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  • Kai Straw

The song coming out next Friday is called ‘Bleeding Out in the 415’, and I wrote it one night when I felt like absolute trash. In life, we ebb and flow. If you’re feeling good, no doubt, something eventually will come along and punch you in the face. I wrote this right after I was punched in the face. I was actually in the process of writing a very uplifting song, and then I was suplexed by the universe, essentially, and got so distracted that I couldn’t write the uplifting song anymore. I had to write a song to capture the negativity. It isn’t void of hope, because that’s not who I am, but there’s a ‘darkness’ to it, for sure.

I think we define ourselves by how we respond to that type of thing. I remember once, back when I was in the nightclub business in San Francisco, sitting in my office during my biggest ‘failure’. The event had about 1/4th the amount of people I needed to break even (meaning – cover all my expenses, talent, and so on). I’d paid for the event myself, so this meant I was in the process of losing a small fortune. The bass from the event was rattling my windows. I was looking at my budget on an excel spreadsheet, checking in with Eddie (shout out to Eddie!) seeing if any more guests were walking up (they weren’t). Once I’d realized this was, yes, going to be carved into stone as a massive loss for me, I thought, “What have we learned?” That’s usually the first question I ask myself when going through something like that, a ‘failure’. I saved that excel spreadsheet, and I talk about that memory fondly, because it taught me far more than my victories ever have.

There are times, too, though, when nothing can be ‘learned’ from a negative experience – let’s say, a personal loss. You lose a friend, maybe. A parent. A sibling? My mom’s twin brother was hit by a car in San Francisco and, like that, he was gone. What could she have done then? I think it’s important to allow yourself to grieve. That’s healthy. It satisfies such a deep psychological need, and to be able to guiltlessly do that, with no greater motive or lesson, I think, is a victory. That’s human.

‘Bleeding Out in the 415’ is me doing that. 💀🌕

  • Kai Straw

I remember once, as a younger man, describing to my mom how I felt like I didn’t have any roads left to go down. I think she cried, and maybe I did, too. I desperately wanted the sun to rise within me, but was convinced it never would. It was so easy for me to feel that way, that looking back, I can see that I actually wanted to feel that way. I fixated on all I wasn’t, all I didn’t have, all I thought I’d never be, made a prison for myself within it, and held onto that negativity as if in a strange way it was integral to who I was.

I really think I’d so completely fused with this negative view of myself, my life and the world, that I’d confused that mindset as somehow being a part of me; it was as if I’d attached my entire value to my ability to point out the flaws in absolutely everything. And that being the case, on some level I felt if I were to let go of all that negativity, I’d lose who I was, like to let go of my negativity would be to let go of myself. It was like negativity had become this strange mask I was wearing in fear of expressing my actual personality for so long that I’d started to believe it was my face.

Any time I talk with someone who is hyper-cynical, who extracts negativity from everything, I feel for them, because I was once that, and I know that their cynicism is most likely also pointed at themselves when they’re alone. Cynicism is a shell; it’s a scab grown from your own unique cocktail of personal disappointments, bitterness, trauma and insecurities – and if you keep nurturing that type of thought, it will slowly take over who you are, like it did me, until you’re unearthing from everything any glint or shadow of negativity. Cynicism is this weird trick we can pull on ourselves to feel powerful.

Realizing this made me understand I was being a huge baby, essentially. Was everything so negative or had I become addicted to a negative mindset? These days, if I have a negative knee-jerk reaction to anything, really, my first thought is, “What insecurity did this just activate within me? I’ve got some work to do.” 💀

  • Kai Straw

Here’s the newest member of the Straw family, my niece! She currently enjoys making this face 😲 about almost anything, haha. We didn’t catch it here on camera, but, man, it’s hilarious. When she was first born, I’d just lost my job and just decided to get into music full time; that makes her a true day one supporter, in my book.

I say this sometimes, “I’ve already won,” when talking about those few precious things that I hold close to my heart. I don’t treat myself to a whole lot. I’ve never been one to care much for ‘stuff’. But I do love my family. They are a gift. When I was younger, I couldn’t see it, but now it’s as clear as day – my cup overflows, and it always has.

If you’re a creator and you’re pursuing that full time, or really, for anyone, it’s easy to get caught up in thinking about the success you don’t have, or in thinking you’re ‘behind’, or to get caught in a flood of self-doubt. I think that mindset requires an error in where you’re seeking value. To reset yourself, you’ve got to recognize where your cup overflows, where you’ve already won.

Nothing is guaranteed in my life. Not my health. My future. My home. And ultimately, on a long enough timeline, my own life is a loan that must one day be returned. In these small moments, like when I have this gift of being able to hold my niece, I think of that, and it makes me feel like, wow, how precious, and what a gift this really is, to be able to love and be loved, to breathe, to have life, to be here at all. If I have breath in my lungs, my cup overflows, and when my last breath does come, I hope I’m filled with gratitude for all those that came before it.

I wrote this while listening to Fare Thee Well (Dink’s Song) by Oscar Isaac & Marcus Mumford.

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