I have been assigned a slew of acronyms in my relatively short life. Despite my best efforts to not let them define me, they do often dictate my day to day. For a few months, this was beneficial for Nomadic Bloggers as I had an unsustainable drive to produce content motivated by an unrealistic belief that doing so would result in the overnight success of the blog. Accordingly, I should have seen the fallout coming, but then again I never do so why would this time be any different? As the high faded and I settled into the lows, everything about blogging, hip hop, and social media was shaded sinister.
In regards to the music blogging culture, I felt much like a giraffe trying to fit in at a petting zoo. Each has their place and I, as a giraffe, was very near normal among them. We were both animals one would find in a zoo of some sort but, at the same time, I was horribly out of place. People coming to a petting zoo would be taken aback by a giraffe. I had the concept right but took it to an extreme that displaced me from the acceptable. If the people ask for a goat, all the extra effort you put into bringing a giraffe won’t change the fact that they came to see a goat.
And then there was the hip hop industry outside of blogging. I got to see behind the curtains of what I once believed to be a contest of skill and found it is more or less a matter of money. As I saw with Bruce Bayne’s CiViliAN, you could have to the strongest debut of the summer and still be left unnoticed because you lack the connections or means to buy those connections. Or even worse, you can develop arbitrarily negative connections and be written off by people like Andrew Barber simply because he doesn’t like other members of your label.
For some reason hip hop, and art more generally, upholds this myth that talent will get recognized. I was drawn into believing this by my understanding of Chance The Rapper. I initially thought he got suspended, made a mixtape during his suspension, and blew up over night. Now, what with all the videos surfacing of him doing material off of 10 Day at open mics and what not, it is clear it was an arduous process. He would one day be a Grammy winner but even with such talent, no one paid him any mind, until they did. Now I don’t know what he did to finally get their attention but, in all other cases I’ve seen, it was an investment in marketing and PR. This is not to discount his music what so ever, but rather to show that the equating of talent to success is invalid.
The worst of it all is that I have artists coming to me with press releases talking about being the next up. Or others in my DMs asking me how they could get placements on “real” blogs. If I tell them the industry is one giant racket I become a dream crushing conspiracy theorist. If I don’t tell them I become part of the lie. Suffice to say, I was disenchanted with this whole blogging business.
The problem was, this blogging business had consumed my life. I was convinced it was meaningful because it was practice doing what I one day hoped to make a career out of. But now, that career seemed empty and corrupt. So, what I had spent to majority of my free time doing for the last few years suddenly lost all of its meaning. I stopped blogging. But I didn’t really have any other hobbies left to replace it. I ended up spending my time obsessing about the future and regretting the past. Soon I began plotting a way to escape this mental anguish. I started developing all these arguments as to why suicide should be acceptable. My favorite among them applied all the arguments for being pro-choice in regards to abortion to suicide.
Then, a few days ago, I was talking with one of my doctors about my escape plans. It was a topic we have discussed countless times over the years. This time, however, I told her I was suicidal and she said: “lol u won’t.” I’m paraphrasing, but she essentially meant that if I hadn’t done it by now, I should just accept that I never would and stop talking about it. It was a risky reply for sure but, in this instance, it made me realize she was right. I may idealize suicide but, for whatever reason, I’m here to stay. It was almost like a near-death experience and, as such, it led me to reevaluate my values. In efforts to hunker down into this existence, I’ve had a few realizations.
Life should not be evaluated as a whole. For a while, I was trying to build a life I would be proud to reflect on while on my death bed. I wanted to be a respected something or another in a legitimate field. If I could accomplish that, my life would be a success I enjoyed. Chasing after that ambiguous goal, however, took me out of today. You don’t have to enjoy life so much as you have to enjoy each day. I imagine you’d be hard pressed not to enjoy a life made of thousands of enjoyed days. Something along the lines of if you win every battle, you’ll probably end up winning the war.
The other thing I realized is that, if I was planning on being dead, anything I do instead is better than what I would have done. So, it’s time to take things less seriously. It really doesn’t matter if I get to all the submissions in the inbox. It doesn’t matter if the blog goes silent for a few days or, dare I say, weeks at a time. Sure, maybe I’ll never build a devoted readership, but again, it doesn’t really matter. After all, even if a giraffe is at a petting zoo every day, the people will never come there looking for it.
So, moving forward, I will blog on days where blogging sounds enjoyable. On the other days, I’m not sure what I’ll do, perhaps I’ll look into finding a proper zoo. Whatever it is, it will be more productive than what I had recently planned to do with the rest of my life.