Okay, so anyone who really knows me knows I love Bob Dylan. I mean…my son’s name is Dylan so that should be the first clue… lol.
So no big surprise that I have been back in a big Dylan phase lately; listening to his songs, watching old interviews of him, etc.
Now, I don’t know if it’s because I’m older and paying more attention, or maybe I just forget how much pressure and other people’s expectations were put on him, but the extent at which he was held to other people’s perceptions is just crazy to me.
I knew he was always called “the voice of his generation” and that people looked up to him, but watching the interviews with him made me realize that people and the press were always trying too label and define him and keep him confined in that box.
They had an image of him and if he ever contradicted that image he was criticized. They scrutinized and analyzed every aspect of his music, lyrics and life. They looked for meaning in everything he did.
He was just this young kid with amazing talent doing what he felt he was meant to do. No higher agenda. No big plan. No clear direction…just being himself.
It’s really crazy some of these questions the press would ask him.
They asked him why he wore a certain shirt on a certain album cover…what was the meaning and symbolism? He said he just liked that picture… that there was really no more thought than that.
He mentioned another thought and a reporter jumped and asked if that was his “life philosophy “. He said, “no.. it’s nothing.” Like they were looking to define him so much that he couldn’t hardly say anything without people trying to make something more of it.
Watching these interviews I almost got angry…like I kept thinking, ” geez, people, is he not allowed to just be himself and explore all his creativity? Just let him be”. It was like everything he did was being held to this ‘higher calling’ and every action was being examined and scrutinized. Like can’t the guy just live?
When he was acting in a movie in 1986 one reporter stood up at a press conference and actually asked him, “why aren’t you doing what you are good at…writing and singing songs?” Like that just flabbergasted me. Like are you kidding me? He’s not allowed to ever do anything different if it’s not what YOU perceive him to be?
Throughout all of this, Dylan has said that those labels were not him. He still did his own thing and continued on his own path whether people liked that path or not.
So my whole point with this is be like Bob. Don’t let other people’s perceptions or expectations of you define your talents or who you are.
Be you. Be true to your soul and who YOU feel you are. Don’t live your life trying to live up to other people’s ideas of you.
Don’t let other people label you and confine you to that box. Break out. Be free. Explore your path and don’t worry about the thoughts of other people.
If Bob Dylan can be true to himself with the expectations of an entire generation projected on him, then so can you. #justsaying
Want to see some Dylan for yourself, check out this awesome interview from 1965.