This past year has been a time of huge changes for me, and huge emotional hurdles that I’ve had to overcome. I was still healing from my accident the year before, then I lost my Chicken, and then I fell into a deep depression. I’ve been climbing out of that, on a thin rope, overcoming these multiple assaults to my self-image, and my heart. In my newfound perch on a precarious ledge, halfway up the mountain, I see things more clearly, and I’m very much in touch with my heart.
I had bought the gold badge for SXSW, which enabled me to see the film and interactive portions of the fest, and when I heard that Epik High would be playing the fest, I upgraded my badge to platinum – I could not miss this opportunity to see them play, in one of my favorite cities, when I’d already be down there. Easiest decision I’ve ever made.
So why Epik High? I’d been a fan of Korean pop in the mid-nineties, bands such as As One, SES and Jo PD, Yoo Seung Joon and Lim Chang Jung in college. Israel, a friend of mine, gave me reams of KPop music to listen to. Kim Tae Woo’s Love Rain made my Favorite Songs list of 2011, because of its sheer optimism and energy. I speak maybe thirty words of Korean right now, but the genre appeals to me, and I have several friends with similar interests. One day I read an article on Kpop that mentioned BIGBANG, and G-Dragon…that led me to Taeyang, who led me to Moon Swings, which led me to greats like Verbal Jint, and eventually through the Great Recommendation Engine that is the Internet to Epik High – and Tablo.
Tablo, for those who know me and not Korean hip-hop, is a singer in the band Epik High, and I credit his solo album, Fever’s End, with helping me stay sane. During the past year, at times I couldn’t stand to listen to anything but that album, most especially “Home” ft. Lee Sora. I’ve written about that song before, but it came to me when I was at the concert how very much it mattered to me to see him perform live. His voice became my voice when I didn’t have one – at once disgusted with the world, wounded, angry, but without the ability to change it. Feeling pain, expressing it, giving voice to my thoughts. I didn’t understand the words to the songs for the longest time, but since I have felt better, I’ve been translating the lyrics online or watching YouTube fan videos of the songs with the translations embedded, and it’s scary how accurately the topic of his songs, especially Home, mirrored what I was going through.
I don’t want to say that his music “saved my life”, but it almost kind of did. It sounds hyperbolic but the condition I was in for a while, not wanting to stick around anymore, just wanting the hurt to stop, everything to stop, and finding comfort in his songs…it helped me pull myself back up. Even now I can taste the feelings I felt when I listen to that song, and it breaks my heart, just remembering, but I also commiserate with myself then (not so long ago) and will do whatever I need to do to keep from falling back down.
My depression wasn’t a constant sadness, and I had it better than many who also suffer; I was able to get out of bed, put my clothes on, and go to work, continue to do my part, but I was hobbled by the fact that there was nothing to look forward to, nothing felt good anymore, nothing meant anything. Even trying to give myself some kind of physical pleasure would cause me to cry in frustration and hopelessness. It was awful. I can still feel that numbing creeping around my heart sometimes, when I miss my little Chicken Noodle, or I think too long about the depths of isolated loneliness I felt. I felt like a piece of shit, a useless one at that, and I couldn’t make myself do even simple things like call the therapist to make an appointment, even though I knew I needed help.
I’m working past it now, but it was a very dark time in my life, and I hope Tablo knows how much I appreciate his work. I appreciate it so much I named my new badass lover cat Tablo, too. He’s a sassy, gorgeous black cat, just like in High Skool 😉
Thank you, @blobyblo.