listening to Snakehips – Fly High 002: SFTB Valentines Special
i’ve been meaning to write more lately, yet articulating my jumbled thoughts has been a thorny process. there are a myriad of events and topics that i want to write about, particularly personal ones. putting these thoughts into some tangible form, however, and further conveying them into a public space, are acts in which i am not entirely confident.
as i listen to this slow jams mix, i am reminded of one of my favorite pastimes in childhood. around bedtime, my mom would come into my room, tuck me in, and turn on the radio to 96.5 FM, assuring me that its “love songs after dark” program would lull me into serenity. i grew up listening to 90s r&b, falling for their soulful beats and smooth-crooning melodies, and even more, falling in love with the idea of romantic songs for lovers after dark. slow jams were mom-approved (a special endorsement from a tiger mom who typically would only let my sister and me listen to classical music and npr). slow jams were also nostalgic and hopelessly romantic.
these are qualities that i zealously guard in my own character. i am nostalgic and hopelessly romantic. i am a lover of slow jams. i started writing poems at age eight, maybe younger, and that marble composition book was my proudest achievement at the time and remains a prized possession. even at that age i was somewhat aware of the power of poetry, like music, to capture emotions in a way that simple conversations or long-form prose cannot. i suppose i grasped the importance then of the incredible intensity of emotions and the need to express them through abstract channels like poetry and music. i also guess i often feel things so intensely that i find the individual need to understand my own emotions.
one of the hardest emotions i have grappled with is love. the compassion i have for others can be overwhelming, and i have fought to temper that compassion from its full potential of possessive, unyielding infatuation. in the process, i have retreated significantly, but at a cost: it has become more difficult for me to openly and generously offer my love because it feels as if i am giving up a physical piece of myself that will be trampled on and hurt again.
a few recent events have made me question the way i have become reserved in my compassion and the rationale i have for protecting what i consider a sense of self. encountering individuals who bear their hearts openly and value the expressiveness of their affection has taught me to explore my jumbled thoughts about love. regardless of whether these thoughts are part of a mid-twenty-something’s crisis, i want to move forward in an action-oriented manner.
to love freely, to give and share pieces of myself without fearing the pain, to think creatively, to explore the depths of my passions and to discover new ones, to act courageously, to learn with and from others, to uphold values dear to me: these are acts i aspire to follow as a twenty-something still nostalgic for slow jams after dark.