I’ve taken immediately to this song because of its melody and sweetness, but I think more importantly, because of how it made me almost instantly look inwards. What are the things we do in rage? I love the ease of this song while simultaneously allowing us to contemplate. The bongos introduce a sultry edit to this Marvin Gaye track, which leaves me wanting and craving more until the other instruments make their important appearances.
As someone who praises and appreciates zen and calm, I think there is something incredibly important to be said about the appearance and inhabitance of anger in one’s life. Calmness is something to be grateful for. Some people go through their daily motions in constant anger, and I understand that. It’s a way of living certainly, for some. These are the people we encounter everyday, who make us shake our heads and wonder at their sulky unhappiness, ever present in every aspect of their demeanor. Although, I find during the times of calm in my life, a certain amount of thought and self-awareness must be devoted to understanding the ways we act when angry. My anger tends to come out in different ways around family, than with friends. I’m sure it is the same for many of you. This is said to be reasonable, because we have higher expectations for the ones we cherish, who happened to surround us for the larger, more formative years of our lives. That isn’t to say that the years we spend alone or in the presence of independence are not formative years — not at all. I’m saying, we can attribute many of our independent qualities to those who saw us during our worst, our best, our most awkward, etc. It is a combination of these people’s support, and our own will, that creates a final product.
Having been on winter break for the last couple of weeks from school, I’ve had a lot of time to think about these things. About why I get particularly angry around family, what the source of my rage is. Indeed, I am still a ways from fully grasping and understanding why it is that this happens, though I have made some headway. With higher expectations for people, come larger disappointments. Generally, we like to assume that we are the sort who don’t “expect”, attributing higher expectations to larger disappointments…this is all very clear. But those who have seen us at our worst, best, awkward, desperate, etc. tend to have a certain amount of patience as time passes. We live in the comfort of knowing that they will accept our rage and anger, because they must. Living like this, I think, is healthy. We need people like that in our lives, because we censor ourselves otherwise. And rage, anger, sadness even, all embody the opposite spectrum of the emotional scale. While we crave devout happiness, we must also live and fully immerse ourselves in anger when needed. I think the same can be said for all of life’s emotions that we experience, something I’ve certainly talked about before. Why do you think people who suppress grief tend to experience radical health problems after a certain amount of time? Acceptance is key.
To ground things, I have this song. This is just what I think about when a song talks about anger, particularly, when Marvin Gaye talks about anger. We tend to hear a lot of songs that are all about happiness, emotional ecstasy, love…but rarely do we hear a musician croon and casually discuss a subject we all like to deny. So much effort is maintained in assuming the calmest lifestyle, having others perceive us in this way that we know isn’t true.
I’m currently reading Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace, and there’s a bit that takes place in a sort of rehabilitation house. One of the staff members who used to be a drug-user, now sober, says something about cliches, particularly those offered to users suffering from intense withdrawal. His words aptly relate to my aforementioned points.
“…The thing is that the cliched directives are a lot more deep and hard to actually do. To try and live by instead of just say.”
Truer words have not been spoken, as I unearth upon you guys these words of cliche: acceptance and allowance. Unto oneself and others. Allow the emotions to flood you, cry if you have to. Enjoy this track all the while, perhaps you were in need of some self-reflection.