy because I frankly don’t have much experience interacting with those thoughts.

My usual response to bad feelings (like guilt, embarrassment, shame) is to completely shut down. Just nope out of whatever situation I am in and sit alone doing everything I can to push the thoughts away.

But there was no nope-ing out of these thoughts. And since shutting down is not an ideal response to those other feelings, I started working on how to cope with these thoughts.

One day, I was out on a walk, and that depression guy showed up and started being a jabroni again. This time, I happened to be listening to this album and those lyrics came on.

A smile appeared on my face. I felt a true feeling of relief, and I’m not quite sure why.

In some warped way, it felt a little silly hearing someone talk about killing themselves in such a brazen way.

It felt good to know other people have spent time shacked up with this depression voice and found ways to keep them from completely taking over.

Maybe the juxtaposition of endorphins from the walk, a more neutral observation of the suicidal thoughts, and actually speaking them out loud was all it took to realize how absurd it is to take those thoughts too seriously.

I’m feeling a lot better here in May, by the way. I still find myself avoiding uncomfortable and difficult feelings because, well, they suck.

But at least I now have tools to handle them. One of them is throwing on this album, sitting with the feelings for a bit, and telling them that it’ll be okay.

And I wish I could forget
That everything will end
And everyone I love has said at least one time
That when wе die, everything will be fine

  1. Alright, so maybe this is just what all emo music is and I’m just describing everyone’s experience with it. But I’ve spent a lot of my life deriding emo and actively avoiding it, so I suppose this is a footnote to pat myself on the back for being more open-minded. If you can’t be self-congratulatory on your own blog, where else can you be? 

WeblogPoMo 2024 - Song 2: Goldfinger - Superman

🔗 a linked post to » — originally shared here on

It only takes 5 snare hits and 5 tom hits to instantly transport me back to the warehouse where you go crashing through the window in the very first level of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater.

I spent so much time playing this game on the PlayStation. I wasn’t even particularly amazing at it. It was just fun to try and pull off the 900 again and again.

Recently, I learned that the N64 version of this game had to use abridged versions of all the songs on this soundtrack due to space limitations on the cartridges.

Amazing that we can now fit the entire contents of the Nintendo 64 library of games onto a 32GB SD card.1

Ska is a genre of music I get embarrassed when I tell people I enjoy it. It is a genre for a specific brand of misfit. Think emo kids who aren’t overly emotional. Punk kids who aren’t anarchists.

I haven’t listened to much else by Goldfinger, but assumed that they would be playing this song toward the end of their set at When We Were Young.

Imagine my surprise when they called Tony Hawk onto stage before playing it.

Tony recalled the story of meeting the band and asking them to be part of the soundtrack. He said that he and Goldfinger grew up together and owe much of their success to their symbiotic relationship.

Then all of a sudden, the band starts playing the song, and Tony Hawk starts singing it!

There were several moments at When We Were Young where I would try to sing along to a song but couldn’t. I was overcome with emotion.

Seeing thousands of misfits singing this song in unison with the coolest misfit of them all on lead vocals? I couldn’t handle it.

Ska is fun. Ska is camp. Ska is dorky.

And I’m here for it.

  1. Uh, not that I’d know that.  

Cultivating a state of mind where new ideas are born

🔗 a linked post to » — originally shared here on

If we think of creative introspection as having three levels, level one is just noticing that you find an idea interesting or exciting.

Level two is noticing that your longing to be accepted can fool you to get excited about an idea that you are not actually excited about.

Level three is Andrei Tarkovsky.

In his diary, during preproduction of his masterpiece Solaris, the Soviet filmmaker writes that he has met a sound engineer that he considers brilliant. The sound engineer told Tarkovsky that they shouldn’t use Bach in the film because “everyone is using Bach in their films at the moment.”

In the diary, Tarkovsky makes no further note, but in the film, the music is—Bach.

Tarkovsky realized it didn’t matter that Bach was a popular choice that people would praise him for. It was just the right thing.

This is very hard to do, so most creatives stay on level 2 and learn that what is popular is a trap. This does lead to good ideas being needlessly killed. But likely more would die if they had let what is popular kill unpopular ideas.

This whole essay is mostly an ode to solitude and its importance for cultivating creativity, which is something I’ve been embracing lately to be sure, and also was enough to share this article on its own.

But what really made me want to share this article was this section on creative introspection.

I’ve mentioned how much of an impact the When We Were Young festival had on me last fall, and I think this section is a helpful illustration of why.

I vividly remember a bus ride back from a marching band parade in the summer of ninth grade. A group of girls were raving about this new album by a band called Yellowcard.

For some reason, I started making fun of them in my own head. I didn’t even listen to the music, save for occasionally coming across it on the radio and reflexively tuning out.

When we purchased our tickets for this festival, I started going back and listening to albums from these musicians. Musicians who, like Yellowcard, I derided and dismissed in my head for decades.

Musicians like Sum 41, Green Day, Simple Plan, Avril Lavigne, Something Corporate, Rise Against, Good Charlotte, and Thrice.

I purchased the tickets in October, and for the twelve months leading up to that festival, I almost exclusively listened to music by artists who were performing at the festival, mostly so I didn’t feel stupid when I heard them perform.

The more I listened, the more I realized I wasted two decades of my life dismissing an entire genre of music because I thought I was too good for it. Because I never even gave it a chance. Because I came to a conclusion about popularity in middle school and never revisited it.

What WWWY gave me was a chance to, in just one single day, repair two decades of mistakes and broken assumptions. It granted me an opportunity to redo my childhood, something we very rarely are afforded.

The experience showed me that while the popular thing can be wrong, it isn’t inherently wrong.

And as I keep looking for things that make me happy, that being joy to my life, that stop my heart from physically aching from anxiety, I’d be foolish to dismiss an idea because I solely evaluate it against what some cool girls liked in ninth grade.

Continue to the full article

Tags for this post: