“I didn’t know you were a Mayer fan.”
“You like John Mayer? Why?”
It’s been asked before. Recently, it’s been asked more frequently since I’ve been posting more on Facebook about music. The questions come from all around. White people can’t believe I rock out to the Mayer regularly and Black people don’t understand why. I have so many blog posts (at least ten) on tumblr about why I am a tattooed John Mayer SUPERFAN. I’m not really big on sharing personal stuff with strangers, but maybe it’s time for my readers to know about something that is very important to me.
I’ve always been that girl who didn’t quite fit in with one group or another, but I desperately tried to. I struggled with my identity for a long time because I didn’t make friends as easily as my sisters and thought it was because I didn’t try hard enough.
I became a John Mayer fan by accident. It was during my freshmen year at Georgia State, when I was struggling to be “black enough.” I was struggling with my own identity. I was simply tired of spending my teenage years defending myself…tired of the being the light-skinned girl who loved MTV instead of BET…who’d rather read a book instead of partying with “my people.” I was tired of pretending to be someone I wasn’t. I was living a lie and I was only 19.
Back then, the Georgia State Village was made up of 4 or 6 bedroom “apartments” that housed students. It was really awesome. I used to “hide” from my college roommates. I would go in my room, lock the door, and stay for hours. We barely spoke unless it was about the dorm.
My roommates had pressured me into hanging out with them “just one night” so I joined my 3 roommates on a spur of the moment trip to Eddie’s Attic in June 1999 to see “a cute guy play music.” This was the first time I saw John Mayer. I was overwhelmed and falling hard for his lyrics.
From that day on, I would listen to his music all of the time. All I could think was here was this guy, almost the same age as me, and he’s speaking of every insecurity and every emotion that I was feeling. I couldn’t stop listening. I went to every single show in Atlanta, whether it was bar, coffee shop, bookstore…didn’t matter, I was there listening to this boy play and talk. It was my therapy.
Everyone thought I was going through a phase because I was hanging with my Caucasian roommates and falling in love with the music of a white boy with a guitar. And no one needs that type of drama in their lives. So, I use to sneak and listen to JM on my Discman & tell people I was listening to hip-hop. It was really sad.
I couldn’t be myself and I bottled that in because the people around me just didn’t get me. And I didn’t have the wherewithal or the desire to try and explain myself.
But as I bopped along the Georgia State campus, on the MARTA buses and trains, and in the privacy of my dorm room, it was John Mayer’s music, his words, and his shows that allowed me to feel completely like myself, to be free and enjoy the girl that I was.
We all have those significant moments in life that we mark with a song, a movie, or even a book. My significant moments can always be linked back to a John Mayer song. I call them Mayer Moments. I have plenty.
In 2002, I was listening to Heavier Things while I was trying to escape an abusive boyfriend. A few years later, I was listening to “Wheel” when I decided that suicide wasn’t an option because “someday my life’s gonna see the love I give returned to me.”
I was listening to Gravity and his speech “Follow the Sound of Your Calling” made me truly believe in myself and my career as an author.
His music allowed me to stop lying to myself and the people around me over who I am. I learned to say “F&%k it, this is me. Deal with it.”
His words, his lyrics, and the sound of his guitar have gotten me through some of the most difficult moments in my life. I knew that when my family thought I was weird or my friends weren’t really my friends that I could always count on him to make me laugh, to tell me that “everything’s going to be alright”.
I’m not obsessed. I’m in love with the music. For 15 years, his lyrics have felt like he snuck into my room and read my journal. His music has become the words that I’ve never been able to say out loud. For that alone, I am eternally grateful. When I look back on the last 15 years of my life, my best and worst “chapter lines” are inspired by the “teachings and preachings of John Clayton Mayer.” I only have one hero. That is my mother. But John Mayer…he has – in so many words – saved my life, literally and figuratively.
I love his music and the way it makes me feel. I love his charm and humor and the weird intellectualness that is John Mayer. I have a high level of appreciation, admiration, and respect for the man who writes songs based on the words in my journal. I appreciate the man for being able to say the words that I cannot say. With so much garbage music that is out that doesn’t SAY anything, that doesn’t have a point…with so many artists people with record deals losing the element of good songwriting, good singing, and making music that is a work of art instead of just noise, I’m glad that I have been a fan of JM for such a long time. My taste in music has been diversified and evolved because of him. If you look through my iPod –the other black one, not the Mayer-pod – you will see such an eclectic range of music…good music from Charlie Haden and Pat Metheny to Gary Clark Jr. From Keith Urban to Frank Sinatra. His music recommendations never let me down.
Say what you want to say about me. Call me what you want…you don’t ever have to understand or respect my love for John Clayton Mayer. This man’s words and music have literally saved my life and turned my life around. I’ll always be appreciative of that.