004 of Songs from a Sketchbook is called Fallout and is out now on Spotify & iTunes. You can also check it out by clicking here.
"Karma's a bitch."
Ever heard that before?
I don't know what I believe about the spiritual ideology of Karma, but I absolutely believe in consequence.
When you're a kid, you're shown right from wrong and told that if you do something wrong, you'll be punished.
For example, you're told you can only have two chocolate chip cookies from the cookie jar and then mom catches you taking a third when you thought she wasn't looking and now you're sitting in timeout and there are tears of shame running down your face and onto your shirt that's covered in cookie crumbs. You're a mess. Get it together.
But what about this other expression that you've probably heard before as well...
"What mom doesn't know, won't hurt her." Insert mischievous emoji.
So instead of getting caught, you mission impossible the shit out of that cookie jar and sneak away with the biggest of the bunch. Extra chocolate chips and everything.
Mom never finds out. You got an extra cookie. Where's the harm?
Morality is a complex conversation, but I think we can safely say that regardless of culture or religion, human beings share a lot of common ground.
There are black and white lines we can point to and say, "This is right. This is wrong."
However, one day you become an adult and learn, as I have, that there is so much grey. Miles and miles and miles of grey between each black and white line.
Sometimes it's hard to see where grey ends and a line begins. And it feels like for every absolute there's a variable that can threaten its validity.
I say this because regardless of what we believe about right and wrong, we all make up our own code of ethics. We all, in one way or another, examine morality and define it for ourselves.
There are laws you feel comfortable breaking.
There are lies you feel comfortable telling.
There are rules you feel comfortable changing.
Do you ever think about these things?
I've been thinking about consequence a lot lately. Because I think I used to believe that some people can actually escape the consequences of their actions. Do you think that? Do you think people do bad things and get away with them?
I think the answer we rush to is yes. Because we know there are people that have committed crimes and haven't gone to jail for them. But that's not what I'm talking about.
I'm not talking about consequence in the form of tangible justice we can point to.
I'm wondering... Is there really no harm in getting away with the extra cookie?
I want to argue that there is.
I can say right now, honestly, that there are choices I have made, things I have done, that I believe are straight up wrong.
Big things, small things, medium-sized things.
You know what I've learned?
It's the things I've gotten away with that have damaged me the most.
This song is all about consequence.
In growing up, I've had to determine what I believe is right and what I believe is wrong and it's been a pretty messy process. But I want to be the kind of person that owns up to who they are.
I think before you can become who you want to be, you have to acknowledge who you've been.
This song is about owning up to who I've been. The choices I've made. The things I've done.
I love this song, not just because of the melody or lyrics but because of what I hope it signifies in me as a human being.
Writing this song felt like turning a page. It felt like moving forward.
It felt like freedom.