The other day I was trying to understand the reason for the events of this year that have occurred in my life. As humans we constantly have the urgency to feel like we are in control and to know why certain things occur, which explains why I was so desperately trying to put into perspective all these unpleasant things that have been occuring to me and around me. I failed to define my present self or to find the reason why, so I turned to music to try put my thoughts and feelings into perspective. Finally, Solange’s album was the solid resonance of my life – specifically three songs which I will speak about in this blog post.
Track number two on the album. Weary. This song explicitly yet subliminally conveys the first part of myself. When I took to the internet to find out the vision and idea behind this song, I immediately felt like the lyrics were myself looking right back at me – https://genius.com/Solange-weary-lyrics.
The song starts off with Solange proclaiming that she is weary of the ways of the world. She has grown weary of the ways of the world and she is ready to take care of herself and ready to fight for her purpose. The lines that highlight this for us are the ones “I’m weary of the ways of the world…I’m gonna look for my body yeah, I’ll be back real soon.” These lines of the song speak about me wanting to find my self as an individual in society.
Solange also asks the listeners to question the state of the world – social hierarchy and inequality based on gender, race, or sexuality. ‘But you know that a King is only a man, with flesh and bones, he bleeds just like you do.’ This greatly suggests that he who created a social hierarchy has placed himself on a high pedestal yet he is human, just like you and I. Due to all these inequalities and social injustices, one might end up feeling like there is no place for them in the world, but there is. And we all belong here.
As mentioned before, listening to Weary at this specific time of my life, was a solid resonance of who I am right now. Given that I am an unemployed millennial, I am in a predicament where I am trying to find my place under the sun. The social hierarchy in South Africa, does not make a black woman’s journey any smooth, making it even harder to find my place in society as a black woman. But do I belong? Yes I do just as much as the white woman and white man.
“You’re feeling like you’re chasing the world, you’re leaving not a trace in the world, but you’re facing the world.” This part of the song describes my sense of resilience in trying to find employment, trying to become and basically chasing the world and its riches so that I leave a trace when I am no longer here on earth. This part depicts a series events where I am chasing my dreams, my aspirations and simultaneously fighting against the odds of the world. Which is not a very pleasant predicament.
Solange’s subliminal messages of Weary expound the part of me that – this year – has been trying so hard to make a place for herself in the world. It put into perspective my feelings of self doubt and uncertainty due to questions of whether I belong here, if this is where I am meant to be in this moment. It explained the uncomfortable feeling and weariness that comes with growing, adulting, and becoming.
Cranes In The Sky. Number four on the album. If there has been a song that I have played numerous times on repeat, it has to be Cranes In The Sky. The meaning of this song is not as hidden as the others. It is quite apparent, just like my feelings and actions of this year. Solange describes her attempt at avoiding painful feelings. In an interview, https://www.interviewmagazine.com/music/solange, when asked about this song, Solange says she was in a season where she had to look at herself outside of being a mother and wife as she had just been divorced to her son’s father.
This song speaks about the part of me which is failing to see herself outside of being unemployed with nothing to her name. We all see the world through the lens of how one identifies and has been identified at that time, so at the moment I am identifying as an unemployed 22-year-old looking at the world through the lens of unemployment. One almost feels socially excluded. This song told me to feel every feeling I am feeling, to internalize every thought and emotion but to also, most importantly, work through it. It reminded me of something Chimamanda Adichie said in her Dear Ifeawele read, she suggests that to be a feminist one must be a full person – to not define oneself solely by motherhood/being a wife and in my case, being unemployed.
In the same interview, Solange says that “… every woman in her 20’s has been there, where it feels like no matter what you are doing to fight through the thing that is holding you back, nothing can fill that void.” As if it could not get any better the song then helped me clarify my emotions of void. Nothing can fill the void of being unemployed. Nothing can fill the void of feeling heavy. And that is okay, but the trick is to get through it and to not build a home in those feelings.
The first verse is the epitome of trying to fill the void, trying to avoid painful feelings: I tried to drink it away, I tried to put one in the air, I tried to dance it away, I tried to change it with my hair. We indulge in unhealthy habituals just to get away from constant feelings of self doubt and to escape the ever so present painful reality. This song reminded me of everything I had ever done to fill the void – there were vivid memories of it as I resonated with the lyrics.
But then there is also a part of me that is not so blue and gloomy about this year. Borderline (An Ode To Self Care). Number fourteen on the album. This song speaks about my resilience to preserve myself and to not lose myself to the mess and the ugly that has been staring at me in the face. In this song Solange took us to a time when she explored the tricky balance of engagement with the world’s struggles and the need for self-preservation.
I am one to want privacy and to protect parts of me in a world where everything is made public, in a world where some humans actually live on and in tiny devices. We are living in a time where people can very well express themselves through emojis and memes but struggle to do so in spoken words. We live in a time where our minds are so muddled that they feel like a complicated space to navigate and visions of ourselves are almost pixelated images. Self care and self preservation is the only way to survive all of this.
Although I am living in it, I am not a part of that time, thanks to self care and self preservation. It is so important to preserve the sentimental parts of yourself so that you do not run dry.
So this week I give thanks to Solange’s subliminal messages which expounded my present life. A Seat At The Table really makes me feel like I have a seat in the world despite the social hierarchy and despite the feelings of heaviness that come with not being the person you envisioned yourself to be. It made me feel like yes I belong, we all belong among the stars despite all odds being against us as individuals.