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Thread: Art as a lifeboat and more heartfelt thoughts from Dan Reynolds.⛵️

  1. #1
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    ringosmomma's Avatar
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    Art as a lifeboat and more heartfelt thoughts from Dan Reynolds.⛵️

    A common comment on social media is, "I'm not crying, you're crying."
    I will be the first to admit that Dan's post made me cry. It's not the first time that I have commended him for sharing what is on his mind even if the truth is painful. It broke my heart to hear about his struggle with wanting to be accepted at school. I was bullied in school to the point that I sometimes feared for my life. I eventually dropped out of school and got a G.E.D. instead.

    I am always inspired by Dan's stories. I can't imagine what it would be like to think of things from his daughter's perspective now that she is old enough to ask deep questions. I wonder myself what is wrong with the world? Where is the love?
    Thank you to Dan Reynolds for sharing his doubts, his demons, his insecurities, his wisdom and his love for music. I am thankful everyday for music. Music is my happy place and I am constantly amazed by music's ability to unite people. The world need more of that. The world also needs more people with the kindness and compassion of Dan Reynolds.

    Dan posted this entire message on Twitter in a series of screenshots. On November 29, 2016, Dan wrote...

    "Art has been my lifeboat since I can remember. It began with piano lessons when I was 6. I found solace and comfort in the melodies of Mozart and Beethoven. It was as though I could feel their bleeding heart in the notes. I could hear their joy. I could hear their sadness. It made me feel a connection to them even across the decades of existence.

    Drum lessons came at 14. I wanted to feel the rhythm that was the backbone to the melodies. It was primal. It was heavy at times, or subtle and emotional. A cymbal could express rage or quiet resilience. A steady ongoing rhythm that stopped for nothing. Even when life was overwhelming and the road ahead dark, the rhythm continued on. I loved that.

    Around the same age I picked up the guitar by watching my brothers. Girls seemed to love the romance of it all. A guy with a guitar. It seemed to turn a base-level-static-caveman into a Romeo. I needed all the help I could get. I had an expander in my mouth with a key I had to turn nightly. Acne that was out of control. I was skinny to the point of lanky. Girls definitely didn't care for me. I decided that guitar was a necessary step for me to take to get a girl to overlook my looks. It wasn't an artistic decision for me at the time. I taught myself the basic chord structure by studying my brothers from afar as they tried to woo girls.

    Middle school was awful. Bullies were in full affect. And it was before bullying was uncool. Bullies thrived in the 90s. They were scary and ruled over the school. I remember being so afraid of "Robby" that I would walk the complete opposite route around the entire school to get to my next class just to avoid him. He truly scared me. I hated that he did. I dreamt of being tough and facing him, but I never could. I toted around my much too large tenor sax and was a prime target for bullies. Sax never led to anything but ridicule. Especially when your arms were half the size of the neck of the sax. Playing in the jazz band at the jr high basketball games never got you girls. I promise you that. Jazzy Nirvana covers never made the girls turn their heads.

    I hated every moment of jr high. But I also owe it everything. Through its darkness I found songwriting. I came home from school and taught myself "Cakewalk" on our home computer. I had to steal the microphone from my brother Mac when he wasn't home, but it was worth it. I learned some basic recording techniques. Nothing fancy. A little reverb here and there. Definitely didn't understand what an EQ was. Or compression. But I got by. It was enough to record my little songs. The first song I ever wrote was called "All By Himself". It was just as depressing as it sounds. But strangely it brought my absolute joy. I said the things that I needed to say. The things I had been repressing. The song was mainly acapella. A poor beat box. An awkward raspy hormonal voice trying to express itself wasn't pretty, but it was authentic and unique. It didn't matter if it was "good" or not. It mattered that it was real for me. It fulfilled the artist in me. It made me feel alive at a time that I desperately needed a friend. Music was my friend. It was reliable. It never bullied me. It never judged me. It always let me speak. It listened. And then it mirrored me. But it showed the pain as beauty. As Melody. As rhythm. It was magic. Truly the only magic I had ever witnessed.

    Through the years music brought me confidence. But the guitar never really got me the girl I chased throughout high school. I wrote her song after song, but it never was quite good enough for her to overlook my lack of athletic ability and good looks. I was still awkward, but I owned it. It still wasn't the best years of my life, but I enjoyed it. And I owe it all to music.

    Then came a Mormon mission. I was raised in the faith of my family. I had struggled with faith since I was young. Believing in something I couldn't see was hard for me. But my family were good people. They were filled with love. My brothers and sister were my best friends. My mom and dad were incredible parents. Always there. Always concerned. Always working tirelessly to provide for 9 children. Which is absolute insanity. But they did it with grace and ease.

    When I was 19 I felt like I wanted to go on a mission. It seemed like a thrill. I had saved up 10k from working as a janitor at a law firm throughout the years. It would pay for my two year journey. I got "called" to serve in Omaha, NE. I was very disappointed when I got the letter in the mail. My brothers had all gone to cool places: the Philippines, England, Japan, NY. I wanted to learn a language and experience a new culture. But you didn't get to pick.

    You can call home twice a year. Mother's Day and Christmas. Otherwise you are without a phone. You are assigned to a pcertain city or town for 3-6 months and then moved to another. You have a "companion" that changes every few months as well. You don't get to pick them. Some I hated for awhile, but I grew to love them all with time. I couldn't help but love them. We endured days of rejection and ridicule. We were the nerdy white shirt black name tag duo. We were avoided at all costs by most people and hated by others. I spent the majority of the two years in two locations. One was western Nebraska. Small train towns. Lots of drug problems. Especially meth. We spent most days doing service work. Building homes. Mowing lawns. Helping a veterinarian. Waking people through a drug rehab process we were taught. Most people didn't want to hear about Mormonism. I was floored at the amount of love and humility I found in some of those homes. Many fed us and shared hours of stories and enlightening ideas with us. I think I spent more time listening to others ideas of faith and religion than I actually did preaching my own questioned faith. The second year of my mission was spent in the projects of North Omaha. The gangs had a hold on almost every household. Children almost had no choice but to join a gang. Most were raised in single parent homes and would tell me that if they didn't join a gang they would be beat up every day on the way to school. Money was no where to be found. Work was so far out of reach that most turned to the streets for money. It was extremely eye opening to see the vicious cycle of the ghetto. It seemed impossible to help get families out of the cycle. I would have probably joined a gang myself if I was raised there. If it meant avoiding being beaten up every single day. If it meant having a family of some sort. The gangs were actually kinder to us than the wealthier neighborhoods. They would escort us through risky neighborhoods and called us "Gods People". It was the wealthy kids in SUVs you had to really worry about. They were the ones throwing slurpees at us. Rocks. Verbal abuse. They were the real bullies. The projects consisted a humble good people that just were stuck in a cycle they couldn't escape.

    I loved my mission. I hated my mission. I have nightmares that I'm stuck back there again and have another year to go. It was my loneliest and darkest hours. It was also my lightest and most fulfilling years. It's hard to explain. I'm very conflicted about it.

    As I am with my faith. I respect all religions and peoples, as I now know that you could NEVER understand what it's like to be raised in someone else's shoes. I could have easily been born into an atheists family, or Muslim, Jewish, Catholic, agnostic etc. I would probably do and believe exactly as they do. Environment is everything. I believe that it's ridiculous to ever judge another's belief system or way of life because it could easily be YOU in those shoes, if you had just happened to have been born into their position. How silly to think otherwise.

    Though I associate more as just a spiritual person today, rather than religious, I still identify as Mormon. It is my culture. I don't agree with all of its teachings. I don't believe being gay is a sin. I believe marriage is for all. I don't even know if God exists some days to be honest. But I hope for something after this life. I identify with the service and love that Mormonism teaches. I identify with some stories of Jesus. Do I know Jesus is who Christians believe he is? No. I only hope he leads people to be full of love. Just as I hope Muhammad is truly a prophet. And the pope. Etc. I hope all religion leads us to be better people. Though I know it doesn't often. I know religion can also be the source of hurt and deceit. And I hate that part of it. I hate the part that makes someone feels less. Or judged. Or sinful. I don't believe in a God that judges or condemns. Sometimes I don't even believe in a God at all. But the times I do, it is some all loving force of some sort. Not a God that says being gay is a sin. Or a God that sands for War. Or violence. Or judgement on others. Or anything that takes away our free agency.

    Some days I have no faith. But then Arrow asks me what happened to her friend "Scott" who passed recently. And when my daughter asks me this, I can only respond with, he's in heaven. Even if I don't know that. I want her to feel peace. I don't know what the right thing to tell her is. But I hope she sees Scott again someday.

    Why am I writing this? Well. I guess today I just needed to express myself. I needed to share my story. It helps me feel less alone. It helps me feel alive.

    Bullies still exist. They tell me my art isn't art. They tell me my music is bad. That's ok. I know my art. I know my music. I know what it does for me. I know my story.

    Hurt still exists. It tells me I'm not good enough. That's ok. I know that I'm not. But that doesn't mean I won't be good enough tomorrow.

    Racism still exists. That's not ok. I hope we can rise above that. Color is meaningless.

    Religion is still a conflicted subject for me. That's ok. It breeds new songs. It continues to bring me new questions. I hope that I never "know" anything, for it is living in the dark that brings a continued curiosity for what lies beyond. What a boring world it would be if we knew everything.

    Sexism exists. It shouldn't. My wife and daughter are my greatest joy. I have two more daughters on the way. These women are more powerful than me in every way. Their hearts are deeper. Their love runs endlessly. They are my life. My everything. I am nothing without them. If anything, man is weak and is only made strong following in the steps a woman has already tread.

    Love is the answer. Cliche as it is. I only hope that I can continue to create art that fulfills me and brings the world a little closer.

    Peace and love to all of you."

  2. #2
    Senior Member Marion's Avatar
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    Right now discovered and read.

    Wow, what feelings.
    Deep inside Dan Reynolds.
    What a good and lovely soul.


    I can't put into words what I think about it.
    I have so much respect for this man...

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