Moving on

“Come Back to Earth” is a solid opening for “Swimming” a 13-track album by Mac Miller. While I thoroughly enjoy the album, none of the remaining 12 tracks compare to the rawness and vulnerability conveyed throughout this song. The song starts out strong and provides a refreshing contrast to songs found on prior albums “GO:OD AM” and the “Divine Feminine” which articulates the lust and lavishness of life. The speaker in this piece is the writer himself, however, I do believe that it’s subjective to how you interpret the piece and how/if you relate to it.

The melancholy tone of the song remains stagnant, and when analyzing and listening to the lyrics it served as an aid in understanding the meaning of the piece as a whole. I went back and forth with myself unable to come to a conclusion until finally, I settled upon the speaker not only conveying their want to find peace of mind, but also the struggle that came with it as it caused them to have to accept and move on from the past.

The song opens and closes with statements that I assume many can relate to:

My regrets look just like texts I shouldn’t send
And I got neighbors, they’re more like strangers
We could be friends
I just need a way out
Of my head
I’ll do anything for a way out
Of my head

The syntax of the lyrics while fairly simple conveys an idea that I feel is extremely relatable. That idea being that: Regrets are all consuming they take your choices and make you question the validity of what you’ve done and open the gates for self doubt to set it. Miller comparing regrets to unsent texts articulates how when you have/haven’t done something you know you should/shouldn’t have done (much like texts you want to send but are afraid to) the unknown and the what if’s consume you and leave you unsettled making it harder to move on from the past. Furthermore, Miller’s depiction of neighbors signifies how you can be surrounded by people and still feel alone and out of place. Both constantly causing turmoil as they can lead one to overthink and produce unwanted thoughts they can’t stop.

Miller goes on to speak about the feeling of temporary relief:

And I was drownin’, but now I’m swimmin’
Through stressful waters to relief

The two lines are what I woulds say are the most powerful words sung in this piece. I think they metaphorically represent calm before the storm, the temporary moments of feeling free; like you can finally move on before spiraling and giving into temptation/unwanted thoughts. I overall felt these lines resonated with me the most.

Prior to reiterating the first verse while the tone remains melancholy Miller continues to express his anxiety and internal struggles:

Grey skies are driftin’, not livin’ forever
They told me it only gets better

I think by personifying the sky Miller’s vulnerable state is being articulated as it shows a raw view of how he’s struggling to organize and understand his thoughts. All of which I feel ultimately ties back to wanting to accept the past and use it to move on and grow and the simultaneous struggle there is to find peace with the past.

Thoughts on “Myth of Sisyphus”

I interpreted “Myth of Sisyphus” as Camus stating that the human condition is ever-changing. To be unhappy in a situation like Sisyphus, Camus asserts that one must be conscious of an unfavorable condition and think of things in a negative light. Throughout “Myth of Sisyphus” Camus’ draws parallels to workmen noting how they spend every day doing the same tasks but their fate isn’t considered absurd in turn questioning the validity of Sisyphus’s punishment. Camus then goes on to explain how Sisyphus is in charge of his own destiny and despite being banished to continuously push a rock up a mountain where it will ultimately fall back down, he continues to push it back up. By pushing the rock up the mountain again and again Sisyphus is making his own fate in turn making the action purposeful as he continues to strive to do the impossible. In the end, Camus’ argument is that it’s not about the action it’s about the mindset one holds towards an action that makes it absurd or fulfilling. 

Where do I stand?

I mostly agree with the conclusion Camus’ makes about the human condition. While there are genuinely poor conditions and situations that, no matter how you look at them, are unfavorable there are a lot of situations where the mindset affects the outcome of things. In many aspects of life, you can either give up when something is too complicated or you can preserve and manipulate things so that they are more favorable or attainable to you. 

Uncomfortable Conversations

But in choosing the plural and the first-person plural you’re basically allowing that ‘we’ to work as ‘everyone’

A Conversation About Bread (177)

In “A Conversation About Bread” Nafissa Thompson-Spires brings perspective into conversations about race while simultaneously bringing awareness to biases in conversations. Through the quote it conveyed how wording has the power to convey biases and create false misconceptions. In everyday life your personal biases follow you around and affect how you interact with the world around you. Especially when talking about sensitive/serious topics it’s important to remove your biases and speak objectively. I personally believe that while it’s hard to speak objectively it’s important to make sure you separate and make distinctions between your biases and generalizations as it is extremely harmful to project biases as what is true rather than opinion or fact.

To what extent is domination enabled by both parties?

To understand this obscured question one must understand Jessica Benjamin’s theory on Mutal Respect & Domination. In Bonds of Love, Benjamin proposes a seemingly normal question: Why don’t we have gender equality when society wants it? Benjamin goes on to explain how gender stereotypes, binary norms, and expectations feed into this unnatural dynamic of Domination/Submission. Elaborating that when looking at identity most people look at negotiation and conflict which creates the unnatural power struggle. This idea leads to a controversial take on domination and submission. While it’s noted that this power dynamic is not only unnatural but unhealthy it’s also emphasized how in certain regards it is allowed. Benjamin notates how domination is a two-way street and in some capacity, the one being oppressed is allowing for the dynamic whether it be consciously or unconsciously. However, a possible solution is proposed and that solution is the concept of mutual recognition which essentially moves out of the binaries and deconstructs unnatural power dynamics through connection, understanding, and respect.

Where do I stand?

I feel that Benjamin has a very different and interesting perspective in regard to the power dynamics of society. While I agree to some extent that domination/submission bias is allowed by both parties, I also believe that there are instances where the dynamic is not allowed and happens forcefully. Of the aspects I agree with I have gained an understanding of how certain power dynamics are allowed like teacher/student and parent/child. The respect given to an extent is out of societal expectations, however, part of it is also genuine respect that is constantly changing through experiences. Benjamin’s ideas have led me to contemplate the idea of mutual respect and really work to get rid of those biases I carry whether it is something simple or complex.