Can We Get Much Higher? – Kanye, College, and Peaking

I was sitting at my desk last night when a sudden fear had encapsulated my headspace: Peaking.

You know that fear, right? I have lived eighteen years on this planet and I am suddenly scared of the idea that those eighteen years may be the best ones I had. Or maybe I am scared that the next four will be the best ones, and then I’ll have sixty or more years of my life to feel bad in because it just “won’t be like the good old days.”

This fear is always in the back of my head, but now it’s up front and center. With life seemingly moving at a million miles-per-hour, I realized I was going too fast, and I needed to slow down. What better way to do that than with Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy?

The album is a masterpiece. I’ve listened to this album, re-listened to it, cried to it, danced to it, sang to it. It’s perfect, and you know what? That fear I had is shared with West and the other celebrities on the track. They, more specifically Kanye, is afraid of failure.

It’s 2009. Kanye has just taken the stage in a drunken stooper, and he takes the microphone from Taylor Swift. He announces to everyone, much to the derision and anger of the audience, that Beyonce had the best Music Video of all time. When he received backlash, he apologized and then he took a retreat to Hawaii, and for the next year, he worked.

Doesn’t that sound awesome? To go away for a full year, and retreat into your work, and come back with something so amazing that it is talked about even today. From Dark Fantasy, Runaway, POWER, and All of the Lights, Kanye describes fears of failure, of peaking, and of being a terrible person.

Dark Fantasy begins with a poem, sang by Nicki Minaj, that riffs on an old Roald Dahl poem:

You might think you’ve peeped the scene
You haven’t, the real one’s far too mean
The watered-down one, the one you know
Was made up centuries ago
They made it sound all wack and corny
Yes, it’s awful blasted boring
Twisted fictions, sick addiction
Well, gather ’round, children, zip it, listen

The song then poses the question “Can we get much higher?” And here I am, seemingly at a point in my life where I’m asking that. Not because I am at my top, no, quite far from that. In the past month, there has been countless flops on my part. From departures of projects, not getting into things I wanted into, to becoming distant and hard to approach from everyone surrounding me. When I listened to this question, something I have sang to hundreds of times, I was struck with a feeling of emotion that I had longed for: zest for life.

It does not matter what the bad is. That is not what you need to be looking at. It’s the good. You look at the good. You CAN get much higher. You can have the fantasies and dreams and you can strive for them. And you can do it!

College is PRIME for peaking. You cannot let that happen. You cannot judge yourself on the successes you have here. There is always more. This is just yet another chapter.

Was I scared of peaking? Yes. Do I get scared of it now? Yes. But these are the things, the truths you must remind yourself of. You can refresh the page, restart the memory. And as you continue to strive, baby you’ll live a hell of a life.

I get scared, yes, but I know for a fact that it’s temporary, and it is time to begin. It’s time to lift up.

We have the power to let power flow. And if I could use my words as my power, if I could mountains, then you know well that I’ll do it. There will be book reviews coming. There will be reflections and more coming to this. Peyton Writes will grow and not just will this site get much higher, but we all will. More stories, more reviews, more reflections, more.

You don’t need to peak. In whatever you’re in, know that you’ll get much higher later. This is our one, wild and passionate life that we have, and we cannot let the bad get to us.

Stick with these words, and this will only pick up from here.

-Peyton French

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