Different Strokes for Different Folks - by Zane Stalberg

The first Strokes song I remember hearing was The End Has No End. I was in high school and working through all of the trials and tribulations that are the package deal that comes with teenage angst. I was anxious, angry, and constantly trying to live up to the potential that people saw in me, but that I couldn’t see within myself.

Now, I could say I heard that first Strokes song and everything made sense all of a sudden, but real life doesn’t tend to be as romantic as all that. What I do remember, however, is that it felt like I was getting permission to be myself. In the midst of trying to figure out who I was I felt that I had discovered a band that was telling me that not only was it alright to be fucked up, and confused, but that beyond that, it could be cool. The Strokes made me see that feelings of inadequacy or self-loathing were a natural part of being human, and that being yourself, for better or worse, was good enough. 

Some of those feelings still linger in me, especially as I grapple with mental illness, but all these years later, the impact The Strokes had on me lingers too. Maybe more than ever. After years of constantly struggling to straddle the line between my own feelings of myself and the perceptions of others, I no longer feel the need to project who I am to the world.  More than that, I no longer have to convince myself of who I am. I spent a long time trying to listen to certain music in order to create a certain image, but in re-discovering The Strokes in my late twenties I realized that they had helped me realize who I was all along. I just didn’t see it. 

The Strokes were that band for me. Whether they are for anyone else reading this is irrelevant. What matters is that everyone has a band like that. A band that they found when they were young that they carry with them, and that either consciously, or subconsciously, made them realize that being yourself is good enough. 


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