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Cairokee and Other Artists

I finally get it. I'm late to the party once again, but I've finally arrived. There was an entire hemisphere of our emotional world that I was afraid of entering, and after intensive psychotherapy that helped me let go of my fear of emotions, I am catching a glimpse of it. I cannot explain it, but I finally understand why people enjoy unapologetically somber songs like those of Cairokee, Wust El Balad, and Aziz Maraka. I understand things I used to believe to be a waste of time or a sign of weakness. In the past, I avoided such music as I feared it would trigger the blackness of depression. But now that I understand that grief and depression are not the same, and that while depression is a frightening partner, it is healthy to sit with grief, and I welcome the latter like I welcome all other emotions.

Getting comfortable with my emotions and being confident enough to jeopardize them is a recent step I am proud of taking. Giving people a part of myself, and giving them the space to potentially love and hurt me (as hurt is inevitable, and it is what you do next that dictates whether it scars), and enjoying surfing these waves is something I never imagined I could experience—though many people do.

Depression is a dull, heavy blackness that invades your soul like weeds do an abandoned garden. It feels inescapable and requires extreme measures, diverse tools, and professional help to rid yourself of. It swallows you into it. It is confusing and painstakingly wearisome. Grief, on the other hand, is like a bleeding would: a natural process that flows and heals. It is relatively quick and heals naturally.

Through psychotherapy, I have grown to admire grief and revel when a calamity results in it rather than its toxic doppelganger: depression. Grief is like a sharp kitchen knife cutting through your hand as you cook a new recipe. You stop to wash it, tend to it briefly, and carry on, knowing that the wound would close off eventually. And if it hit a sensitive area like your finger creases, you limit its mobility for a while. But depression is like a fifty-pound winter coat you carry around all the time even while you sleep, making you drag your feet everywhere you go and feel increasingly suffocated. You end up moving through life in slow motion with an inability to enjoy it. You try to be grateful for the warmth the coat provides during the winter, and shower every hour during the summer to counter the heat, but all along you just wish you could take it off. And, finally, after seeking professional help and applying all the tools you've acquired, you discover how to unzip the damn coat. (I am partly sarcastic but mostly serious; psychotherapists and psychologists, I feel, use a magical toolbox to teach us basic like skills that were invisible to us because of our emotional turmoil, or that we have tried to learn time and again on our own but couldn't).

So, I am now more comfortable with my entire emotional spectrum, and I am in fact grateful for them all even as I experience them. I allow myself to experience them fully, and let them wash over me... Alhamdulila. Although we know all the cliches of "this too shall pass" and "learn to dance in the rain" to be true while depressed, we do not know how to internalize or apply them. But, when grieving, we do.

So here's to Cairokee and the somber artists who are helping me experience a wider variety of emotions~


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