Have you ever heard an artist refer to their muse? What does the term muse mean? Well, it’s simply their inspiration. This can be any form of art including writing. However, there are several different types of muses. Often–especially with troubled artists–we turn the negativity in our lives into art. Sometimes this can be the brush strokes of a painter, that one lyric during a song, or a message portrayed through a slam poet. These topics can be dark. The worse the tragedy, the darker the content can be. I want to talk about how an artist uses their own work as a personal form of therapy. A warning that I’ll talk about something uncomfortable to some, but it’s a unique perspective into the way an artist thinks.
First, I’ll start with where this inspiration came from. The song is titled, “Therapy Session,” by the rapper NF. I’m not a big fan of the genre and know nothing about the artist, but a couple of his songs hit hard for me. I’ll link the song below, just know it is covering dark content, so viewer discretion is advised! Please only listen if you’re okay with this.
I added a link to his channel if you’d like to listen to more of his music. There is a hyperlink in the caption, so just click on his name.
“This is something that personally helps me as well. I’m not confused about who gave me the gift. God gave me the gift and he gave me the ability to do this. And he also gave me this as an outlet. And that’s what music is for me.” -NF
I left out the music video because there was content in there to match his song that could be disturbing to some people. I just want to think about the message NF is trying to deliver in this song. He talks about how, for him, rapping is his own personal therapy session. The thought of that intrigued me and I wanted to talk about it. He talks about people complaining that his music is too dark. Which, after listening to it, I understand. There are messages that artists try to convey and not every single person can handle hearing it. There is one thing that has been bugging me about this mindset. It is hard to listen to but, shouldn’t we listen to it? Our world is dominated by people who have severe mental problems. We’re so fast to turn our backs to it because it’s hard to see. I just can’t get over how big of an issue this is.
I was having a conversation with a friend the other night and it was about another form of art that gets disregarded because of the message. the book that is now the Netflix Original, “Thirteen Reasons Why”. It’s a very graphic book–or series–that talks about suicide. A girl who commits suicide and tells her reasons why she did it. Now I’ll start by saying I get it. That show screwed up my mental state during the first viewing of it. I don’t think it’s meant for everyone and there are blatant issues with the other seasons that don’t deliver as strong as a message. I want to focus mainly on the show’s first season or just the book in general. A story about a troubled girl who thought she had nothing else to turn to except suicide. The entire show you’re forced to watch as her fate inevitably comes true. As a viewer or reader, you know that’s what’s going to happen.
The show covers some heavy topics including suicide and rape which you see both of. These can be severe triggers if you’ve been through similar situations or simply hard to watch. A topic came up where we discussed how as a kid, I didn’t know any better. I had a very similar situation to Clay as he struggled with the fact that his friend killed herself.
I’m going to include one last clip. In this clip, Clay talks to his friend Tony as he finally gets to his tape which acts as a way to declare who was responsible for her death. This is a major spoiler to the entire series and the moment it was leading up to. There is heavy language and talks of suicide and rape in this season. If that bothers you, yet again, viewer discretion is advised.
I’m still going to talk about the scene, so there is still a spoiler warning in effect. As someone who has lost a best friend to suicide, I related to Clay. I remember feeling exactly the way he felt in this scene. The show has definitely not been perfect, but this scene, to me, is. I remember being angry like he was. I remember having a friend who wanted to help me. I remember blaming myself wholly for her death. In my head, I recalled that same question of, “What could I have done?”.
Does that question sound familiar to you? Have you ever asked yourself that? I did. I asked it a lot. My point is that I wish I knew what I was getting myself into by being so involved in my friend’s life. I’m not saying we shouldn’t help our friends, but I have no idea what mental health issues were. I didn’t realize that I was in an unhealthy relationship with this girl. I should have told someone in her family rather than taking it all on myself.
So what should we do to spread awareness? Well, using the theme of this blog post, as artists we should express ourselves through our creations. Tell the world how we feel through our art. It doesn’t just fuel our inspiration but helps express ourselves. At times, it may also be the therapy we need to get to the next day.
However, that’s not everything we can do. I think parents should start sitting their kids down and having talks with them. I never got a talk about depression or mental health. I don’t think we should turn our eyes away from it, but we should use it to show how bad it can be. Show our kids that this is real and they will most definitely experience it. I’m not saying to have a family night and go sit down and load up Thirteen Reasons Why on Netflix. I’m suggesting we sit them down, show them how horrific this world can be, but then reassure them that it’ll be okay. Express how important it is to get help when you need it or to get other people help even at the risk of destroying your friendship.
Leave the real therapy to the professionals and allow artists to express themselves however they need to. Even if you’re not comfortable doing the things I suggested, try your best to stop closing your eyes to what’s going on around you. It doesn’t have to be mental health, it can be anything. People are suffering. The sooner we open our eyes, the sooner that we can help them.
That’s all I got for today. Thank you so much for reading and I’ll see you next week! 🙂