2.16.2011

Desperate for a Real Hero Pt.3

Eminem. Yes Seriously. Now before you get all excited and upset hear me out. This guy here might not be what you expect at all. Sure you've heard one side of the story- the media's side. A hyped up thirty second or two minute edited sound byte that maybe makes him look not so good...but what do you really know about him besides he says dirty words, is at the centre of a lot of controversy, and sells millions and millions of records?

Did you know that he was born into extreme poverty? Did you know that he is the legal guardian of his little brother? Did you know that he adopted two other children that aren't his biological kids? No? Hmm. Did you know he married his high school sweetheart? That his own mother tried to sue him? Maybe he is a lot more interesting than you imagined.

When I heard all the controversy about his lyrics and how much parenta hated him and the media never really gave him much of a fair shake either after all he was a white kid singing black music and he was a high school drop out....what could he possibly have to share with the world? Well actually a lot. This guy isn't even forty years old. He is only two years older than I am and was born into circumstances that would likely find most of us trying to merely survive. This kid made something of himself with the talent that he had and did it by himself. If nothing else you have to admit the kid has heart.

I try to imagine what my life might be like if I were as motivated to change it as Eminem was to change his. Is there a chance that I might be as successful as he is? Maybe but honestly I doubt it. I can;t even imagine how hard he had to work, how many times he must have felt like giving up, how may times someone must have said give it up you'll never make it, stop dreaming kid you're never going to be anybody. I wonder how many times someone jealous of his early victories tried to sabotage him, how many times someone tried to take advantage of him, and how difficult it might have been to NOT feel guilty about cutting the ties to the people who were sure to try and drag him down....including his mother.

I think about what I was doing at twenty, or twenty five and wish that I had the chance to do it all over again, to make the right choices instead of the easy ones. To take the time to listen to what my parents, family and friends were telling me. I was stubborn, but not in the good way! I learned too late that taking advice doesn't make you weak, that it's ok to change your mind, and that it's ok to be who you really are. I wish I could have been a boy my whole life but I will be almost forty years old before I approach a point where I feel like my life can finally begin.

I haven't had to deal with as much controversy as Eminem. I haven't had the pressure of fame, or fortune or a family to raise. I haven't been obligated to travel across the country and send time alone or with strangers in hotels or busses, or let people take my picture or say whatever they wanted about me, truth or not. I have never had people threaten my life, wish me dead, try to take everything I have because they feel entitled to it. I have never had to deal with all of that and try not to develop an addiction to something that could help me fall asleep. People sometimes misinterpret what I am trying to say as an artist but usually I don't get asked to leave, or asked never to show up. And none of this happened to me when I was in my twenties.

For a guy to come out of all of that, poverty, slander, abandonment, vile misrepresentation, greedy money sucking parents, a broken heart, and still be able to walk tall and tell the truth about his life the ugly and the awesome is incredible. He is still in his daughter's life which is more than a lot of young fathers can say. He knows where he comes from he knows he's made mistakes but he also seems to have a pretty good grasp on what is right and what is wrong even if his presentation is a little rough around the edges for some people's liking.

Go ahead, watch his videos, listen to the lyrics of his songs. Maybe when you turn down the tv and hear what he is telling you about his life and about coping there is a lesson in it.  Maybe that poor white boy from Detroit really is someone you can learn from- if you're not too proud to listen.

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