Emotionality and Expression – “Thorn in my Pride” by the Black Crowes


It’s those first few notes. Those first few strums on the guitar. It starts so small, like everything.

But it grows into something so much more.

This song has been in my life for a long time, but I’ve just recently really gotten into it. Despite this, I’ve always associated this song with the release of positive expression.

This song has roots in my childhood.┬áIf we ever needed to clean the house, this was usually on a CD mix that my dad had made. He’d put it in and turn on the surround system.

The light from the day shone in and the house was filled with crooning. “Let you love light shine let it shine.” It made everything feel fresh and reinvigorated. It felt good to clean and see spaces organized once again.

As time went on, the song popped up periodically but I never sought it out. It became a pleasant surprise whenever it happened to play on XRT. Another memory is when I heard the song play on the radio as I stepped out of the shower one peaceful morning. The steam and the warmth complimented the vocals and guitar as the feeling and sounds swirled into the air, dissipating into the ether of music and atmosphere.

I started to seek out the song the semester before I left for my year of city hopping. I had a sudden urge to listen to it, like I had to get out the joy and the nervousness and the only way to do it was to dance to it and let the music fill my head.

Again, though, my listening was sporadic. I didn’t quite get what it meant to me, but I was working on it.

In that semester I was starting to come to terms with the idea of change – change that I was about to initiate not only in my life but how I viewed myself. I was in need of something different and, to be honest, I was scared. I was unsure at times. I doubted myself at times. I felt awkward to express myself because I knew that I had the ability to over-express myself. I didn’t know if I had the capacity to do the things that I had always dreamed about. Dreams are warm and comforting thoughts but only to a point. They’re only truly fulfilling if you attempt to realize them.

So little by little, I’d listen to the song more and more. The idea of self-exploration persisted once I started the journey and lived in New York and London.

When I lived in LA, however, the song clicked.

It was a huge challenge learning to drive in the biggest commuter city in the universe and balance work and school. I also wanted to get healthier after a hearty feeding session during my entire semester in London, but I was daunted by the work that I needed to put into it.

I just had to get into a rhythm.

Those feelings of being unsure of myself and of putting myself down were starting to abate because I realized that I was doing it. I was working hard and I was getting healthier. I also worked on getting over those feelings of unsureness. I started to work on to stop being so self-conscious if someone liked me or not and realized that all I could do was just try to be the best version of myself. In that year I met so many types of people and kinds of people that I never thought would pass my way. If I was true to myself, then I could express myself in the truest way possible.

I sought out the song nearly every day and listened it in the car on the way to Amoeba, walking around Ralph’s or running on the sidewalks in Toluca Lake. I wasn’t going to allow myself to stop expression. I was going to let it shine, let it shine.

This summer in Chicago, the song became part of the soundtrack that colored the backdrop of my experience. I’d walk through Daley Plaza or down to Millennium Park or back up from work near Reckless Records and the buildings would reflect the light all around me. I’d smile and listen to the song and think of the somersaults that you do in life to get to where you are and you know what? It’s worth it.

So now, back at school, the song reminds me of things that have been and things that are now. How one moment in time can grow and texturize the landscape of your life. The song is a boost and a way for me to get inspired. To think of hope created when I just let myself be. To feel free whenever I want to express myself because I have to let it shine. I don’t want to live any other way.