I thought I found my soulmate. Again.
This was probably the second or third time in the past year (but who’s counting). Dude had it all. He was ridiculously attractive, smart, ambitious, and loved music as much as I did. The chemistry between us was seriously on some otherworldly “Prototype”-type shit. This was the one. Prior plans were set aside. Stacks upon stacks of Hip-Hop mixes were made: I had it bad. Unfortunately, my dream of creating a future with him was rather quickly dissolved. It was nothing more than bad timing and maybe even a bit of a miscalculation of compatibility. We broke it off, but before we stopped seeing each other, he told me something that hit me pretty hard: he said that I didn’t have an open mind. Me? Really? I wasn’t as upset with this label as I was with the fact that it might actually be true.
Lately, I’ve been playing the bi-monthly mixes I made for him. Pete Rock & CL Smooth, The Roots, Slum Village, J Dilla. All quintessential love raps that served as an extension of my love for him. But as amazing as these songs are, I started to realize something. The playlists I create are more or less the same every time – for every supposed “soulmate” I run into. Sure, the classics are always what have defined me as a music fan and a Hip-Hop writer, but it’s also precisely what has been limiting me in my journey to discover new sounds. Having realized this, I now understand what my biggest misstep is in my quest to foster a solid relationship: my resistance to change.
I’ve been rotating the same tried and true classics for years, and I’ve come to the conclusion that being too comfortable with the things you like can be a bad thing. At times, I have a tendency to only play the music I think I want to hear, and skip through the rest, without giving these promising tracks a full listen. Sometimes I won’t give a song a chance because I don’t like the opening bars, or because it starts too slow. Sometimes I’m not feeling the vocals, or the way the sample’s flipped. But one part of a song doesn’t necessarily reflect it as a whole, and the same goes for people.
In our quest to find the right song to play, we often fast forward preemptively and unknowingly filter through some great material. We tend to dismiss certain music based on our own ideas of what we think we need to listen to – for the moment. But as I recently (and repeatedly) have learned, what you want at the moment is almost never what you really need, and the desire for instant gratification always leads to missed opportunities.
Yet, sometimes, we realize the error of our ways. We go back to unearth a lost gem of a track that we originally weren’t really feeling, and before you know it, it ends up being our favorite song. The problem with doing this with people is that they’re, well, people. Unlike a piece of music, you won’t always have that second chance to re-discover how amazing someone is, and they won’t always come back to you.
In fact, most of the time, they don’t.
Openness and patience are crucial in discovering new sounds and new people, and these are two things that I admittedly do not always possess. I’ve missed out on too much in life because of this shortcoming. It’s time to be more open and step out of my comfort zone; to pick up a new beat and discover a new sound – one I’ve never heard before. After all, the deepest and most fulfilling relationships aren’t necessarily the ones rooted in our similarities; they’re rooted in an openness to and shared appreciation of our unique differences in everything – from the music we like to the different ways we choose to show affection. It’s what makes a new love fresh and exciting.
The people you want for the moment won’t always be who you expect them to be. None of my supposed “soulmates” were. And that’s fine. But at the same time, don’t be so quick to fast forward through the people you think aren’t right for you. Listen to the entire track first, because before the record even ends, the love you’ve always wanted may pass you by.