We live in a world where there is often no higher currency than acting like you know things. When someone asks you a question in person, or starts talking about something online, there’s an urge to chime in, to talk about how much you know about that thing. And why front — showing knowledge or expertise, either real or paper thin, can lead to opportunities, friends, and a dopamine rush that feels similar to positive self-esteem.
Knowledge is power. And so is seeming knowledgable, about literally everything.
A drawback, however — and I can say this from an overwhelming amount of experience — is that the game is exhausting. Performatively knowing what you’re talking about is ten times harder than actually knowing what you’re talking about.
What I’m slowly learning is that there is beauty in not understanding, in having not seen or heard things, or just admitting to some blindspots.
Often, we try to hide these blindspots because we don’t want to seem “not _______ enough.”
Oh, you didn’t watch or listen to _______, that makes you less ________.
These feelings come from a place of wanting acceptance and, to some degree, social survival. And that doesn’t just go away. But I am trying to learn a new phrase, when put in these situations:
“No, what’s that?”
Where’s the fun in pretending to know every single thing about everything?
This moment happened a few days ago, when a friend sent these texts:
“I discovered my favorite song” / “It made me DANCE IN THE SHOWER at 7:30pm” / “It’s so good I haven’t heard it all the way through yet because I keep running it back.” / “Do you know this song?” / “I’ve literally listened to it six times tonight and just finished it for the first time.” / “It’s like ‘ain’t nobody’ and ‘I’m every woman’ but… better.” / “The drums? The breaks? The high notes? THE KEY CHANGE” / “I ALMOST WENT ON LIVE TO DJ ONE SONG.”
As someone who used to write about music to pay my rent, songs that cause these reactions are songs that I feel like I should know — a moment prime for a “yeah, this song’s awesome” text.
But I’d never even heard of “I Know You, I Live You” by Chaka Khan. So I told him just that: “I’ve never heard.”
It felt nice to tell him that. And then I hit play.
Each thing he texted me was accurate.
This song sounds like outside.
It’s truly majestic.
And then it goes up even more, when you watch her live.
Even though the concept of a weekend feels different than before, put this song on loop and let it transport you. That’s what great music is, after all — an escape. On this Friday, let Chaka take the wheel.