Best Albums of 2019


Yeah, yeah, I know it’s halfway through June- almost halfway through the year, & here I am JUST NOW getting around to writing my annual best albums post for the previous year. But hey, that’s life with a very spirited, challenging 3 year old. (Then again what 3 year old isn’t spirited & demanding?)

Anyway, aside from my # 1 choice, these are really in no particular order.

P.S. It should probably go without saying but many of these albums are not for delicate ears/sensibilities. Many come with an explicit label- or would if they were actually sold in mainstream stores like Wal-Mart. Listen at your own discretion.

  1. Disguise by Motionless in White: I loved MIW’s third album Reincarnate so much that I honestly thought there was no way they’d ever top that one, for me anyway. But then came Disguise. Woah, just woah! Both lyrically & musically MIW really blew it out of the water on this one, but especially lyrically. Lead vocalist & principle songwriter Chris Motionless has stated that he really focused more on the lyrics on this album & it absolutely shows. It’s very hard for me to choose a favorite on this one but if I had to choose one, it would be Another Life. The words are hauntingly beautiful while the melody is truly infectious, making the perfect combination for a song that is sure to be stuck in your head for a long time. Other highlights include the title track, hard-hitting Thoughts & Prayers, & Undead Ahead 2 which is based off of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow & is also a follow up to a song on their debut album. Also don’t miss the sarcastic & witty Brand New Numb. But truly there isn’t a bad song on this album, not a single song that isn’t well written in every aspect. And that is why it’s my choice for #1 album of the year.miw disguise
  2. Untitled by Rammstein: Confession: this is actually my first Rammstein album. I knew a handful of their songs before this album but never liked any of them enough to actually buy a full album. But then I heard Deutschland on satellite radio & instantly I was blown away by just how raw & powerful it was. The music video, as usual, was controversial but in my opinion is a fantastic portrayal of Germany’s history. The piano part that ends the video (not the actual song on the album) is also hauntingly beautiful & I believe it actually comes from one of their earlier albums. Then there is the almost dance-like Radio which is infectiously catchy & will most definitely get stuck in your head. Other stand-out tracks include Auslander & the surprising ballad Diamant. I understand no more than maybe five words of German but this album is proof that music is universal. You don’t have to understand the lyrics to feel the power of the music & the emotions behind it.rammstein
  3. Gereg by The Hu: While we’re on the subject of international music in languages other than English, let’s discuss the break-out debut album from this Mongolian band. When it comes to most unique sound, this album definitely takes the cake. Mongolian throat singing combined with traditional Mongolian instruments & fused with rock & roll- you got it! If you think that sounds bizarre & unlikely to please the ears, you couldn’t be more wrong. Well, maybe it IS bizarre- but that only makes it all the more interesting. I first came across a remix version of Wolf Totem featuring Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach while listening to something else on YouTube while at the gym one day. That lead me to check out the original version & I was immediately in awe- & in love. Also be sure to check out Shoog Shoog & Yuve Yuve Yu.the gereg the hu
  4. What You See Is What You Get by Luke Combs: After the first three you might not have been expecting to see a country album on this list but Luke Combs is way too good not to mention. This album is chock full of great songs- 17 of them to be specific! From start to finish Luke’s second album is full of brutally honest lyrics & story telling that definitely channel the spirit of his idol & fellow North Carolinian Eric Church (who just so happens to be my favorite country singer). In fact there is even a song featuring guest vocals from Church. It’s very hard to pick favorites but be sure to check out the upbeat Beer Never Broke My Heart & Angels Working Overtime as well as the more somber Dear Today. All Over Again is another great one that gets stuck in my head all the time. There is something so truly “every man” about Luke Combs that you just cannot help but like the guy even if country music isn’t your normal taste.luke combs
  5. Who Do You Trust? by Papa Roach: The follow up to 2017’s Crooked Teeth is a real blend of the different variations this band has explored over the past two decades. The best testament to the strength of this album is that I heard three of the songs for the first time live & immediately fell in love with all of them- so much so in fact that I ordered the album from my phone right there during the concert! Those three songs, in case you’re wondering, are still some of my favorites off the album: Feel Like Home, Renegade Music, & Come Around. The title track is also incredibly relevant for our world today, perhaps even more so now than when it was released last year. Though it’s less than 1.5 minutes long, the very punk rock track I Suffer Well is a fun addition to the album, particularly in contrast to the more hip hop influenced songs like Elevate. While this album could perhaps be accused of being a bit disjointed & not “flowing” super well, it’s still a fantastic addition to the Papa Roach catalog. P.S. If you haven’t seen Papa Roach live, as soon as we’re allowed to have concerts again, DO IT. Nevermind that these guys are in their 40s now- they have more energy & intensity than many bands half their age.papa roach
  6. Hotel Diablo by Machine Gun Kelly: Ok, so you probably weren’t expecting a rap album on this list either but here it is. To be honest I wasn’t expecting a rap album to ever make one of my annual best albums lists, but then I discovered this jewel by MGK. Truthfully I’ve forgotten quite how I got into this album but I’m pretty sure it involved going down a YouTube wormhole which probably led me to the last song on the album which is actually not a rap song at all. That song, I Think I’m Okay, is still my favorite from this disc. Other great tracks include Hollywood Whore, El Diablo, & Death in My Pocket. Rap will never be my favorite genre by a long shot but there is a rawness, honesty, & cleverness to MGK’s lyrics that I can’t help but love. It probably helps that he actually plays guitar & clearly has an appreciation for rock. In fact he’s actually just made a pop/rock/punk album entitled Tickets to My Downfall & I for one can’t wait for its release next month.hotel diablo
  7. 21st Century Liability by Yungblud: I discovered this album as a direct result of the previous one on this list. MGK’s I think I’m Okay features Yunglud & after watching the music video for that song I was immediately intrigued by this obviously unique young man. By the way, it turns out MGK & Yungblud have actually become great friends & are absolutely hilarious together (search YouTube for some great videos of them). If you’re offended by outspoken British dudes in pink socks who occasionally wear dresses, then Yungblud definitely isn’t for you. But it’d be a real shame to miss out on the wit & charm that is Yungblud. Standout tracks on this quirky record include Die For the Hype, Polygraph Eyes, & the title track. yungblud album
  8. N.A.T.I.O.N. by Bad Wolves: The second album by Bad Wolves comes across as an even more polished version of this clearly talented group of men. Outspoken lead singer Tommy Vext has quickly become one of my favorite rock stars, largely because he is so impossible to pigeon hole. He is truly a man who thinks for himself & says whatever he wants, regardless of what anyone else may think. But back to the album: there are plenty of great heavier tracks like No Messiah & I’ll Be There but I think my favorite is the deeply personal & more somber track Sober. Vext’s soulful voice really shines on songs like this where the emotions are so strong they’re almost palpable.bad wolves
  9. I, The Mask by In Flames: Confession: I knew almost nothing about legendary Swedish metalers In Flames until I started hearing I Am Above on Octane & Liquid Metal last year. After that I was instantly hooked, bought the album, & even saw them live when they came to Raleigh. There isn’t a bad song on this album but some of my other favorites include the slow burning Stay With Me which starts off soft & gentle but builds into a real powerhouse by the end & Follow Me which follows a similar pattern. Call My Name is also excellent.i the mask
  10. Southern Hostility by Upon a Burning Body: UABB will always be among my top choices for underrated bands. These Texans deserve so much more attention than they get. This entire album makes for a great work-out soundtrack. I for one can’t wait to get back to jamming to this at the gym someday . . . Anyway, vocalist Danny Leal’s screams are in top form on this album. Be sure to check out Reinventing Hatred, King of Diamonds, & From Darkness.uabb southern

Honorable mentions:

  • Earth & Sky by Of Mice & Men
  • Walk the Sky by Alter Bridge
  • The Ghost of Ohio by Andy Black
  • Shades of Blue by Danny Worsnop
  • High Crimes by The Damned Things

Rock Star of the Week: Chris Motionless


Last night I began thinking that it would be fun to start a blog series about my favorite rock stars.  I’ve been working on a post on this topic for ages now, but I’ve realized that such a post would be more like a novel.  So what better way to break it up a bit than creating a series of posts about all my favorites?  These will be appearing in no particular order.

*Warning: I do not censor my favorite rock stars, so yes, there will be swearing (duh).chris motionless

This week I’m going to initiate the series with Chris Cerulli, otherwise known by his stage name Chris Motionless, the lead singer of Motionless in White (MIW) out of Scranton, Pennsylvania.  If you’re not familiar with MIW, their music could be described in various ways from heavy to gothic to horror metal & probably a lot more.  They’re exactly the kind of band that ten years ago I could never have imagined myself enjoying.  But they’re also a band whose music I fell in love with immediately upon discovering it.  You can read all about that here.

MIW reincarnate

Chris (seated) with his bandmates from Motionless in White

I’ve actually written a bit about Chris on this blog before because he is just such a unique individual in so many ways.  When I first discovered him & his band, I immediately felt a powerful connection because of my love for people who break stereotypes.  Chris is a man who is covered in tattoos & piercings & is never seen wearing anything other than black.  (There might be other colors involved, but the greater part of any outfit of his will always be black.)  He is also famous for his extreme use of makeup including his lust-worthy eyebrows.  Not going to lie, I never thought I’d say a man looked good in makeup, but Chris Motionless taught me otherwise.  See the picture below if you don’t believe me. chris motionless 2Basically, in appearance Chris is much like a younger, more modern version of Marilyn Manson.  And just like Manson, there is so much more to Chris than what many would initially assume based on appearance alone.  A lot of folks would assume someone who looks like Chris would be a devil-worshipper or at least a drug user or alcoholic.  As it turns out, Chris is none of those things.  In fact he’s very well known in the rock/metal community for his “straight edge” ways.  In other words, he does not drink, smoke, or participate in promiscuous sex.  If you find any of that hard to believe check out this interview.

Motionless-In-White-6

Is this jacket epic or what?!

What I love best about Chris’s choice to live this way is that he doesn’t push it on other people (some of his own bandmates do smoke & drink), & he hasn’t chosen this lifestyle because of any religious affiliation.  He has chosen it simply because he thinks it’s the best way for him to live: “I think alcohol, and getting high, and all that shit, is retarded . . . I’ve never really had any interest. Like… You know how some people are even curious to see? You know – “I don’t drink, but I wanna know what it’s like to be drunk” or “I wanna see what it’s like to be high even once.” It just doesn’t have any interest to me at all. It just doesn’t make me feel like I wanna know. I think that shit’s disgusting . . .  if I’m with somebody, then it’s a monogamous relationship . . . I’m not a playboy, for lack of a better word. I have a little self-respect.”  See the link in the previous paragraph for the full interview from which these quotes are taken.  chris cerulli

Despite writing & performing what many would describe as very dark music, Chris is also well known as an extremely polite individual with a propensity for kindness & having a great smile.  “. . . the MIW frontman has a fearsome onstage persona that’s somewhat at odds with his friendly and well-spoken offstage self. “I don’t want to be an aggressive and intimidating person to people in real life,” he explains. “That’s why my stage character has a different name than me [Chris Cerulli]—it’s a good way to let that part of my personality shine. It’s a big reason why I love to play live, having that outlet . . . There’s a lot of anger inside of me, and I certainly don’t have to convince myself to be pissed off.”  (See this interview for more, which includes Chris talking about how his parents have always supported him despite not being too fond of his general appearance.)  Despite the fact that I don’t have any tattoos or piercings (outside of earrings), nor do I dress in all black or wear heavy makeup, I can strongly relate to Chris on this subject because while I am known as a very kind, polite person, there is a lot more to me than might initially meet the eye.  Which is probably why people are often so shocked to discover that I like such “hard, dark” music.  I’m not saying I’m a deeply angry or bitter person on the inside.  Not at all.  But I’m not some “happy-go-lucky I love everyone all the time” angel either.Chris-Motionless

Chris is also a big promoter of self-respect & personal responsibility & has openly decried fans who try to credit him with saving their lives: “NO. I did not save your life. NO.. band X, Y or Z did not save your life. IF in fact you were on the brink of any self harming action… it was YOU who pulled yourself from the ledge. You saved your life, You are the hero. Why are people not willing to take credit for their own actions? . . . MIW’s main message has always been about not giving a fuck what people thought and encouraging you to do the same.”  (You can read Chris’s full blog post on that matter here.)  chris motionless quote

Furthermore, MIW’s latest song from their forthcoming fourth album is all about how the band has achieved the success they have today through sheer hard work & determination.  Check out the music video here.  With lyrics like these, you’d be hard-pressed not to find this song inspirational:  “I’ve been to hell & back, with no promise of return/So I made friends with fire to keep from getting burned/No money, no sleep, dedication/10 years on the road, this is sacred/And when I’m facing a wall, I do not quit/Cause if you mean it, you will make it/Pulled apart in a world so demanding/I’m still here, still standing/I’ve sweat blood from Stockholm to Scranton/Still here, still standing . . . If you mean it, you will make it!”  (If you’re curious about the song’s title 570, it’s the area code of the band’s hometown Scranton, PA; hence the lyric about Scranton in the song.)chris miw

I hope that reading all of this will inspire you to check out Chris’s band if you aren’t already familiar with them.  To start you off, here are some links to a few of my favorite MIW songs:

  • Reincarnate: the first song I ever heard from MIW & the one that made me immediately fall in love with the band
  • America: a scathing discourse on the hypocrisy of this country
  • Break the Cycle: an empowering song about how we can all be our own worst enemy & overcoming self-doubt

Album Review: Reincarnate by Motionless in White


Have you ever listened to an album & just been so blown away by how raw & powerful the music was that you didn’t have words to truly describe the way it made you feel?  With the propagation of digital music, sadly, for a lot of people my age, & certainly for many folks younger than I, the answer is probably no.   But I’m weird, so I still insist on buying actual CDs because there is a part of me that feels it’s very necessary to have some PHYSICAL piece to cling to in order to claim ownership of an album.  (Additionally it makes it much easier to share music with friends when you have an actual CD to hand to them.)  Furthermore, if I really like an artist, I feel like I’m short-changing myself if I only ever hear the singles they choose to release to radio; thus I feel it behooves me to purchase the entire album.chris motionless

In any case, about two weeks ago I discovered the band Motionless in White while fooling around on YouTube one evening.  In fact the lead singer was the inspiration behind my recent post about breaking stereotypes (https://athicketofmusingsblog.com/2015/01/19/breaking-stereotypes/).  I was so impressed by the lead single Reincarnate off of their latest album of the same name that, being the music nerd that I am, I went out & purchased said album the very next day.  When I popped the disc into the CD player in my car, I truly cannot describe to you the emotions & thoughts that passed through my mind as the music began to play.  The best I can say is that the music was both eerie & empowering, angry yet mature, &, perhaps above all else, raw, intense, & powerful.  Some two weeks later, despite the fact that the album has been on almost constant replay in my car & on my computer, this album has lost not one ounce of its power & originality.  Considering that just ten years ago I wouldn’t have been caught dead listening to what might be described as a goth or horror metal band whose members dress in all black & are notorious for wearing heavy make-up, this is a pretty powerful statement.  Granted my tastes are clearly far more eclectic these days or I wouldn’t have been drawn to this music at all, but nonetheless most of my favorite bands fall more on the rock side of the rock/metal genre, & perhaps it is the very fact that Motionless in White ARE quite different, both musically & in appearance, than many of my other favorite bands that makes their music so intriguing to me.

I bought this album today, & it is EPIC.

You need to buy this NOW!

To begin, I’ll be the first to admit that this album is not “safe for children.”  If you’re offended by men in make-up, the F word, or music that could be described as heavy or dark, this album isn’t for you.  (Which is a great pity because you’ll be missing out on a truly fantastic work of art.)  Furthermore, since purchasing Reincarnate I’ve gone back & listened to some of the songs from MIW’s previous albums, & honestly I have to say that I’m not a huge fan of their earlier work.  I don’t hate it by any means.  It’s just that much of it strikes me as perhaps a bit TOO heavy, even for me.  Perhaps I could phrase it better by saying I like many of the lyrics from their earlier albums, but I don’t fancy the delivery of them so much.  In any case, Reincarnate is pure musical genius, & I’m thrilled to report that according to many interviews the lead singer says this is EXACTLY the kind of music he’s always wanted to make which leads me to believe there will be many more great MIW recordings to look forward to in the future.Motionless_in_white_reincarnateNot convinced to buy the album yet?  Let me describe some of my favorites for you.

The album opens with a powerful & thrilling piece called Death March.  In an interview I read the other day, lead singer Chris Motionless stated that this is the most intimidating song he’s ever written.  As a listener, this piece IS a bit intimidating but with lyrics like “I control my own destiny and I won’t suffer in vain/My enemy will not be the end of me,” it is also inspirational.  The way Chris’s voice sounds during the verses is definitely reminiscent of Marilyn Manson at times, but I for one find Chris’s music far more interesting than most of Manson’s work.  Have I mentioned that MIW has a full-time keyboardist as part of the band?  Without doubt, this is one reason MIW have such a unique & haunting sound which is showcased so excellently in this song.  It may also be why I was reminded of Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, specifically the witch’s sabbath movement, while listening to this piece.  Any modern rock/metal band who can recall in my mind a classical piece such as that is clearly winning.  Listen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7e_IrfxmyUkMIW logo

The second piece is the lead single Reincarnate, the song that originally caught my attention on YouTube.  I’ll be the first to admit that Chris’s unique & somewhat startling appearance probably initially drew me to the video as much as the music.  But the more I listened, the more I realized what a truly amazing vocalist AND lyricist Chris is.  In the video, Chris & his band-mates dig their own grave & then proceed to bury themselves in it.  To me this is symbolic of burying their past mistakes & moving on to a new future.  Whatever the band meant by it, I find it both creepy & inspiring, & I just can’t get enough of this song.  You can watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVQC3bx_AXsMIW reincarnate

The third song Puppets 3: The Grand Finale is the last of a trilogy of songs that began on MIW’s first album & have continued on each of their subsequent releases.  Chris has been very open about admitting that these songs are about a relationship with a girl he dated for six years, but he’s also been very open about saying this is truly the last Puppets piece.  As the song states quite plainly, that part of his life is over & he’s leaving it in the past.  This piece features Dani Filth from the English metal band Cradle of Filth (not a band I’m particularly familiar with but whose name of course I know).  It is by far the fastest & probably heaviest song on this album & probably has a lot more emotional meaning for MIW fans who have followed the band since their first album, but I too find it a fascinating piece.puppets 3

Next up is Unstoppable.  With lyrics like “I will justify this pain/I will live another day/I will fight to earn my place/I will be unstoppable” this is the PERFECT workout song, & it also makes for a great pick-me-up if you’re having a bad day.

The fifth song Everybody Sells Cocaine could perhaps be considered an allegory.  On the surface, the song is about drugs & the myth that they can bring happiness.  But on a deeper level, I think the song is about how everywhere you look in this world, someone is trying to sell you something, whether it’s a product or an idea or religion or a political scheme.Chris-Motionless

The sixth song, Contemptress, is what convinced me to go ahead & buy the album.  Once I saw that there was a duet with Maria Brink, the lead singer of In This Moment, I was sold.  I thought Maria’s duet with Brent Smith of Shinedown on her latest album Black Widow was sexy, but this duet with Chris is pretty tantalizing too.  Just listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R26czZ9ToyQ

One of my favorites on this album is definitely Generation Lost.  This is the perfect anthem for anyone who’s ever felt left-out, ignored, or just different than the norm.  It’s angry, it’s passionate, & it’s fun.  And it showcases Chris’s perfect growl.  What’s not to love?  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEevrd997tkchris motionless quote

Chris has stated that he was a big fan of the TV show Dexter which is one of the few shows from the past decade that I too have really enjoyed.  As you may guess from the title, the ninth song Dark Passenger was inspired by the show.  Considering we all have secrets & “dark areas”in our heart that we wouldn’t want the whole word to see, lyrics like “Somehow I will break and destroy you/And reveal what was hidden in plain view/This disguise was designed/To deflect what I couldn’t show you” make the song very relatable to all of us.dexter

Chris has also stated in a number of interviews that the tenth song Wasp is his favorite from this album, at least partly because it is so different than any of MIW’s other songs.  I’ll freely admit that initially the song didn’t do much for me.  Frankly it just struck me as boring compared to all the harder pieces.  But the more I’ve listened to the album, the more I’ve come to realize the true genius of this song.  It is beautiful, dark, & haunting, & I now can’t get enough of it.

If I haven’t yet convinced you to check out Reincarnate, I suppose I’m not going to.  But I sincerely hope you’ll click on at least few of the links I’ve provided & allow yourself to be drawn into the dark but tantalizing world of MIW.  chris motionless 2

I have to end this post by giving props to Chris Motionless.  Here is a heterosexual guy my age (mid to late 20s) who is covered in tattoos & piercings . . . but also wears more make-up than the average woman.  Here is a guy whose songs are far from G-rated . . . but who eschews drinking, smoking, & drugs.  Here is a guy who encourages his fans to stop thanking him for saving their lives with his music, but instead encourages them to realize the power they have within themselves to save their own lives (see his blog post here:  http://chrismotionless.tumblr.com/post/68612813830/recess-is-over).  Here is a guy whose appearance could be said to belie who he really is (in other words, he isn’t what you’d be likely to assume he is based solely on appearance).   And here is a guy who truly does not give a damn.  You, sir, are a true rock star.  Rock on with your bad self!

Breaking Stereotypes


Last night I was fooling around on YouTube as I often do, & in the process I discovered what to me is a new band: Motionless in White.  If you’re not familiar with them, they are a metal band based out of Scranton, PA & are fronted by a guy named Chris “Motionless” Cerulli who draws inevitable comparisons to Marilyn Manson.  As I always do when discovering a new band, I starting Googling the band & its lead singer, looking for interviews & such to familiarize myself with the band & to better connect with their music.  I soon discovered that despite the rather gothic appearance of the band, the lead singer is actually “straight edge” & is well-renowned for the fact that he has never smoked, drank, or used drugs & has no interest in such things.  In case you’re thinking this must be one of those Christian or pseudo-Christian metal bands, let me assure you Motionless in White is anything but that.  (On the other hand they are not Satanists either despite what some might naturally assume based on their appearance & the sound of their music).

I bought this album today, & it is EPIC.

I bought this album today, & it is EPIC.

chris motionless

From what I’ve read, Chris Motionless isn’t gay or transgender, despite having long hair & wearing a lot of make-up. How’s that for breaking stereotypes?

What struck me the most about this band is not only their unique sound but the lead singer’s ability to break stereotypes.  This led me to ponder my never-ending fascination with people who break stereotypes, whatever they may be.  As the Nigerian novelist, poet, & professor Chinua Achebe said, “The whole idea of a stereotype is to simplify. Instead of going through the problem of all this great diversity – that it’s this or maybe that – you have just one large statement; it is this.”  Indeed the world is very complicated & it’s not so shocking that society has created stereotypes to try to make sense of such a complex world.  And yet, the result of such stereotyping is that we often miss out on the joy that can be found in embracing the complexity of this world & the people around us.

chinua achebe quote

As some of you may know from reading previous blog posts, I grew up in a very small town in Virginia.  One of the saddest things about small towns is that stereotypes are so ingrained into the fabric of society that one can quite easily feel stifled in such places.  Over the past eight years since I graduated from high school I’ve often pondered the irony of how I graduated with some 140 odd students, the vast majority of us having been together in school since kindergarten or at least 3rd or 4th grade.  The result of this is that we all assumed we knew each other & often assigned each other to stereotypical roles & groups without much of a second thought.  The reality is that most of us knew next to nothing about each other, only what we THOUGHT we knew because we’d “known each other forever.”  I suppose this phenomenon occurs everywhere to a certain extent, but I daresay it’s worse in small towns where stereotypes can often be magnified due to the naturally insular nature of such places.stereotypes

In any case when I went to college I was immediately gratified by how so many people I met broke a lot of the traditional stereotypes I grew up around.  One of my best friends in college was a girl who had been an athlete in high school, yet she loved classical music, opera, & classic literature.  What also gratified me was finding that everyone I met didn’t naturally assume I was a boring nerd who couldn’t possibly be interesting, funny, or attractive.  Instead of being regarded as weird or dull because I’m naturally intelligent, people often seemed to find this intriguing. How gratifying!

As I’ve matured as an adult I continually find myself attracted to those who break stereotypes in one way or another.  Whether it’s a football player like Arian Foster who writes poetry & studies philosophy or a rock star like Chris Motionless who eschews drinking & drugs or some of my elderly patients who have iPads & are very adept with technology, I’m naturally drawn to those who somehow “break the rules” of what they’re “supposed” to be like because of their age, race, gender, or profession.

Many people probably wouldn't guess that Arian Foster writes poetry & studies philosophy . . . but he does.

Many people probably wouldn’t guess that Arian Foster writes poetry & studies philosophy . . . but he does.

At the end of the day, I consider myself fairly average.  When I say that I just mean that I’m not someone you’d look at twice in the grocery store, & yet I like to think I break a few stereotypes myself.  Today I thought it would be empowering to list a few of those & in doing so encourage my readers to think about the stereotypes they break in their own lives.  So here are a few ways in which I break the “rules of society.”

  • I love rock & roll & metal but I have no tattoos & no piercings, aside from standard earrings. I am not opposed to such things, but I just have no personal interest in them for myself.  When I go to rock shows, I’m often one of the only people without tattoos or piercings & who isn’t dressed in all or mostly black.  For some reason or other, I am often immediately assumed to be a “nice girl” & thus people are often shocked to find I like such heavy or “dark” music.  I resent the implication that people who value compassion & kindness can’t enjoy rock music, so I always enjoy the look on people’s faces when they find out some of my favorite bands are FFDP, Godsmack, & Halestorm.
  • On the other hand, when I go to country concerts, I’m always one of the only people not wearing cowboy (or should I say cowgirl?) boots. I’ve never owned a pair & don’t care to.  There’s nothing wrong with them; they’re just not my style.cowboy boots
  • Despite the fact that I grew up in a very rural area, I have only been fishing once & have no real interest in going again. I’ve also never been hunting or “mudding” & don’t particularly care to try either one.
  • Despite living in the South my entire life, I do not like sweet tea or gravy.
  • I’m an introvert who strongly prefers the city to the country.  When you really think about this, it’s actually quite logical because the anonymity of the city is far more suitable to an introvert like me who detests the idea of constantly having to make small talk.  In a small town everywhere you go, you see someone you know & thus feel compelled by some social construct to converse with them.introverts cats
  • I’m strongly considering becoming a mom in the next year or two (or three), but I love heavy metal & have no plans to stop listening to this music just because I have kids.
  • Sex, drugs, & rock & roll is a phrase that exists for a reason. But as much as I love this kind of music, I’m married to my first & only boyfriend, have never experimented with drugs or smoking, & drink alcohol only in moderation.  (Additionally there is a hell of a lot more to rock & roll than just sex & drugs, & if you don’t think so, you’re missing out on a lot in life.)
  • As much as I hate wars & violence, I am a strong supporter of gun ownership.  There are a whole host of logical reasons for this, but this isn’t the time or place to go into all that right now.gun-rights
  • I was a straight-A student in both high school & college, but I never once stayed up all night (or even half the night) studying for a test or final exam.
  • I’m a female who loves science & math, yet I also love literature, music, & history.
  • I’m a humanist & thus I don’t believe in moral absolutes, but despite what some people might think, I DO have moral & ethical standards for how I live my life, & I will teach them to my children someday.
  • I identify myself as a feminist because there are still plenty of places in the world where women do not have even basic human rights, but I do NOT hate men & I don’t think men automatically have an easier time in life.
  • I have no idea what happens after death (to be truly honest, NONE of us does because we haven’t been there), yet I volunteer with hospice & seem to have a special talent for caring for patients & their families at the end of life. Where most see only grief & suffering, I see a chance to make someone’s final days as painless as possible, to give that person a peaceful exit from this world, & to assist the family throughout this entire process.hospice

At the end of the day, I think we all break at least a few stereotypes in our lives, even if we’ve never given it a lot of thought.  Because stereotypes can be so damaging, I think we all could benefit from taking a few moments to think about what kind of stereotypes we break in our own lives as well as to examine the prejudices we might hold towards others due to common stereotypes in our society.

To end this post, I’ll leave you with a few quotes about stereotypes that I find very empowering & perhaps you will too.

Reducing a group to a slur or stereotype reduces us all.”   ~ DaShanne Stokes (author & human rights activist)

If you’re struggling to fit me into a box . . . Then build a bigger box!”   ~ Serina Hartwell (novelist)

P.S. If you want to check out Motionless in White, I’d strongly suggest starting with Reincarnate off of their latest album of the same name: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CVQC3bx_AXs