What I Learned at a Rap Concert or Utilizing Support Systems in Times of Change

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On any inauguration day in our country’s history people probably found themselves in one of three categories: happy & hopeful, disappointed & apprehensive, or apathetic & checked-out. Change is difficult, whether you perceive it as positive or negative.

This blog is not to share which category I fall into but to share with you an experience I had on inauguration day 2017. Starting with some background, my husband and I met in the early 90s at NC State when he visited my apartment with a group of friends and noticed my music collection was not limited to the grunge music trend of the time but instead was comprised almost exclusively of rap music. Public Enemy, EPMD, A Tribe Called Quest, Beastie Boys, Snoop, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, etc. He asked if I had heard of this new group called The Wu Tang Clan. I hadn’t. He shared it with me. We’ve been married 20 years this September : )  Fast forward to present day. My husband scored tickets to a sold-out concert in Raleigh. A relatively new rap duo our age that does not do big tours and hardly any shows but they were going to perform a concert 2 miles from our house on January 20th, 2017. There were many reasons not to go: I haven’t been to a concert in 15 years, I am a mom, I go to bed at 10, I am 44 years old, this particular group is outspoken both politically and socially so it might be hostile crowd. But… what a cool date night, right? So I went (and I wasn’t the oldest person there).  What happened was this: everyone had a great time, the group (which had been in DC the day before) chose not to deliver a politically-charged message of hate and opposition but one of hope and encouragement. They said look around you, this is your community. They might not look like you and might not share all of your values and beliefs, but they share some of them because you are all here tonight. Support each other, find common ground, and get through hard times together. We are stronger (and more resilient) collectively than individually.

Change is difficult for almost everyone. Depending on the type of change (large or small) and the person, getting to a place where you can accept change and move forward can take varying amounts of time. If you find yourself in a situation where you are struggling, identify and lean on your support system. It may not be your family and that is ok. It may not include all of your friends. That is ok, too. Find people who make you feel safe and supported. Tell them they are part of your support system. Ask them if you can talk to them when you need to. Tell them you will be there for them when they need you. I am lucky to have a strong support system, friends and family, new and old. They are always welcome to come over and have some coffee or a glass of wine. They recognize our house by the welcome mat.

I realize some people experience change that goes beyond something they can accept or expect their friends and family to be able to help them through. If this is your situation, I hope you will seek help from a professional. Licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs), licensed professional counselors (LPCs) and psychologists (PsyDs, PhDs) are trained mental health professionals who help people experiencing things like stress, anxiety, and fear. Many are covered by health insurance plans. To find a mental health professional near you, contact your insurance provider or check psychology today.

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About Author

Dana Aderhold

Manager, Work Life Programs

Dana Aderhold is the Manager of the Work/Life and EAP Center. She also assists in the management of the Resources for Living Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and can help any employee or dependent better understand and use the EAP. She has both Bachelor and Master of Social Work degrees from NC State University and worked for several years with Wake County mental health programs.

2 Comments

  1. Marcia Walker

    So happy to find another fan of rap music right here at SAS! I have loved rap for decades - one of my favorite albums is of Icelandic rap, which is - um, unique. I have found that expressing myself through rap music (I write the lyrics, but trust me - you don't want to hear me rap!) is a great way for dealing with change - it helps me to think through the essentials of the situation, and express how I'm feeling about it.

    • Dana Aderhold

      Very cool! I can't say I have ever heard Icelandic rap music but would love to check it out. My husband writes music. I am not creative in that way but I can see how it is helpful for stress management - much like writing poetry, journaling or any visual art. Thanks for the comment!

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