Healed – Sunlit Youth by Local Natives


Local Native’s Hummingbird came at a personal crossroads in my life. I was getting ready to leave everything. (By that I mean study in other places for a year, I will always know I am lucky and privileged for that experience). I was tired of the places I had always known, the people that never reciprocated in the friendship I gave. I was tired of being looked at like a misfit. If you have a history of being different, no one will ever look at you differently if you start to change. 

Hummingbird got me through some tough shit. People have done some really shitty things to me, but I never wanted to think of myself as the “victim.” I do enough basic victimization just by berating society for inventing Cheez-Its that keeps me from being a size 2. 

But when I finally did leave, I also left Hummingbird. I left my wallowing. I found Gorilla Manor and that perfectly described my changes in my identity and also the hope I was feeling while starting a new path. I was able to get away from the crap that had hurt me.

My journey was a whirlwind that lasted for three years. I cycled through so many apartments, friend groups, classes and different types of transportation cards. I wasn’t really keeping up with my own life.

When I moved to the New York area over a year ago, I thought it wasn’t going to last. I was expecting the cycle to generate once more after four months. 

But New York was different than the rest. This is what all my work had been for. This is the place I strived to be.

I never wanted the cycle to happen so I had to learn to view things a little differently. In a way, I didn’t consciously think about it, but I had to learn to grow up. At least, a little bit more.

Thank God I decided to stay. (Says the agnostic, but you get my drift).

My mind hasn’t always been in tact these past few years. I gave in to temptation a few times and I still give into anxiety a lot. But it’s getting better because I feel strong, even when my bad thoughts tell me that I’m not.

And oh my god, I actually have a life, an existence, an identity again. I don’t feel like some recyclable friend anymore. I feel like I belong.

I have met people who are so deeply important to me I never thought I would even make an impact like that on another human. I also am so incredibly in love and I never, ever thought I would be so committed to someone.

I don’t feel lost anymore, and I am so happy for that. 

I have pride in describing my efforts, my achievements, my mistakes of the past year here in this area. I feel like I took charge of my life by coming here.

And by a fortuitous turn of events, my parents are here now! I can see them whenever I want! And my dog!! It’s been years since I have felt this element of normalcy.

I feel all of these feelings as I listen to the glistening, gliding tracks of Coins, Psycho Lovers, Sea Of Years. 

Hummingbird was full of such incredible sorrow, and Gorilla Manor was all about trying to make ends work in different elements of life. 

Sunlit Youth makes me think of healing through striving for the challenge of doing what you want. Sunlit Youth makes me think of having an argument with a loved one not because of something serious but of something that’s going to further develop the relationship.

Things aren’t always going to be easy, and maybe the most difficult hardships have yet to come. But I look up at the buildings and I feel in my gut I’ll get through it.

In this album, Local Natives sound like they’ve healed.

I have too.

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Stars Will Fade, But You Don’t Have To

Spoilers ahead. Hopefully a cosmic television force will prompt you to watch this perfect show.

~

I watched BoJack Horseman from nearly the beginning of its initial release. It was by accident, actually, despite the fact that I followed the show’s social media marketing for the premiere.

It was an accident because in that moment, I needed something to focus on. It was the worst hangover I had ever experienced – you know – the one where you actually do think that you’re going to die. My head had been spinning for about three hours and there was nothing left my body could give to the toilet. I just wanted 20 minutes of peace, I didn’t think that was too much to ask.

I didn’t really care for the first half of the season. I wasn’t until the episode about BoJack’s bender, “Downer Ending,” when I started to actually pay attention.

It hit a chord, hearing him ask Diane “I need you to tell me that I’m a good person” over and over again and getting only silence in response. It was the first time in the show that I felt a connection, a humanity about the story. The obsessive desperation of needing validation was something I knew all too well. And still do despite everything that I have in my life.

It also felt pretty poignant that I was watching an episode about excessive substance use after a night of heavy drinking. I didn’t foray into those particular bars for a long time after that morning.

BoJack, however, did his job and distracted me with a fantastic first season. I was hooked.

The show went further into this mindset of desperate gratification with the second season. Escape from L.A. is burned into my memory – the phrase “I think you’re the tar pit” etched especially. No matter where or what, whatever monster you have on your back, it’s going to follow you unless you appropriately address it.

A lot of people who have those monsters – no matter if they’re big or small – will take a long time to actually figure out how to deal with them, if they want to deal with them at all. It’s easy to get comfortable with a crutch. You think you have a scapegoat. “Oh, that just was me when I was really anxious, I don’t normally cry at bus stops in front of fifty people.”

How long can you keep that as a scapegoat when those moments of toxic release happen more frequently or more intensely? How many times are you going to get carried out of a bar crying? How many times do you have to wake up the next morning and mumble sorry to your friends and family? If you notice, they normally don’t care when you apologize. They just size up for the next time that you fall.

But there’s something that’s bothering you – maybe it’s in your mind or how you feel. And it doesn’t correlate to what you’re doing (it could, but sometimes it doesn’t). It doesn’t matter if you’re wealthy or successful or loved. It’s this… thing that’s always keeping you uneasy. Many people try to demolish that ambiguous negativity completely, be it alcohol, drugs, or other addicting things in life. Normally you’re burning the forest when you do that.

BoJack season 3 is that concept. It’s the ballad of BoJack’s depression and impulsive self-destruction. It’s the most destructive he’s ever been in the series. The pinnacle of this is the month-long bender that kills Sarah Lynn, the only person he confesses he knows how to love. Even before the bender, his friends are beginning to let their apathetic facade fade. Instead of saying “that’s just BoJack,” Diane and Todd tell BoJack that he’s the one that’s being bad. He’s the one that ruins things. And if he doesn’t own up to it, something serious will happen. Unfortunately, it does.

Obviously, I’m not BoJack, but this is the point of the show that, like the “Downer Ending” episode, I feel queasy about knowing how the situation feels. My friends and family in my life will stop me from crying or me repeating bad things about myself out of frustration. At what point, they say, will I finally be convinced that things are okay? That I’m a good person?

And after all of this in this season, after all of that, the finale ends with hope. He could’ve kept his hands off the wheel but he doesn’t. He stops. He looks at the healthy, running horses and sees what he’d love to really be.

I recently had a conversation that a lot of elements of society keep us from being our true selves. A lot of elements of ourselves do that too.

I think that it’s not just a matter of not being true to ourselves. I also think it’s a matter of not being healthy for ourselves. A little bit of vice is okay, but it becomes all too easy to swing on the scale of excessiveness when something feels off.

We need to be healthy to our minds. Not everything in life lasts forever – as Nina Simone sings in the finale’s closing song – but you can still rise up and sing. You can still do what you are meant to do, what you are meant to feel, if you push yourself to find a way.