I love it when lyrics to a song I love help me discover more about myself. Do you ever feel Fake Happy?
For those of you who don’t know the incredible band Paramore has a song titled FAKE HAPPY. (If you haven’t listened to it I highly suggest doing so.) The song, the video, really helped me cope with feeling really sad from time to time. I finally asked myself if sometimes, was I faking happiness for the sake of appearance?
When I first heard the song I knew it connected with me on an emotional level. You see I am considered the funny guy. The life of the party. To people that know me, even my family, I am considered a “happy” person.
What about you? Do you feel you are the person to brighten everyone’s day around you but are afraid for people to know maybe you are in the emotional dumps at the moment?
Are these masks we wear so people will like being around us? I think we are afraid that if we can’t offer entertainment or laughter to the people around us that they would want nothing to do with us. That’s our thing. Right? I mean, what if I told my best friend today that earlier when we were joking around and laughing on the phone, that 5 minutes before that I was an absolute mess, that I was feeling down and sad, how do you think he would respond?
Why am I so afraid of people knowing that a lot of times, I’m not happy?
A lot of times I am indifferent. Not necessarily happy but not necessarily unhappy either. When I listen to Hayley Williams, lead singer of Paramore for those who don’t know, who I admire not only as a musician but more importantly as a person, I feel like we are having a conversation with the lyrics of this song. After listening to it numerous times and watching the video over and over I am enamored by the simple fact that:
This song is Fake Happy.
It has an infectious beat, an upbeat tone, but while listening to the lyrics it gives you this sense of sadness knowing she feels the need to hide her sadness to the world. Then it dawns on you that you may do the same things. Use the same devices, the same tricks, the same coping mechanisms to keep up that appearance of a “happy” person.
Aren’t you happy in those exciting and fun moments?
Yeah me too. But what about those other times? The times where you are just sitting in your house looking up at the ceiling wondering why you feel empty. What about the times where you are overwhelmed by the constant overthinking in your mind? What about the times when for some unexplainable reason you are just sad?
What triggers these moments? Anything? Everything?
I don’t know the answer. But, for me it can be a multitude of things. While writing this I have already teared up twice. Maybe it’s because these are things I have never told anyone, not even my family. Maybe it is because I feel empowered when I listen to someone I admire admit that they too go through random bouts of feeling down, feeling empty, feeling lost.
“You know it’s easy when I’m stomping on a beat. But no one sees me when I crawl back underneath.”
Out of all the lyrics of this song, THAT ONE, stuck with me more than any of them. Like Hayley, I consider myself a very creative person. When I am out with friends and we are laughing and having a good time, I am considered a happy person. I love making people laugh so in those moments it’s easy to be happy. It’s easy to be seen being happy. When I am doing creative things I am usually happy and so it’s easy to see that side of me and think I am always like that. Luckily I am just a guy typing on a computer who has a relatively small circle of people that know him. I am not constantly in the public eye being the front woman of an extremely popular band. A band that I have listened to since High School.
See, I have loved Paramore ever since Misery Business. When I first heard that song I fell in love with the band. I love music. I can’t play it or go into the technical side of explaining why a song is good but I know how it makes me feel and that is how I base my music tastes. Paramore made me feel something with every track. Different emotions throughout the song. Different feelings and different vibes. Usually feeling a multitude of emotions in every track. Then when you listen to a song a bunch the lyrics start to make more sense, start to reveal themselves, start to dig deeper. To me, that is great songwriting and great music.
I have been listening to their music regularly since 2006/2007. I was a senior in high school then. They have been my favorite band ever since and I feel like I have grown up with the band. Changed with the band. Discovered myself with the band. Mainly, Hayley Williams since she has been the constant force behind the band since it’s inception. She is an inspiration of mine. And now, with her revealing her self more than ever before with the AFTER LAUGHTER album, an even bigger inspiration to me.
When I am doing something I love whether it be writing, making short films, talking with friends and family, or going to events I am happy. That is clear.
But the other times, these random times, not so much. Sometimes I am just sad. Maybe I overthink, stress, get overwhelmed and then become sad. This is the cycle. That lead me again to wonder what the reason is.
This led me to discover that there are different types of fake happy. At least for me. In the moment I feel happy and feel alive but when those moments pass and I am back to my normal routine I am indifferent again. Others, I am sure, feel this emptiness and sadness even in these moments of happiness. The beautiful thing about the song and knowing this about yourself is that you realize you aren’t the only one who might be dealing with these feelings.
This has been liberating and has sparked a discussion inside of myself.
Instead of avoiding being sad or feeling like I need to be happy just to be happy because that is what I am known for, I have embraced it. I have learned to be myself and love myself more. Just like Hayley does in the video. It starts with her looking at us, basically telling us, this is me
I am 29 years old and I figure out more about myself every day. I have been in so many of these situations that Hayley sums up so perfectly in the line: “Don’t ask me how I’ve been, don’t make me play pretend.” I feel this. The older I get the more in tuned I am with myself and the less I care about being open about just the different things we all deal with and when I first listened and watched the music video to Fake Happy, I learned more about myself then as well. I learned, just like Hayley said “I bet everybody here is fake happy, too.” Maybe not all the time, maybe just for a moment, but I think we can all relate to this on some level.
I have finally learned to cope with those feelings. Embrace them instead of run from them. Talk about them instead of covering them up. So I am here to say that, yeah, I am Fake Happy, too.
Isn’t it beautiful how music can do that? Makes you feel one thing but has you thinking another? When I listen to that song when I am sad, the song makes me happy. Or at least helps me cope with it. It’s okay to feel both emotions at once.
It is the perfect song to dance and cry to. It’s a song you can dance to with a big smile on your face, or sit in your room with the earphones in looking up at the ceiling with your eyes closed and just give a hint of a smirk. It’s this type of track that makes me continue to love Paramore to this day.
So with the end of the After Laughter era I wanted to express what the album has meant to me. I look forward to continue growing up with Paramore. To continue learning more about myself, others, and the world through music.
And from the creative side of things:
I hope one day I can create art that taps into all of these different emotions and creates a sense of community and acceptance. Hayley uses her voice but we all have a voice, we can all in some capacity try and create something that is deeply personal and also extremely universal and moving. I hope one day we can all look around at everyone and just nod knowing that from time to time we are all fake happy.
After reading this, I will ask you again: ARE YOU FAKE HAPPY, too?
Thank you for reading this blog. I have never written something this personal before but I gained the courage by people like Hayley Williams and think it is really important for us to talk to one another and share how we are feeling through art or just by talking. I love being able to fuse together my love for music & pop culture with different things we deal with not only as creatives but as people. So if you would like to see more blogs like this in the future, then consider following. Feel free to share it, like it, or comment.
Would truly love to hear your comments, whether you are a fan of the song and band or not, would love to hear your thoughts and get your perspective.
JUSTIN BURDEN – Multi-Creative Storyteller.