(Note 3/29/19: My blog section no longer exists, as I’ve ventured into vlogging)
(Note: My mission with this blog is to carry out my dream of becoming an official mental health advocate, ready to prove that medication is not needed to become the person you want to be while persevering and fighting through whatever mental illness one may be struggling with. Especially when it comes down to anxiety and depression. This piece was written when I was twenty years old, before Pariah Muse was even in my thoughts as a permanent collective art piece. Do not interpret this piece as a downer, because out of it comes beauty. I was lost. Now I am found.)
Circa November, 2017…
Dear Miss Aiko…
Last night, I had the most beautiful revelation… the most gorgeous epiphany, because of YOU…
“…Organization, presentation, no motivation… born a seed in the soil of the grounds of limitation. Fertilizer throughout my veins ensures the maintenance of my ordination. I yearn to venture outside of the box… break away from the chains, say fuck it and tear apart the locks. Let the creationist within me flow from my head to my toes, who knows, what this beautiful mind can conjure?….”
Last night, Miss Aiko, I awoke from a bad trip. A trip that had nothing to do with the drugs. Because, you see, ever since my second semester of my senior year of high school, my world has been falling apart- due to a simple diagnosis. Acute anxiety and major depressive disorder turned my life upside down. Since seventeen years old, I have dealt with episodes of panic, depressive spells that have had the ability to last months upon months… three times now, I’ve deemed myself hopeless, foreseeing no possible salvation for my future. Three times now, I have attempted to take away the beautiful life I have been blessed to lead, and voluntarily at that.
Over the years, I’ve sabotaged relationship after relationship, tarnished my own reputation and mental, physical, and spiritual health… I have let the allure of my inner equilibrium slip away little by little, leaving me soulless. Empty. Unkindly bitter, an utterly empty shell of a person I have walked this earth for the last few years. I’d planned on carrying on as so, seeing no possible solution, rhyme, or reason to life as a whole.
Three years later, would you believe that Trip: The Album is what pulled me out of it? Miss Aiko, would you believe me if I told you that your album, your movie…saved me? Would you believe me, if I told you that by the time the last notes of Trip rang out through my headphones last night, the most blessed wail escaped my newly opened lips, while my profoundly pristine eyes burned along with the hot tears that held all the pain of my past? All of my unhealthy yearning for love, balance, and strength from others dissipated as my revelation took hold of me- the healing process begins with me letting go of all that has hurt me… the healing process begins with the forgiveness I never let myself give to those who have hurt me.
Miss Aiko, would you believe me if I told you that at the meager age of twenty, I have suffered more loss, heartbreak, health scares due to my aforementioned ailments, and overall misfortune than your average full grown woman? Over the past few months, I have let myself fall deeper and deeper into a black pit of despair and hopelessness, all because of two main things: the lack of a father whose love I yearned for so deeply, only to find out that he was never destined to play a role in my life from the beginning, and the loss of whom I thought would be the absolute love of my life. The man who’d anchored me for years, only to let the chain break when the going got tough. Only to let me sail away into unknown, choppy, dirty waters.
Add to it the pains of the depression and my never-ending anxieties, plus a multitude of family issues deeply rooted within me to a worrisome point, and a hell of a lot of self-neglect and self-harm, with no sense of self-love or worth… and we’ve got a shit show.
“The world’s a fucking mess, it’s gone to shit, and I am every bit a part of it… I may have started it…”
My ailments, my deeply rooted issues and years of battling my own emotions and demons are not what I am here to talk about. This is simply a prelude; some introductory insight to who I am, for this is a story of triumph. You so bravely laid so much on the table for your listeners through Trip: The Album that the least I can do is throw you some acuity as to who I am as a person. Now that there’s clarity, let me take you back…
I can’t remember my first time hearing Sativa. None of us had heard your new album yet. I think it was a suggested track on my Spotify account. I remember simply seeing it as a sexy track to listen to with my- then almost- boyfriend. Previously, I had listened to the track on my own and jammed, or suggested it in the car and on long rides and had everyone fall in love with it. By the second ride, everyone knew the words. Sativa had become my center, my safe zone, my theme song.
Sativa became the song I played when I was angry, desolate, melancholy… happy, contented, or radiant…. It had the ability to pull me in and consume me; to consume all of my grief and guilt. To instead, fill me with the ultimate guile and…love? I know now that it was, and still is, love.
For so long, I tried to ignore the fact that the song, indeed, came from an entire 22-track album. I didn’t know you or your story. When you released your first album or two, I was so young… and you were so deep and real. Too real, for my age. All I could recall of your music was “The Worst”, which I sang religiously from the time I was fifteen… I thought I knew pain then, and sang your song with such conviction, as if the pain was my own. I had no idea…
I am always afraid that when some of my favorite artists release new albums, if I wander off from the mainstream, most-played tracks, I’ll find something that I won’t like. That I’ll find something that turns me off. I’d never acknowledged the other tracks… until I needed background music for when my almost-boyfriend came over one night recently. I’d dimmed the lights, positioned myself on the couch with a book, and hit shuffle on your newest album.
Psilocybin came on first. And oh. My. F*#%.
This is beautiful, I thought. This is perfect.
And, just as the doorbell rang and I sat my book down to answer the door, Bad Trip began to play. I halted… and listened ‘til the end. Because forget the door at that point. Even if it was my almost-boyfriend who, for the record, is now my current boyfriend. Forget the door, and the book I was reading and any other album I have ever heard in my entire life because if Bad Trip didn’t resonate within my soul then what on earth would? Slowly… slowly, I made my way to open the door. He knew something was wrong, and truthfully, I wanted him to go away. Far, far away so that I could be alone, in my room, with your ethereal voice crooning to me every single pain, every heartbreak, and every bit of desolation and fear I felt.
We are not the same… but we are one.
We mused a lot that night. I sat in the car throughout my unsatiated need for numbness as I thought over and over again about the desolate lyrics to Bad Trip… as I pondered over what could possibly have brought you so much pain, Miss Aiko. I wanted to go home… I needed to go home to listen to the rest of that album.
Miss Aiko, you would never believe how many tears I could have shed, had I not found solace and revelation through your album.
Happy tears, for Penny the Writer who finds love after an untimely, tragic event. Sad tears for Penny who cannot find her brother in the man who is her love interest. And happy, again, for the Penny that is able to let go of the tragedy, the pain, and ascend! The dam broke when I realized how relatable your album really was when it came down to me and my life. As I’ve said, we are not the same. My struggles are not your struggles, and vice versa. Our views are different. Our worlds are different. But Miss Aiko, we are one. Even more so as I continued on to watch Trip: The Movie.
My name is Brooke, and I am twenty years old. I live in the Chicagoland area, and am currently a student of Art. As soon as I was able to pick up a pencil, my life as a writer began. Writing is my solace, my Heaven, when hell tries its hardest to break loose. Every emotion, every experience, every thought and feeling is best described through my writing, and I would not have it any other way. I had never experienced pure and true writer’s block until my diagnoses three years ago, and since, I have not been able to complete a single project of my own to save my own life.
But then the music ended, and I opened my eyes again.
Through the whole hour and a half album I self-reflected. I sobered up and let my mind run free for the first time in a long time. I listened and absorbed every lyric, beat, tone… and I felt whole again.
“I’m on my way if I can make it out of this hell… I know I can, and I know I will.”
Miss Aiko, you have become more than just a mentor in my eyes. You are my personal hero. Your words, your voice, is what I have been missing this entire time. This album is what I needed in order to Let Go, and Let God. And I do thank God that I’ve found this… that I’ve found you.
And so, Miss Aiko, do you see how you’ve saved me? How your beautiful, beautiful works of art spoke to me on a spiritual level? How, with an album and a movie and a story– a real, true, authentic story- you’ve inspired me to be MORE. I truly have so much to say- so, so much that cannot even been expressed through writing, believe it or not. If I tried, this ode to you would be hundreds of pages long…
But, Miss Aiko, for now, all I can say is this: You are my hero. Truly, truly an inspiration, and ever since listening through just once, I can’t seem to stop. This album is absolutely everything to me and you deserve every great acknowledgment in the world for your bravery when it came down to telling your story so diligently and honestly. Something that is rarely ever seen in anyone nowadays. I have so much love for you, and am in awe of your mission. It is impossible for me to ignore the effects this album has had on me, and the full feeling of true love, optimism, ambition, prosperity, and an overwhelming sense of wholeness has consumed me.
I’m not ready to give up. I fight for only a select few. You are now one of those people. Through my writing I will become MORE. I owe it to myself, to my loved ones, to God… and you helped me to come to that realization. Jhené Aiko…
YOU ARE MY HERO. I LOVE YOU. YOUR ALBUM IS MY ABSOLUTE DRIVING FORCE. THANK YOU.
Love, forever and always,
(P.S. This is the first piece of writing I have successfully completed and been thoroughly proud of in three years. You did this for me. I will be forever grateful. Thank you… so much.)