“Ticks and Leeches” by Tool
Artists write songs with a particular meaning in mind, but songs can convey different things to different people. I found two different suggested meanings for Tool’s “Ticks & Leeches”. One said it was a f*ck you of sorts to a music exec who wanted an edgy song added to their album. Another said it was their response to people trying to make money off the band and their fame.
To me, the song is a freedom anthem of sorts. Particularly, the following lyrics:
“Hope this is what you wanted
Hope this is what you had in mind
‘Cause this is what you’re getting“
These lyrics remind me of the constant pressure to be perfect, and the image we try to constantly keep up with to not let other people down. We pretend to be things we are not, or are constantly running to the point of exhaustion to keep up with appearances and unrealistic expectations. Perhaps someone wanted us to be less “selfish” and to put their needs before our own. Maybe our parents wanted us to follow the career path they wanted and are upset with us for following our own path. Maybe you are “letting” someone down because you decided you didn’t want to have children, or follow their religious or political beliefs. Maybe it made someone upset you died your hair blue or had consensual sex with the unattached, hot guy who works at Starbucks.
The most important person we need to focus on is ourselves. When we are happy we are better able to contribute to society and help others be their best. We are happiest when we can be ourselves. In a world where we are heavily influenced, and people feel it OK to freely spout their opinions about how others should live their life, it can be tough to be yourself.
The truth is, you are not letting anyone down. You cannot control other peoples emotions and no one should be negatively effected by how you choose to live your life (unless you are doing something wrong like imposing on their freedom). It’s tough, but we need to find the courage and confidence to be ourselves. It is time we learn to be ourselves and proudly show who we are without fear of rejection. We need to let people know this is us, this is what they are getting.
In the end, the message does not need to be as aggressive as it is in the song. If someone is upset with the path you chose, you can remind them that you are happy and you hope they will accept you as who you truly are, because while you value them and your relationship, you only have one life and it’s worth living. You deserve to be happy. You deserve to be yourself. You deserve to be who you are and live your life the way you wish. We need you. We need diversity and we need a world where people are accepted for the being they are, not for who they chose to f*ck (consensual of course), their skin color, their occupation, religious or political beliefs.
People have the right to not accept us or to not want us in their life due to how we choose to live. I hope that we will soon get to a place where everyone lives freely and to their true selves. A place where people no longer feel such a strong reaction or the need to judge and control how other people live their only life.