A hunger for success can bring you money and fame, but it can come at the expense of your personal relationships.
What does it mean to “make it” and why is it viewed as the only path to happiness?
In his new song “Open Letter”, Mike Xavier writes about the perils of this belief and how it can damage your most intimate relationships and your own psyche.
The instrumentation of “Open Letter” is simple and unadorned. Xavier emotes through his heartfelt words, rapping over a steady beat and periodical synths.
You can call me when you need me.
I heard that you were proud ’cause you spotted me on tv.
You know I’m out here working cause’ I’m really tryna’ make it.
I know that you are stressin’, you just probably couldn’t take it, I don’t judge you for it.
We see a subtle guilt in Xavier’s words. He knows that his close friend back home is struggling without him, but Xavier justifies his actions to him, claiming that he is away because he is working hard to “make it”.
A lost soul trying to find your way.
I pray the Bible gives you guidance to some better days.
Apologies to the family for the disarray
’cause you be causin’ us some worry bein’ MIA.
In this epistolary song, Xavier writes to friends and family back home, but he also addresses some of the letters to himself. He feels guilt for leaving his family behind to pursue his dreams, and hopes religion can guide his “lost soul”.
I know it’s been a long road
and you’ve been feeling all alone,
so I’m just hoping that you find peace
and find your way back home.
In the chorus, gentle, melodious piano notes are introduced, which adds poignancy to Xavier’s words. Once again, Xavier addresses a troubled friend from his past, but realizes he is equally troubled and lost after leaving his home, friends, and family behind.
Throughout the song, we see Xavier’s guilt for pursuing his dreams manifest in his well-wishes towards his friends and family. He constantly hopes and prays that they will be okay, knowing that he isn’t there to actually help them because he has chosen to chase his dreams.
Hurt my heart when you were contemplating suicide,
said you were so depressed you really sat and thought about it,
and that you had your share of struggles but right now’s the hardest,
and so I thought about the ways that I could help you out,
but then you disappeared I never knew your whereabouts.
When a loved one falls into depression, many of us feel partly responsible; why didn’t I see the signs? Why didn’t I do something?
Xavier experiences this guilt because he views his pursuit of a career as a selfish endeavour. Even though the emotions and experiences of his loved ones are out of his control, he still feels like he could have done more.
This is something that resonates with many of us; we’ve had a loved one whom we neglected or left behind to fulfill our own desires, and while pursuing your dreams is not bad in itself, it shifts your attention from others onto your own life.
The struggle for a balance between the two is the difficulty we face in life. As Xavier suggests, if we get too invested in our own lives, it may be too late before we realize how much our loved ones need us.
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