Origins of ‘Folly’ 6 February 2017
I want to preface this with how strongly I believe in a separation between art and artist. Once it’s created, I think art should be open to interpretation, and I believe that not even the artist has the power to assign objective meaning to something they created once it exists in the world. With that said, 'Folly' is meant to personify the way in which we derive our self-worth from everything but one’s self. It’s an acknowledgment of the toxic nature by which we try to minimize anxiety; it’s a desperate attempt at finding some sort of solace in coming to terms with things that have long been ignored.
Personally, the lyrics and content for the record came from a struggle I had with confrontation and neglect. For as long as I could remember, I’ve had an incredibly hard time with the social aspect of my life, and constantly felt inadequate when subconsciously comparing myself to my peers. I internally punished myself for in ability to handle/feel comfortable in social situations, rather than recognizing this social anxiety as something outside of my ability to control. The older I got, the more I experienced depression as a side effect, though never recognized this as me “suffering from depression”. I always felt like I had too much to be grateful for, too much “good” in my life for me to be depressed. I never understood that depression was a type of mental illness that anyone could suffer from, and had the possibility of being treated. During my junior year in college, various events threw me into a low point. I was questioning what I wanted to do with my life, questioning my self-worth, and questioning the significance of my existence and my ability to find success or happiness in anything.
I finally decided to start to write about these thoughts instead of internalizing them. The more I explored them, the more I began to realize how poorly I had been handling this area of my life. Instead of dealing with anything, I fell into simply neglecting and internalizing. I began seeing a therapist, and started a very painful process of confronting things I had gotten so used to burying away. Conversations eventually fell on the topic of medication, which was something I was incredibly averse to. I don’t have a desire to use alcohol or drugs (which is a discussion far to lengthy to include in this post), so the notion of altering my mental state was something I did not want to do. Perhaps even more importantly, for someone who constantly feels inadequate and insufficient, the idea of needing to rely on some additional substance just to function as a human being was extremely frustrating to deal with. For the EP, I chose to represent this struggle with a dialogue between my conscious and subconscious self. If I was able to recognize these issues and understand I needed to make a change, why did I continue to behave destructively my whole life rather than address these issues an attempt to address them? Why was I simply unable to overcome my mental obstacles on my own, why did I need help, and why wasn’t I enough in my own right?
The record starts with “Preoccupied”, a cry of desperation that hits a boiling point as it crescendos directly into “Ditched”. These two songs demand attention be brought to something long neglected. “Brain”, “Overdue”, and “Backseat” are meant to describe the frustration induced by being able to clearly see and acknowledge a problem, but being helpless at making any concrete change in without help. The record ends with its title track the same as it begins, with a cry of desperation. Now however, after expending all energy at finding any sort of resolution failing, it’s now a plea for some sort of exit. To bring it back to my personal experiences, there was a point when I was at my lowest where I began experiencing what I guess would be best described as thoughts of death. Thoughts of suicide, random unexplained/unnatural thoughts/visions of loved ones dying or being hurt would involuntarily, and sporadically occupy my brain at random times of the day. At no point was I a danger to myself, and I am glad to say I’ve never attempted suicide. “Folly” is an admittance of defeat, and a painful reflection on what has transpired and the places it took me. For me, the end of the record is symbol of the moment when I finally realized that I needed some form of help to make a positive change in my life. I couldn’t “just get over” this, and I wasn’t just naturally equipped with the ability to deal with my anxiety and depression by myself. I strongly feel that writing that song and exploring those thoughts as actual possible decisions led me to feeling more comfortable about giving medication a try, which turned out to be a very important decision in my life and my mental stability.
So there it is! I’ve had a lot of people tell me the record has helped them in one way or another, which is something I didn’t even think would/could happen since it felt so specific to my experiences. A lot of people listen to it as a breakup record, and if that’s the meaning you got from it that’s totally fine. Like I said, I think it should be totally open to interpretation. In a way, it’s a breakup with my neglect and submission to my anxiety, which I suppose is why I wrote it the way I did. If you read this ‘til the end, thank you so much for caring and I hope that this explanation was satisfying. Hope to see you in 2017.