the harder I swim the faster I sink

If you're like me, you have your old standby playlist of songs to listen to when you're feeling sad so that you can feel even sadder. For me, a lot of those songs come from my high school days when I was getting into all kinds of music and riding the hormone train.

I wouldn't be a music lover if I didn't find new music though, so I'm constantly adding stuff my playlists, just like everyone else.

This is a small tangent, but isn't it awesome that we all find music that resonates with us, makes us feel stuff and even helps us process our emotions? Where would we be if we didn't have that music to fall back on when times get tough?

Anyway, back to the point.

Last year, one of my favorite metalcore bands, The Devil Wears Prada, released a single called "Sour Breath". Turns out that this song is actually a cover of a song written by Julien Baker, who I had heard of but never listened to her music.

So I listened to the song, and it's very different from most of what TDWP has written so far. And it's so good. So good. And so sad. The lyrical content in this song is just amazing in a heartbreaking way. Once I learned it was a cover, I listened to the original, and that one is also incredible. I could go on and on, but I'll just let you listen to them both.


I think my favorite part about both of them is the buildup right at the end. The repeated lines "the harder I swim the faster I sink" just give both versions this kind of energy that sucks you in.

When I listen to these tracks, I think of the times in my life where I didn't feel like I was making any progress. It felt like no matter how hard I struggled, I wasn't getting anywhere. I felt stranded or stuck in one place, and the only thing I could do was learn to be patient and wait until I could move forward. It's at these times where it feels like the universe is conspiring against me, making sure that I can't make any headway.

That last sentence is really interesting to me. How often in our lives have we felt that everything is working against us? How often have we felt that we're backsliding into our old habits, our old ways, our old routines? This happens to me every year when I make resolutions for the new year. I'll do pretty okay for a few weeks, then next thing you know I'm back to the old me.

Does that mean that I'm a loser? Or does that just make me human?

Our society would have you believe that you're a loser because you can't stick with the goals you set for yourself. Scroll through Instagram, browse your Facebook feed, Google "successful people" and you'll immediately drown in a deluge of flawless people presenting their best selves to the camera. It's hard to remember that these people have struggles too; the guy with perfect abs and a nice haircut just lost a family member, or the lady with the stunning makeup and thousands of likes on her posts is up to her shaped eyebrows in student loan debt.

We're conditioned to focus on the differences between ourselves and others, and we're naturally amazing at comparing ourselves negatively to other people. So when we fail at a goal, or we backslide, or we're stuck in a phase of life, our first thoughts are all about how we're not good enough. No matter how hard we swim, we'll never get to where we're going. We'll sink to the bottom and join the no-names who led average lives.

I'm here to tell you that you are NOT a loser. You are good enough. You are important, even if you can't see the how or why of it. Some people live their whole lives not realizing the impact they've had on others. That doesn't mean they failed.

You tried something and you failed. So what? That doesn't mean you can't try it again. Just because you've failed once doesn't mean you're a failure. Failure is a method of learning. That's how we figure out how to ride a bicycle, or what not to do when lighting fireworks on the 4th of July, or things not to say when you're trying to be a smooth operator with the person you're interested in and you say something like "So, d'you like...bread?".

Failing at things is the first step to kind of not sucking at things, which then leads to being sort of okay at those things, then you move on to "Hey, I'm actually kind of good at this thing!" and "I'm good enough at this thing that I can be paid for it!".

If you don't try, you won't fail. But you won't succeed either.

Thanks for reading,

- Kit