Friday, November 15, 2013

Pride doth come before the fall

I have a confession to make. I think Indie music is really cool and I pride myself on knowing about bands before they hit the "mainstream." Then I sullenly shun them when they get "too mainstream" (except I don't really shun them, I just pretend to and then still listen to them, but with the caveat "They're really good even though they're so popular.")

I guess you could say I'm one of those people who liked The Shins before Garden State and feels superior to those who only know about The Shins because of Garden State.

(P.S. I only found out about them because of my way cooler and way more alternative friend, Maddie)

Now that I have a full time job, I don't have as much time to sit in my room with the lights off and my eyes closed and listen to an artist's entire album (a technique I learned from my dad who developed it during his lonely Friday nights in high school when all his friends were out smoking weed).

So now I have to resign myself to just being happy with catching glimpses of new artists on college radio stations or Pandora recommendations. "Still," I tell myself, "at least not everyone has heard of this band! I'm still unique!"

And then along comes Buzzfeed to slap my ego with the irony of ironies: Indie music is just as mass-produced as any other genre and just as easy to replicate following a few simple rules.

Now, one could argue that the folks over at Buzzfeed have the advantage of just being able to critique and not create. True enough, but this hit a nerve with me that got me thinking.

Music is meant to unify people by expressing universal themes in a way that can not be told in any other medium, so why would I want to be the "only one" who knows about a beautiful (or, let's be honest, catchy) song or band? Wouldn't it be better if everyone in the world were able to hear this?

In a perfect world, yes. But in this world, pride and despair take root in our hearts in many different ways.

The reason many people are so into "discovering new" whatever or liking said whatever "before it was cool" is because we all have a deep desire to be known for something irreplaceable. We want to be thought of as "that one person" who has something so unique to offer the world that no one else has.

Of course, each person does have something unique and irreplaceable to offer the world: their whole person. However, in an overly-manufactured world that values utility over beauty, that message can be lost and distorted.Too often we forget that we are irreplaceable persons, that just being is enough.

Whether it's pride in being able to quote complete works of 19th century Eastern European authors, having the hottest bod, or knowing where the best hole in the wall brunch place is, make sure you don't let yourself think that that's the "one thing" that makes you you.

The only place we can receive total validation is in knowing that we were created in the Image and Likeness of God and that we express a part of Him no one else can.

Or as Papa Benedict told us, "We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God." (Inaugural Mass, 4.25.05)

And you should also know that I still love a good hand-clap intro.

(You should further know that the best place to find a good band (in my opinion) is searching Sub Pop Records' artists.)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

This is a new post

If you're viewing this post, it's probably because Jenny @Mama Needs Coffee sent you here. She shamed me into writing a new post because it's been silent over here for quite a few (read: several) months.

Well, I am happy to say that I'm planning my wedding to the most wonderful man I've ever had the pleasure of dating and now being engaged to! So, that's taken up a bit of time, but also made me realize a few things.

1. The only thing that scares me more than being a wife is being a mom. And the only thing that terrifies me more than either one of those is staying single the rest of my life and slowly growing more and more selfish every single day.

Is this to say that single people, by their very nature, are selfish? No, but I am. The more time I spend with my nieces and nephews, my rockstar sisters and their amazing husbands, my parents, my future brother and sister-in-law, etc. the more I realize at least part of the reason God has called me and my fiance to this vocation: to love others more than I love myself and in doing so, love God more than myself and others.

2. Being engaged is the most difficult thing I've ever done.

I know that being married and being a parent will be infinitely more difficult in ways I can't even fathom right now, but I've never experienced this level of waiting and planning (I mostly hate making decisions) in my life. It's like waiting for Christmas, graduation, your birthday, a great concert and a vacation (things that are awesome) while also having to make small talk, watch grass grow and schedule doctors appointments all the time (things that are tedious).

Again, I'm certain I'll read this in a few years and laugh at how difficult I thought this was. However, I've begun to realize that this time is not so much  about waiting as it is preparation and purification.

3. The more you love, the less you fear.

Let me tell you something, I'm an anxiety addict. But when I met this incredibly kind and dashingly handsome man who wanted to hang out with me all the time (!!!), God slowly drew that fear out of my heart and basically left me with two options. "OK Hillary, you can keep worrying about every little detail and never put your faith in Me or you can let go and actually believe that I am trying to give you even more than you could have ever even dared to pray for."

Ingrid Michaelson comes to mind as I slowly learn to choose the latter everyday:


Happy, Jenny?