Psst! Do you like music?

So it’s been a while since I’ve posted–first I got sidetracked when I was told my thesis was due earlier than anticipated (by a month! but don’t worry, I finished it–and passed my defense), and then I had to catch up on homework, and then I’ve been attending a YOGA for Youth teacher training and it’s been busy (forty hours? two weekends? check!).

Excuses, excuses, of course, but it’s my way of saying if I could have been here, sharing ideas and experiences with all of you, I would have been. =)

I’m still in a frenzied state, of course, attempting to stay on top of everything as graduation and Teach for America barrel toward me, but I want to take a quick moment to share something with you–call it my three-day-early throwback Thursday.

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Mood Music

“I am, by calling, a dealer in words,” said Rudyard Kipling, “and words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” But I am, by vocation, also a mathematician, and there’s a strange yet beautiful intersection of words and math known as music.

I am not, however, skilled in music in any other manner than its consumption. I cannot carry a tune in a tote bag or keep the beat with any sense of rhythm (but I can rhyme, and alliterate, and parse the sounds of vocabulary into something musical, if still not music).

And yet, in all my years of listening–which is, perhaps, all my years in general–I’ve discovered that even at times when I cannot hear myself, I can find myself in music.

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Elastic Heart: Societal Struggles

I recently saw a news story float across my Facebook feed about Sia’s new music video for Elastic Heart. The article mentioned many fans have criticized the video for its implication of pedophilia, yet Sia replied she had intended “to create some emotional content, not to upset anybody.” The response was succinct, but kind and validating, and her additional comments left me intrigued.

So I watched the video, and here’s what I think.

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Dialectic

It’s the patch of fabric scratching a patch of skin that’s agonizing and incestuous but you can’t get enough.

It’s biting the side of your mouth with your back teeth, the sting of flesh splitting, the intrigue of electricity pulsing in your skin, the sweet discharge of ferrous blood onto your tongue.

It’s the first few breaths after orgasm, lungs empty, yearning, muscles locked in place and paralyzed, every inhalation aromatic and awe-some: you’re smelling oxygen for the very first time.

I’ve been in a mood lately, fostering new views, melding old ones: Creation is destruction, there is attraction in repulsion, beauty exists in the most ugly and painful things.

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Happy

Today I’m happy. And for as much as it fills me up and pours in puddles upon the ground wherever I step, I’m somewhat surprised by how unbridled and brimming I am. It’s like the sun rose inside me and now shines its brilliant rays through my pores–endless light everywhere I look.

Yesterday was a long day. I slept late, missed my tutoring session (even after running across campus in the April heat to try to make up for it), and when I got home, my bedroom light had died. Thankfully I’ve got a bedside lamp I was able to use, but it wasn’t nearly bright enough to keep me conscious and focused.

So when I went to bed, I didn’t have much happiness to hold onto.

Then: this morning, my alarm set for 10:30, I woke up at 7:30. I expected to feel terrible if I got out of bed, and knowing I had time, I rolled over and tried to sleep some more. It worked only partially, and within an hour or two I was out of bed–but despite fewer than six hour of sleep, I felt vibrantly awake–vivaciously alive.

I spent some time doing a few yoga asanas (since I exercised last night with a run and some push-ups every so often down the line) and then I did some graphic design stuff for the mere fun of it and organized a list of things I’ve got to get done today. I’m right where I need to stand to finish up the semester, except I’m a fair bit behind on my research paper–which is on a topic I love, so why I’m procrastinating, I just can’t say.

But when I left my room this morning, I just felt overflowing. I played some music and sang my way to lunch, then sang my way to class. I haven’t stopped smiling. Not one moment. Well, I might have frowned a bit when I saw the 75 I got on my last math test, but with my professor’s adjusted grading scale, it’s still a B, so I’ve still got something to smile about, don’t I? I just need to study more and do better on the final, that’s all.

Back to my room, I studied another Duolingo lesson–I’m about two behind where I’d like to be before I leave, but I can catch up in the airport if I have to–and then I got to other work: I even took a five minute break to call on Representative Ellmers to sign on as a cosponsor for ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that will grant federal workplace protection to the LGBT community, and trust me, it felt great.

The smallest things, you know?

Only a few days ago I was writhing in stress–piles of homework, unmanageable amounts of reading and research, the terrifying excitement of meeting my boyfriend–but today, all that anxiety is gone. I got to speak with a trusted counselor on Thursday, I got to visit with friends yesterday, and all the while I’ve got to talk with him–the love just bubbling up between the syllables of every word we share. I’ve given up counting the days until I see him–now I’m counting the hours, the hours so slowly yet swiftly disappearing into minutes.

Today I’m happy. I’m overflowing with joy and jubilation. And I’m thankful–because I’m not the only one responsible: all the people who teach me, who guide me, who love me and care for me–they’re why I’m happy.

And it’s an amazing feeling.

Macklemore or Less

You’ve probably heard about the Grammy’s mass wedding to the tune of “Same Love” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, and if your Facebook feed is anything like mine, it hasn’t stopped exploding in controversy since Sunday. If your Facebook isn’t like mine, the arguments are twofold: First, a mass wedding turns marriage into a gimmick, and second, why is a straight, cisgender white male suddenly the face of the LGBT movement?

The performance was moving, I’ll admit, but I agree with the first point: No matter the context–whether the Grammy’s or a Tel Aviv Pride Parade–I think mass, publicized weddings trivialize the significance of an individual couple being bound to each other. But I’m a romantic, what else would I think? Either way, I don’t particular mind the mass wedding–it happened, it was celebrated, and for the people there, what an amazing experience–and can you think of all the stories they now have to share!

So the real conversation is about Macklemore. About an ally of the LGBT community who, by definition of being an ally, is actually not one of us. And that’s problematic.

Or is it?

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Welcome to the Cosmic Order

I have a friend who likes to tell me–whether sincerely or sarcastically I sometimes cannot tell–that I’m the kind of guy who, when life throws shit at me, just keeps on smiling. And I suppose it’s true. If you’re a longtime reader, you might recall past discussions on regret and pessimism that asserted I believe everything must work out in the end, and that the best way to survive is to keep smiling–even if it’s only a choice, not a direct response.

So I keep on smiling.

But sometimes it feels there’s no need–because everything’s in order anyways.

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August August

I was talking with my roommate the other about the number of days in the month, and he told me August has 31 days because Augustus had to have at least as many days in his month as Julius had in his, so he stole one from February, and now August has 31 days. Makes it a pretty noble–or shall we say, august–month, doesn’t it?

And now it’s over.

But that’s alright, because now we can savor the sweetness of its fruit once again.

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Talk About Them Blurred Lines

Can music exist outside its message?

Take Robin Thicke. He’s a handsome dude. Very pretty. Nice to look at. And though I’m saddened he can’t think of anything to rhyme with “hug me,” when his song hits the airwaves, my shoulders start rocking, my head starts bopping, and when that ubiquitous “Hey-hey-hey” comes up, it comes out of my mouth, too.

But I’m conflicted. I like the song, but I can’t stand for what it says.

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Of All the Drying Racks in the World

Our service project began on March 4–a Monday that should be the role model for all Mondays: We were excited, put in a great effort, and ended eager for the rest of the week. It became the cornerstone of our experience–the story’s climax, the man’s epiphany.

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