Hooked with the “Same Drugs”


Nope, nothing illegal. I’ve just been hooked with Chance the Rapper’s song “Same Drugs” since October of last year. I thought I’ll get over it after a month or two, as what usually happens with my favorite songs after I claim that them to be the “BEST SONG EVER”. Obviously, I am not over this song. Same Drugs has oddly become my go-to song for rainy days and gloomy times. I listen to it at so many random moments ranging from when I’m folding and organizing clothes, to when I’m working on an intense task in the office.

While most people (including Chance) listen to Same Drugs and think of love lost, the song instead make me feel nostalgic. It feels like a conversation that I’m having with myself about the better times of the past, when I still had child-like wonder and vigor. As the repeating line in the chorus and the first line of the song says, “We don’t do the same drugs no more.” While I have never taken drugs (other than those prescribed) in my entire life, this paints such a clear picture to me. I sometimes look in the mirror and do not recognize who I am becoming anymore. I’ve grown up—too much to my liking, in fact. I no longer have the interests of my youth, and my experiences from just 3-5 years back feel like they happened a century ago. Growing up includes growing apart from who you’ve been–and that fact is just a mix of awesome, scary, and depressing.

The first verse of Same Drugs got me smiling, especially when I first heard the Peter Pan references.

When did you change?
Wendy, you’ve aged
I thought you’d never grow up
I thought you’d never
Window closed, Wendy got old
I was too late, I was too late
A shadow of what I once was

Does it get any more real that this? I can’t really pinpoint a specific moment in time when I “became” an adult. Even up to now, there are times that I don’t believe that I am one. I never saw myself being 26, working and unhappy. When I was younger, I’ve always assumed that life was going to be all fun and games. Too bad that it isn’t. Growing up means closing the window, and abandoning the trips to Neverland. It’s time to go home and be responsible.

Peter Pan and Wendy

(Photo not mine; found online)

The second verse is even more heart-breaking:

Where did you go?
Why would you stay?
You must have lost your marbles
You always were so forgetful
In a hurry, don’t wait up
I was too late, I was too late
A shadow of what I once was

Those two starting lines are lines that I’ve asked myself so many times–especially regarding my career and general direction in life. My growing up journey has been full of craziness (losing my marbles), hurry, and forgetting the ideals of my childhood. Before I knew it, I already made decisions for myself. It was too late for any regrets, or for starting over.

I particularly am in love with the next two lines of the song:

‘Cause we don’t, we don’t do what we say we’re gonna
You were always perfect, and I was only practice

There have been so many times that I’ve said that I was going to do something (quit a job, pursue a passion, follow my heart, travel the world, fall in love, etc) and I’d recant on my statement because of uncertainty. As I said earlier, when I was younger, I had an image in my mind that the adult/grown-up version of me will have things all figured out. Everything was going to be perfect. Fast forward to reality, my grown-up life is nowhere near perfect. It has always been like practice–trying something out, failing, picking myself back up, and trying again. It eventually got too scary to be bruised again, that practice eventually just meant staying in safety (like playing a game and saying that it’s not counted because “practice lang”) to give myself a cushion in case I fall flat on my face.

The next three lines just directly ask the tough questions:

Don’t you miss the days, stranger?
Don’t you miss the days?
Don’t you miss the danger?

I miss being more child-like and being more risky. I miss having the courage to try out something new. Nowadays, it’s become more about security and comfort–sticking with the familiar. Definitely no flying.

The first part of the outro is such a technical beauty with its phrasing and wordplay:

Don’t forget the happy thoughts
All you need is happy thoughts
The past tense, past bed time
Way back then when everything we read was real
And everything we said rhymed

Similar to Peter Pan, who says that all you need is happy thoughts to fly, I try to convince myself sometimes that I just need to think of all my youthful ideals and dreams to somewhat encourage me to be more bold and daring. And indeed I do think of them. I look at old files and old photos, from those times when life was filled with more wonder and fantasy–so simple, yet so easy–as if everything in the world is ours for the taking.

The second part of the outro brings me back to reality though:

Wide eyed kids being kids
Why did you stop?
What did you do to your hair?
Where did you go to end up right back here?
When did you start to forget how to fly?

To me, this is the best part of the song. I get teary-eyed whenever I hear these lines as I feel some form of longing for the younger version of me who was “wide-eyed” and knew how to “fly”. We go through so many changes as we grow up that everything just seems to lose its magic. There are just so many questions that I ask myself–why, what, where, when. And more often than not, there are just no straight-up answers.

The song ends with these lines:

Don’t you color out
Don’t you bleed on out, oh
Stay in the line, stay in the line
Dandelion

True enough, the older we get, the more society dictates us to stay within the boundaries and never color outside the lines. I say some form of this to myself every night before going to sleep to remind myself that I need to be mature and suck it all up–just do what needs to be done.

It’s a sad thought, but yeah. I don’t do the “same drugs” anymore. I seem to have used up all of my pixie dust.

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