One Year of Self Care Through Mixtaping

So, Corey. What have you learned over the past year of mixtapes?

February 2018: One Year of Self Care Through Mixtaping

  • “Make Me A Mixtape” — The Promise Ring
  • “Mountain of a Heart” — Chamberlain
  • “Glory Box” — Portishead
  • “Crescent City” — Lucinda Williams
  • “Mr. Reilly” — Vic Chesnutt
  • “Bituminized” — Le SuperHomard
  • “Worlds to Run” — Busdriver (w/ Milo, Anderson .Paak)
  • “Who Is Your God” — Macromantics
  • “Slippery People” — The Staple Singers
  • “Hardly Getting Over It” — Hüsker Dü
  • “Since You’re Gone” — The Cars
  • “Rhymin’ & Rappin’” — Paulette Winley, Tanya Winley
  • “Foreign Contaminant” — Thomas Newman
  • “Purple Girl” — The Chills
  • “Planet Earth” — Duran Duran
  • “40” — U2

Not much. I’ve now foisted twelve Spotify playlists on my Facebook friends and Twitter followers, and I sometimes wonder why exactly I continue doing it, especially when they’re really just a blog-sponsored attempt at musical relevancy: an exercise in “old man proves he’s still cool,” purely for myself. Make me a mix tape, don’t leave out Hüsker Dü.

I guess that’s exactly why I still do it. Because this is for me.

Here’s some quick exposition.

I grew up eager to please. I was a good kid even when I tried to be in a hardcore garage band that swore a lot. And then I hit college. For the first time, I was alone in the middle of a place I didn’t like, and everyone was everywhere else. My friends, my family, my girlfriend. It was like a Get Up Kids song, except set on a deserted island.

With no one to answer to, I dropped all assumptions that I had to please anyone: I dove deep into myself and found a selfishness that would test my relationships. I convinced myself it was okay. That this is how it goes. This was being an adult. I was doing things for myself and making sure I was happy and thinking for myself.

But selfishness isn’t the same as self care. I wasn’t and have never been a selfish person. I do care about people — to a fault, I look past my own needs to help others. I didn’t know then, but I can see it when I look back: my early college selfishness was a byproduct of being disconnected, of falling into a kind of pre-stage depression. I was doing things for myself, but not in a way that provided strength.

I did have music, though.

I’d look back at those first two years of college as lost years if not for the music. Because while that was for me, I wanted it to be for everyone. I spun CDs at a radio station that wasn’t a radio station at all just so I could talk out loud about music. On weekends, when I worked at the bowling alley, I’d drop Seven Storey Mountain and The Promise Ring on unsuspecting Twilight Bowling attendees in a desperate attempt to find common ground.

Eventually, I found the internet. I reached out to others with similar tastes. I reconnected with friends and with people I barely knew in high school. I tried to reconcile my selfishness with my parents. And I did everything I could to be the person I thought I was supposed to be. I learned from those mistakes: I learned to write for people, I learned to respect the unique tastes we all try to work through. I still struggled with self care, but I sure tried.

And I still do. Kerrie reminds me all the time to take care of myself. These little mixtapes — they’re a little part of it, I guess.

The playlists — they’re for you. But they’re mostly for me. Just like this blog, just like the bikes and the obsession with mountains and occasional puroresu jokes. They’re a reminder every month to take a little time for myself, but to do so in a way that doesn’t feel selfish. In a way that passes some things along that I think you might like.

It’s overly dramatic to think that I’m doing this to make amends for those two dumb years in college, but welcome to my mind. Overly dramatic, struggling with self care, but trying really really hard. As a result, every once in a while there’s a little playlist that comes out of it, to bring me closer to you. And to myself.

This was lovingly handwritten on February 8th, 2019