Episode 36 is a Stay Strong playlist. Music has the power to help people through hard times. I hope that the music can help others in the same way that it has helped myself.

This particular Stay Strong playlist has a sub-theme of Abuse. More accurately, growing up in an abusive household. Regardless if it was your father, a step-father, your mother, a sibling, an uncle or aunt, a cousin, a guardian, or someone else.

Popular culture spends a lot of time targeting fathers who are abusive, and rightfully so. There are indeed a lot of men out there who abuse their family. However, abuse is not exclusive to one gender. Women can be quite abusive in their own way, which isn't always physical but sometimes it is.

One of the things that really pisses me off is the fact that men are overwhelmingly blamed for domestic violence issues. There are indeed a lot of men out there who commit acts of domestic violence, nobody is denying that. But there are also a lot of women out there abusing their families as well but society never seems to want to talk about that. How are we ever supposed to be "equal" in this world when one gender gets a free pass and another gender never gets the benefit of doubt?

I once had a counselor who overwhelmingly wanted to speak about "Toxic Masculinity." He would often use the phrase "We need to move from a place of "Toxic Masculinity" to place of "Healing Femininity."" I immediately took issue with his choice of words, explaining that by putting those combination of words together he was implying that all men are bad and all women are good. Which simply is not true. One need look no further than a quick YouTube search for "Big Red" for a good example of so-called "Healing Femininity" personified.

I can't help anyone solve their problems. All I know how to do is write about my own experiences. All I can do is let you know that you are absolutely not alone. All I can do is tell my story and hope that it provides some answers while giving others insights that I never had growing up. All I can do is share the music that helps me through my own hard times. I hope they can assist you too in some small way.

Bands and artists in this playlist include:

The Unseen, Millencolin, Thrice, Fiddler's Green, Ten Foot Pole, The Vandals, Hopsin, No Use For A Name, Three Days Grace, I Prevail, Against Me!, Forever Came Calling

Features and discussions include: 

-"Saved By Hell" is possibly my all-time favorite song from Millencolin.Years ago I posted a photo of my Machine 15 vinyl on social media and said it was my favorite Millencolin album. An old buddy from high school replied saying "Really? That one is your favorite." Yes, Dickard... I mean Richard, it is. I enjoy most of the songs on the album but the lyrics of "Saved By Hell" spoke directly to my soul. I watched my mom abuse my older sister on a near nightly basis for a period of two to three years when I was in middle school. The lyrics "why can't you get along?" and "in a small apartment, there's nowhere to run when chaos has begun" really hit home for me, no pun intended.

-"Your House" by Hopsin is the only hip-hop song on the playlist. I'm not a huge fan of rap or hip-hop but I am a fan of good music with a powerful message. When I was in middle school witnessing my mother and sister going to war with each other on a regular basis, I once asked a buddy if I could stay at his house overnight even though we both had school the next day. My buddy who was Turkish and lived with his single mom in an apartment replied "Why? Isn't your house all white and Brady Bunch?" I wanted to smack this dude across his ignorant face. Instead, I just mumbled something about dysfunctional family shows like Roseanne and Married With Children being popular for a reason. Just because I was white and my parents stayed married didn't mean we were living the life of a fictional 60s/70s era sitcom. Not. At. All.

-On a more positive note, I saw Against Me! perform a few years ago. I didn't know the words to a lot of their songs but I knew all of the lyrics to one song in particular, "Black Me Out." When the song came up in the set-list, I sang along at the top of my voice and pulled out my phone to record the moment. While I was singing along with Laura Jane Grace, a cute blonde girl nearby put her arm around my shoulder and kissed me on the cheek. A pleasant surprise, no doubt. I turned the phone around and she did it one more time for the camera. I had a huge smile on my face until I looked over and saw who I assume was her boyfriend, glaring at both of us and not looking very happy. It was a pleasant moment but I was smart enough to stay out of that messy situation. What's the point of this story? Well, I just wanted to lighten the mood but perhaps there is something to be said about losing one's-self in the moment? Or maybe it was just a pleasant moment of shared camaraderie, and nothing more. 🤷

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Watch the playlist below or use the following links: YouTube | Spotify


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