THE FACTS OF LIFE was meant to an experimental album, exploring the full gamut of emotions one feels as a human being in a relationship with another. There were songs buoyant with joy and desire, and, of course, there were also songs that were full of anger or disappointment.
The title track of the album is one track that seethes with rage. Though it is also – ironically, or appropriately – a song of empowerment. Fundamentally, the song is about how one should stand up for one’s self, and not allow one’s self to be bullied or hurt.
Because no one should be bullied or hurt just because he or she is different.
As a child, I grew up being bullied and also being hurt (emotionally, at least) by those who ought to have most cared for me. Admittedly, this experience left deep scars.
But with help, I was able to get over it. I became strong. And I learnt that in the face of all kinds of bullying, my response should always be to remain courteous and never rude. Because courtesy in the face of adversity is a kind of ultimate strength.
Or is it?
Perhaps I became a little too strong. I built a wall of courtesy and perfection around myself, and decided never to be seen to be vulnerable; never to look like I needed help.
Instead, I would try to be useful, try to solve problems, try to please.
I’ve been told that I am a consummate problem-solver – that I excel at solving problems. And that is actually how I have excelled and done so well professionally. Through solving problems – mostly other people’s problems really. Mine are never taken into consideration.
Wait: I don’t have problems.
I suppose all this wanting to please stems from an entire lifetime trying to please some specific individuals whom, no matter what I do, were never impressed; really couldn’t be asked to be interested in the least.
I didn’t want to release this track on the 2019 version of the album, because I thought it was too dark, it got a little too personal for comfort.
[It’s also the most raw track on the album, not just in terms of emotions, but also in terms of the mixing and mastering. So I was least satisfied with it, to be honest.]
But I think that releasing it is a kind of catharsis. It’s a kind of acceptance that I’m not perfect – not in the least. Nobody is perfect. I too am vulnerable, and at times this year, and the year before, I have needed some help.
So even as I exhort my virtual listeners to stand up for themselves so others won’t be hurt, I am also admitting that, sometimes, I don’t have to put up such a brave front. Sometimes, I do really need help, just a tiny little bit. And I should be clear about this and reach out.
This week, in particular, I have needed some help; surprisingly, also, on the professional front. I’ve had to face down some realities I had already known and which I thought I was prepared for, but which have hit me harder than I thought.
I’ve been struggling this week to decide if it’s worth continuing to struggle – professionally, I mean. Maybe I’ll write about just what this is all about in the next post. Maybe not.
In the meantime… best with earphones.
I will never again post something on this blog quite so raw and vulnerable.
These are the facts of life. / No one’s gonna soften the blow. / Seal up those cracks inside / Before they start to show. / Some people won’t like who you are. / Most people won’t understand. / Takes so much more than just / Two fists to make a man.
CHORUS: This world was made for us all. / Don’t let them say that it’s not. / Don’t let them use the name of God / To strike you down.
These are the facts of life. / Stand up and take it in stride. / How will you change the world / If you turn around and hide? / Some people will hate who you are. / Most people will just look away. / Takes so much more than / Sticks and stones to ruin your day.
This world was made for us all. / Don’t let them take that away! / Don’t let them say that it’s ok / To do what they do, what they did to you!
These are the facts of life. / Stop crying, and let the world know. / Each time you choose defeat, / Another takes the blow.
© 2010 / 2019 Kennie Ting. All Rights Reserved.