How To Give People A Chance (or, In Defense-ish of Kanye West)
Here's the thing, I'm like *so* enlightened and all of that jazz.
I have exactly one weakness, though: I'm a terrible person.
I'm serious. When someone irritates me even slightly, they're dead to me forever.
Who am I kidding? Sometime I don't even wait for people to irritate me before I write their name in my little book and strike a line through it (extra points if you've seen the movie The Quiet Man).
The other day I was in line at Starbucks getting my non-fat extra-hot super white girl latte with no foam, and I hated someone just because of the way he walked. I caught my own sight of my reflection in the sneeze guard and couldn't believe that I could stare at someone with that kind of stinky side eye.
There's a 56% chance I'm horrible, and honestly, I'm not totally sure what to do about it, so I called one of my friends that seems to have a superpower with this. Every single person who has met her feels they are loved from the depths of their soul. People who cross her path are simply better for knowing her.
People who cross my path have to double check to make sure I didn't take their wallet.
I asked my friend how she does it. How does she love everyone? How does she see people for who they are deep down?
I stopped listening about a minute in to her explanation because she's a naturally good person or something I guess, and she wasn't asking enough questions about me. Whatever.
There are perfectly lovely people out there in the world that I refuse to get to know because they said one stupid thing months ago, or friends of friends that I won't give the time of day to because they simply take up valuable Me time in my friend's lives, or friends I actually like but don't want to share because....well...because....
You know when truth just hits you and you can't do anything but just look at it and decide whether to accept it and make yourself better, or deny it and stay miserable forever?
This is that moment:
I want to be *the* one person in everyone's life. Especially those that I've blessed with the sacred holy water that is my friendship.
Ain't nobody got time for that.
It's time to become a better me...at least in the arena of normal human interaction.
I've thought about this long and hard (#thatswhatshesaid) while I was deciding if I wanted an entire large DeFazio's chicken parm pizza by myself, or if I should go over to Sunhee's - the amazing Korean place a few blocks away - and have dinner with the two friends that for some reason put up with me. Sunhee's it was, and three glasses of wine in, I realized what I need to do is to really look for connection.
This realization came to me when I wasn't listening to anything my friends were saying.
I know that connection works. That's how I got out of all the anxiety crap. It's why I started writing. It's why I'm on the podcast (shout out to Not Another Anxiety Show....iTunes, baby, do it).
Connection, like chocolate and naps, fixes everything.
The trick is to find something new about the person you're with. Notice something about them on purpose. Are their lips fuller than you thought? Can you notice that weight they said they lost? Are their eyes a mosaic of browns? Are their eyebrows on point today? Do you love their goatee shape? Find something you can like. Before you know it, you're looking for that good thing in everyone.
I have decided to start the practice of finding the good in people by picking someone easy.
Someone that I have a deep personal connection with:
Hearing that name, I have exactly one reaction: "Well, he's a bit of an idiot, isn't he?"
<This might be a good time to mention that my internal monologue voice is a British gay man that sounds like Ian McKellen after he's had a few glasses of wine.>
What is it about Kanye that makes me want to drink gin out of the bottle until I can hear colors?
Take out the George Bush hating black people debacle, or the Taylor Swift speech hijacking, and that music video on the motorcycle, or that President Obama called him a "jackass", or even the whole Yeezus thing...I just can't stand a person who tells me how great they are. I also have never trusted someone who has never smiled once. Does he even have teeth?
Ok. Like a bandaid. I'm going to find the good in Yeezy.
I have an iTunes subscription, because apparently I'm made of money, so I power-downloaded anything with his name on it. Hip Hop and Rap aren't typically the first things I reach for in my old age, but I love creation in any form, so I gave it a go.
I find he is the kind of artist that you can't half-ass when you really want to hear him. (<----life lesson.) I turned up my little ear buds as loud as possible to really hear all of the sampling the way he wants it to be heard. I don't have much going for me in the musical talent department, but boy howdy, do I have a good ear (thank the Lord Baby Jesus) and I notice right away how he uses the placement of sound in your ears to give you a full experience. You're pulled left and right in waves of chanting and choirs and drill sergeants. It's kind of fascinating to know that he sat with headphones on too and decided exactly how he wanted me to hear this. There are layers and layers of this nonsense to keep you on your toes. Very Radiohead. Very Muse. Very Beatles. Very....well...Kanye.
Oh, and I'm blown away that "Through The Wire" was recorded with his jaw very literally wired shut. Impressive.
He seems to really feel like the voice is a valuable instrument in most of his stuff. It doesn't seem like a side note to sampling. He uses the voice as it's own vehicle to deliver the song. Like all of his sampling surrounds the voice, even in his more synthesized stuff. Cool. I dig it.
I even dig that he sings a lot...autotune or not, he's out there because it's what makes his music his. I find myself rewinding parts of songs and appreciating his use of distance in vocals. I know this sounds weird, but it reminds me of the original recording of Jesus Christ Superstar...just believe me when I say that it's a good thing.
Also believe that I have absolutely no clue at all as to what I'm rattling on about, and that I actually live for sounding just obscure enough to seem like I know what I'm saying. This tactic has worked for 33 years, don't ruin this for me.
So. Is this guy a genius that is trapped in his own mind? Is he so desperate to be heard that he can't help but be a little bit of a tool sometimes?
Ugh. I just rolled my eyes so hard that I gave myself a headache. Does this mean I have something in common with the the guy that pouts so much at not winning every award that Chris Rock said, "Kanye gets mad that he didn't win Miss America"?
Not the guy who said, "I am what Michael Jackson was to me."
Surely not the guy who fought with Jimmy Kimmel, the only TV host nicer than Ellen.
NOT the guy who wore a crown of thorns on the cover of Rolling Stone...and who said that if there's a new version of the Bible, he'd be in it.
Please. PLEASE. I do not have stuff in common with the guy who said, "My greatest pain in life is that I will never be able to see me perform."
Well, I don't know. I may have bit more off than I can chew with The Father Of Our Lord, North West, but maybe....just maybe...I have the ability to understand some of the things he is trying to show us when he's not up his own ass.
I want people to feel things too when I put myself out there creatively. And yes, my resting heart rate lands on considering myself the Second Coming when I write a funny line. My greatest pain in life is that I will never be able to read my writing for the first time.
I have also felt misunderstood, just like 100% of everyone that has ever been alive ever. Or at least anyone who went to Troy High. I don't know what it's like to get in a belligerent screaming match about my failed clothing line, but I do know what it's like to feel disappointed in yourself. So that's a start.
Other than that small revelation, this exercise has done very little for me, and I am still the worst. But you know what? I've seen that there are worse people out there. Brilliant, talented, amazingly terrible people are everywhere.
And that makes me feel way better.