Yesterday was an amazing day. I was having a great time at school. We just finished Pride and Prejudice and discussed the ending of conflict resolution. I did a mellow lab in science, and in stats, well, it’s the best math class content-wise I’ve ever had. Walking into our journalism class, I was feeling good. We had birthdays to celebrate, and we were going to discuss the new Op-Ed from the Times. But, during web brainstorm, someone said this: “Mac Miller died.”
It has been since then that I’ve kind of been in a shock of sorts. I could not believe that music just lost one of its most seemingly sincere people. Mac Miller dealt with a lot in his past, but he fought. He fought to turn his life around. During the past month especially, with Swimming releasing, he looked like he was in a good space, in a zone where he was excited to help connect with the world. He looked like he was going to continue to become a person that helped bring people from all walks of life together with his music.
Yet, we can only see and hear what artists are creating. We can only understand what the put out. Looking and being a certain way are two different things. The disheartening and tragic part about Mac’s story is that we won’t ever get to know his state of mind. And it crushes me to know that the world never is going to see him grow even further into the man we were seeing him become. We won’t hear his next story, we won’t hear his next album, but more importantly, we won’t ever get to hear him, Malcom James McCormick, ever again.
This is a moment of true reflection for so many of us that listen to music. We are living in this age of information, this time where we just assume that everything an artist may put out, no matter how genuine and honest they may be, is their reality. We make assumptions that a projection is a true reflection of someone’s state of mind instead of a projection, a possible deflection from what may be truly going on in their heads.
I’m not going to act like I may have felt the magnitude of feeling that Mac may have felt, what may have caused him to relapse and overdose. But I do know what it is like to project a different version of myself, to always show and make the appearance as if I am okay, that everything is fine, when in actuality, I was dealing with far too much. I would mask how I was feeling, portraying on social media or in person that I was doing great when in reality I was feeling horrible. I would care too much about my own image instead of sharing with those I care about what was really going on in my mind. Had I dealt with those circumstances on my own, chosen to just hold in whatever I was feeling, who knows if I would be here today, writing this blog post.
Music, unlike any other genre, is the one place where we unfortunately see this happen too much. There is no place for artists to reach out to each other, to share their true circumstances with one another. Shawn Cee, a YouTuber who reviews music, put it best in his own video discussing that these are preventable tragedies. It’s a business that does not do anything to ensure that the mental health of these artists are truly protected. We can help support those we care about. We need to stop shying away from saying anything, no matter how it may make us feel. No matter how crazy or embarrassed you may feel, always just check in if you start to notice a change in behavior or change in mood. Just reach out and let them know that you’re there for your friends, family, even peers that you may not know that well. Why not just speak up? Why not just do what we can, and maybe, just maybe we can help someone.
Seeing a therapist helped change my life. I recognize that privilege in itself to talk to someone professional, but if you can or cannot afford it, reach out for help. Use the hotlines, and no matter how weird or awkward they may seem to be, there is always someone who will listen to you. It may not be someone close to you, but someone will listen. I don’t want people to feel the way I have in the past because I know how miserable it is. I hate it. But I want anyone to know that if you want to chat about anything at all, you can reach out to me and I can just listen. I don’t have to say anything at all, but I am here to hear you. I am here for you.
Rest in peace Malcolm. Thank you for being you.
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