Instructions on Being

The song Instructions on Being by Tank and the Bangas should probably be all our mottos for living. Listen. Read the lyrics.

by Tank and the Bangas

Don't ask me about God.
Don't ask me when am I graduating.
To repeat what I said when I'm singing.
Don't ask me about my religion,
or why I don't faithfully go to church anymore.
I don't like questions with answers that make me feel stupid.

These are the things I think about in the shower,
when my empathy is running a race with the water.
I think about things like, I need to exercise more. Is my hair growing? Is my ability showing, is God a man or a woman?
I don't look at myself too long.
I'm afraid that I won't like how
honesty and accountability look up too close.

I tend to shove things in the biggest of closets,
and pretend that I bought a home without any doors.
I'm not the easiest person to walk through.
I'm selfish.
But I'm honest with myself, when I feel like hearing
what truth sounds like with a jammer and a hammer and a jigsaw, truth.

I am just as insecure as I am confident.
I barely believe in my own brilliance or my beauty.
I need current confirmation in my friends,
and I look for it in their faces.
Are you pretty today? My god, are you lovely.
I'm a star who doesn't pay her light bill.
I wish that my mother told me that I was incredible at 10,
maybe I would believe it at 23.

I convince myself every day, every day
that I'm right where I'm supposed to be.
No matter how many credits short I am of graduating.
Do not stare at certain parts of my face.
I'm not sure how comfortable I am with such open flaws.
I've become pretty good
at covering up what isn't beautiful about myself.
Excuse my sarcasm, it's the ugly trying to come out in me,
ignore her, ignore her please.
I'm trying to figure out how to apologize to the person I am,
to forgive the mistakes that I've made, on replay.
Forgive yourself before you ever look for an apology.
I want to write everything that you're afraid to hear,
everything that you keep in that closet in your back.
I wanna break my pride's ankle with a sledge hammer,
anytime she gets too tall.
I wanna do open heart surgery on the boy who couldn't tell you,
I love you, Tank.
This is your reminder list.

One, fuck him, I love you.
Two, you are everything your mama forgot to tell you.
Three, forgive your dad, he has Alzheimer's.
Four, shut up, your little brother looks up to you.
Five, you should try fingerpainting somtime.
Six, stop looking for your reflection to wave back at you.
You are the same person.
Seven, stop looking for the congratulations in your mom's eyes.
She is proud of you.
Eight, record your heartbeat, and play it in reverse.
It sounds the same. You are still here.
Nine, your niece is holding fire for you in her hand,
just for your attention, she will burn herself with everything that you forgot to saturate with love. Call your sister.
Shut up. Admit to your friends why you are always crying.

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