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The Art of Persistence

Lately, I’ve been filling my days with music to get away from the world. My current go-to is Valley’s sucks to see you doing better EP, and a certain song in particular, “All the Animals I Drew As a Kid,” has placed my immediate thoughts into perspective when I couldn’t do so myself. The section is as follows:

“Oh no, it's a consequential world we live in

Oh no, we're just lost and lonely experts

But for you and I

And our peace of mind

In the case of a tragedy

I still wouldn't press rewind.”

There is much to say on the verse's implications: the recent siege at the Capitol building, the regret of our past decisions, and the aimlessness of our time. While all tragic, we don’t press rewind because we live with the notion that these events teach us something that beforehand we wouldn’t have known. They illuminate deep, systemic problems with corruption in our society, the character flaws we need to desperately work on, and the struggles that we have to work through every day. Especially right now, we have to learn to keep fighting even when all we want to do is to give up.

For me personally, life has been unpredictable recently. I’m in quarantine for the second time (during finals no less), I’m still trying to navigate and decide what college to attend, and I’m slowly losing passion for the interests I’ve loved for years. However, it’s nothing I can control; I’m growing older. These are all consequences that come along with the natural progress of time, and instead of giving up, I have re-find who I am. Most importantly, it’s given me a deep appreciation for persistence.

Persistence, in my opinion, is guided by the concept of change. My AP World History teacher says that rapid change in a society is almost always bad--since humans are creatures of habit--and I would generally agree with her on that statement. However, rapid change is good when we are ready for change. Sure, it’s bittersweet when we arrive at the moments of going away from the old to the new, but deep down we know there is a better future on the horizon. Whenever we are faced with a circumstance that we can’t control, that we can’t fathom, that we want to scream like Phoebe Bridgers does at the end of “I Know The End,” I like to say to remember your green light.

What is a green light? If you have any knowledge of me and my immense love for Lorde, you’ll know right away. On her iconic lead single introducing her Melodrama era, she sings the following:

“‘Cause honey I’ll come get my things, but I can’t let go

I’m waiting for it, that green light, I want it

Oh, I wish I could get my things and just let go

I’m waiting for it, that green light, I want it”

While the song refers to a relationship, I like to take it quite literally. My green light is a feeling--the cinematic, majestic, ethereal tunnel moment--so that I can “just let go.” Whenever I’m in a bad place, physically or emotionally, I think about my green light--the promise of the future.

Just recently, I had my green light. Being accepted into my dream school, I saw it all flash before my eyes: the love, the pain, the heartbreak, the denial, the anger, the acceptance, the tears. Even if the world isn’t okay right now, and even if I don’t know where the future is taking me, I have that small feeling to hold onto. It’s a promise that one day, it will be better.

Hold onto your green light, whatever it may be.


Clayton Kincade (he/him)

Cabot High School Senior


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