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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Dark Place

 

On his 2020 album No Pressure, lyricist Logic featured a track entitled “Dark Place,” with which I identify. Because there’s only one continuous verse, I’ll list the entire song herein and discuss my perspective accordingly. As a bonus, an Alan Watts sample was used at the end of the song.

 

Yeah

Depression, anxiety got ahold of me

‘Cause people say they want the older me

Well, I’m thirty, this the oldest me

Behold it’s me, the piece of shit that’s not good enough

Not black enough, not hood enough

Not rich enough, not poor enough

My heart has poured enough

 

I, too, have experienced depression and anxiety throughout my life. Unlike Logic’s perspective on these experiences, I view them through the lens of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT).

 

Similar to Logic, my dad is black and my mom was white. Unless I tell people about my biracial identity they likely think I’m white. My late stepmom called this “passing privilege.”

 

As such, I’ve never been black enough for some people. Likewise, I’ve not been white enough for others, especially when it comes to dating scenarios.

 

Whether fortunate or not, I’ve rarely been accused of not being “hood enough,” because those who knew me when I was putting in work likely didn’t want the consequences of an individual who was challenged to prove his loyalty to the barrio. I’m glad things have since changed.

 

I now understand that I’m good enough as is and with nothing to prove to others. Like Logic, “My heart has poured enough,” and I no longer disturb myself with irrational beliefs about how others attempt to define me.

 

I been beaten and battered, my confidence shattered

Been broken and tattered

I’m constantly second guessin’ if my profession is worth it on my mental state

Writin’ this from a dark place with humility and grace

Peace, love, and positivity was my nativity

But not when socials are in my vicinity

 

With a lifetime of suffering, I chose to practice in the field of mental health care as a means to become my own mechanic so that I could work on my issues without relying on others to fix me. Part of how I achieve this is through the posting of blog content.

 

However, and much to my surprise, I’ve been informed by a number of people that I’m not a proficient writer and that my posts aren’t as useful as I’d hoped they’d be. Therefore, I relate to how Logic second-guesses himself when thinking about his career choice.

 

One difference between my interpretation of the lyricist’s message and my own experience is that I don’t endure a “dark place” in association with self-critique. This is because I rely upon the ABC Model to forego needless self-disturbance.

 

This is accomplished by disputing the bullshit I tell myself. As an example, if I start to think something like, “I ought to be better at writing than I already am,” I ask myself why I believe this ought to be the case.

 

Where is it written that I ought to write in any particular manner? Even if I were to adhere to the rules of a writing style guide, who’s to say that my authentic voice would be accurately expressed when communicating in an inauthentic manner?

 

Aside from disputation, I use unconditional acceptance to avert from venturing into a dark place. For instance, I don’t place a rigid condition upon myself by saying, “I will accept myself only if others perceive me as a helpful psychotherapist.”

 

Therefore, I use a reasonable amount of the “humility and grace” Logic advocates. And as far as the social media content he expresses that may complicate matters, I generally forego it altogether.

 

I’m not runnin’ from the Internet

My God, I was at its birth, I’ve been a vet

Goin’ berserk like Peter down in Initech, yo, ayy

It’s deeper than the surface, I’m searchin’ for purpose

I’m tired of searchin’ for Logic on Google, on purpose, just to read that I’m worthless

 

My intention to eschew social media isn’t about running away from the digital world. Similar to Logic, I was present with the Internet and later social media was released to the world.

 

Still, as a matter of searching for purpose and meaning, I realize that outsourcing my worth to strangers isn’t in my best interest. For Logic, Googling his name has resulted in outcomes about his apparent worthlessness. For me, similar searches yield a number of my shortcomings.

 

Nevertheless, I try not to place too much stock in the opinions of web results which serve as little more than the misperceptions of others. I know that I’m a fallible human and I don’t seek internet validation related to my imperfection.

 

I remember makin’ music alone, just a pen and a microphone

But nowadays, it’s hard to get in the zone

Writin’ rhymes was easy before the fame

Now, I’m constantly overthinkin’ every line, it’s a shame

Rap used to fill me with joy, now it’s nothin’ but pain

I’m stuck in the game, tryna get back from where I came

I write this letter for the person who’s listenin’

Fed up and tired of people dismissin’ ‘em, I’m with you

I been through what you been through

And no amount of money can take away the feelin’ of insecurity

Only through maturity can we overcome

Feel like I’ve been overrun, feel like it’s over, I’m done

 

Like Logic, I sometimes find it difficult to “get in the zone” with writing. At the moment, I have 365 posts on my blog. Though unlike Logic, I don’t have fame as a burden which impacts what I write.

 

Nonetheless, I relate to the lyricist’s expressed desire to write for whoever’s listening—that one person to whom I may connect by stating as Logic put it, “I been through what you been through.”

 

I don’t practice REBT simply because I was taught this method in school or due to having been trained in it thereafter. I know the struggle. More importantly, I know how I overcame what kept a number of my loved one in adverse circumstances—belief in ineptitude.

 

In “Dark Place,” Logic says that “no amount of money can take away the feelin’ of insecurity.” From my perspective, I will add that rarely will an unproductive belief about one’s own inability improve one’s circumstance.

 

If you’re impoverished in your capacity to actually believe you can enhance your life, I can understand how you may determine that “it’s over” and that your life is “done,” as Logic suggests. I know that’s how my mind used to function—or dare I say dysfunction.

 

Whoever told you success gon’ make you happy? You been lied to

All of my dreams came true but I bleed and cry, too

Never been perfect, I failed every time I tried to

Feelin’ hated and underappreciated

Every time I look in the mirror, I wonder, “Why you?”

 

I can appreciate that the lyricist addresses the success-happiness façade. Whether financially successful or fortunate enough to believe you can improve your circumstances in life, happiness isn’t a guarantee. You will still “bleed and cry,” as Logic suggests. You will still suffer.

 

For the people with whom I share REBT in my personal and professional life, I invite them to consider being content with imperfection rather than seeking happiness and perfection. Searching for that which isn’t sustainable may lead to a rebound effect, thus causing one to self-disturb.

 

Shit, I’d love to end this on some positive shit

Hit you with punchlines instead of some derogative shit

But it’s okay to be sad sometimes and tired of shit, I guess

 

What better way to end his lengthy verse than for Logic to conclude on a real note? It certainly is “okay to be sad sometimes and tired of shit.”

 

This is a pragmatic approach to life, as existence requires the experience of light and dark places. After all, to live is to suffer. This suffering is punctuated with fleeting moments of joy and pleasure.

 

When I relay this message to others, I often receive pushback. People tell me it’s a pessimistic view with which they can’t abide. All the while, they search for happiness and wind up perpetually self-disturbing when they inevitably can’t keep what was impermanent in the first place.

 

Often, this is accomplished with money, status, or other pointless endeavors. Therefore, I can truly appreciate that Logic concluded “Dark Place” with a portion of Alan Watts’ speech regarding this matter.

 

Outro: Alan Watts

And people say, “Well you’re just out for money”

I say, “That’s none of your business”

You see, a lot of people don’t feel happy

Unless they have another thing beyond money, which is called status

And status, to a very large extent in our economy, consists in

In having this thing, and that thing, and the other thing, and having a swimming pool

A, uh, Ferrari, uh, certain kind of clothes and uh, certain kind of house

And so on, and so on, and so on

And we think, uh, we need all that

Because we haven’t asked ourselves whether that was what we really wanted

They all think they gotta have this, they gotta have that

And uh, they don’t really want it

If they sat back and considered, “Do I need all that? Is this trip really necessary?”

They would come to the conclusion that it wasn’t, ha-ha-ha-ha-ha

 

Dear reader, no money, status, or other thing will quench an unquenchable thirst. As stated, happiness and pleasure are fleeting elements of life. Failure to not only acknowledge this—though to persistently pursue these things to the contrary of the knowledge posted herein—will lead you to a dark place.

 

You don’t have to self-disturb in such a manner. You can unconditionally accept that, as Logic suggests, it’s “okay to be sad sometimes and tired of shit.”

 

Visiting a dark place every now and then is natural. Personally, I try not to make myself too comfortable in that place. Likewise, I don’t needlessly aspire to frequent a light place. It seems to me that Logic understands this lesson. How about you, dear reader?

 

If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.

 

As the world’s foremost old school hip hop REBT psychotherapist, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.

 

At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!

 

 

Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW

 

 

References:

 

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