Underrated Songs for Underrated People

By Elle Naef on November 23, 2021

Time Off?

Winter is coming, and for me that means a confusing mixture of joy and dread.

It’s exciting to have an excuse to stay in, relax and crack open that book I’ve been eyeballing. But let’s keep it real – I’m the type of city girl who can only have so much “cozy time” before I hit a crossroads. As soon as my coffee is finished I’m ready to either venture into the streets again or hole up and expect a sour mood.

Kayla Marque

Image: Kayla Marque by Katie Langley Photography

I’m also the kind of city girl without a car. A girl without a car who came running back from Chicago after the first flakes of snow.

Needless to say, my lifestyle preferences don’t leave me many options once the cold weather hits. Which could explain why, when we were told we had over a week off for the holidays, I panicked a little.

I love my job as a producer at PBS12. I also love producing Head Room Sessions, a job I’ve tagged a hobby despite its eerily job-like qualities. 

Loving my career is incredibly life-affirming – but it comes with some things to pay attention to. One of those being how much self worth I place in my day to day accomplishments. 

For someone who’s mission-driven like I am, over a week of free time is a little scary. 

Rest is Rebellion

I asked myself what would be so bad about time off – I mean, there are many moments where I long for it. Every day of freelancing I spent envying those with PTO and holidays off. On weekends I pray for just one day without plans where I can hide away pacing my apartment and indulge my ADHD. Why was this different?

In digging deeper, I found the source of fear – the fear that I would lose some of the the self confidence I’ve gained the past year. 

This made me sad. I hadn’t fully realized that despite being the most confident I’ve ever been in life, I still have a fear that without a mission I would become someone I didn’t like. It felt ridiculous at first – I’m happy. Truly. If young me knew the life I led now she would jump for joy. 

In her usual timely manner, my mom shared an observation – “You’ve lived a lot of lives. When have you ever been bored?” I fell silent.

It’s true. My life has been a whirlwind and free time was never really free. But in this moment, I have time for quiet. To think, to create, and well, to be bored – no matter how much the word made me cringe. 

The conversation with my mom reminded of a podcast interview I did recently for Yes Girl! Live. The host, Christina Garcia, was such a fantastic interviewer that I learned about myself while answering her questions. I probably owe her a therapy fee.

One moment in particular lingered with me – my stance on self care. 

While I touched on my beliefs that in our society we’re oftentimes trained to be productive workers more than caring humans, even stating that “rest is rebellion,” there was a moment of disconnect to follow. I mentioned that self care felt like another job to me. “Ugh, another bath.” 

What a bummer that was, that even when I loved myself the most I found self indulgence to be a hassle. If anything should be a celebration, it’s self care! How could I have such a clear vision of why self care and rest are important, and still be so resistant?

Redefining Self Care

In digging deeper, I think a part of my resistance to it was the buzzphrase “self care” has become. It so often refers to pricy, time-consuming things that I often feel excluded from, therefore resentful of. It’s clear I need to spend more time redefining it. Now, it’s being given to me. 

The mission to redefine self care isn’t new to me by any means.It’s clear that I still place much of my value in my productivity.

I know it’s “wrong,” but I struggle to find alternatives. I’m often trying out new hobbies or outings to switch things up a bit, although not many seem to stick.

It’s something that I’m realizing will be a forever journey. Forever may seem daunting now, but I hope to make it into something I look forward to. 

My Gift to You: A Local Music Playlist

I’m starting by focusing on the simple things. Two things that have stuck with me in my journey of self-care reinvention are music and making friends.

So here I am, creating playlists for the strangers in the ethers like you. People who I may or may not have met before. People who, whoever they are, deserve love, care and great music. 

There’s something about caring for others that makes you realize how much you have left over for yourself. 

So cheers to you. Cheers to us.

My gift to you is a playlist full of blessed beats – underrated songs dedicated to you, my underrated friend. Songs I hope will hold you, dance with you and help make free time fun again. Let them keep you warm on your winter walks, and entertained on cozy days spent inside.

Don’t forget to follow, as every playlist is subject to change and fun updates!

Know of some songs I’ve overlooked? Shoot me an email: enaef@pbs12.org.