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“The world’s a little blurry…or maybe it’s my eyes”

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Billie Eilish’s documentary, “The World’s A Little Blurry,” is one of the first, in-depth looks into Eilish’s life. A mix of making her album, her love life, her home life, and her music and performances, it makes you fall in love with her as a person more and more. The amount of effort she puts into each song and performance while suffering from injuries, mental health issues, and tourette’s syndrome is impeccable. 

But with her success comes a struggle with mental health. According to Eilish, every time she writes a song or performs, she doubts herself, wondering if she performed with all she has. In fact, whenever she performs, she has to make sure it’s at 100%, otherwise she thinks she disappointed the crowd. 

Her perfectionist nature is grounded in fear. In the documentary, she says:

“I’m afraid I’ll wake up and won’t have any of this anymore.”

Eilish uses her music to express these anxieties in hopes of relating to others. She wants to share these feelings so people do not feel so alone. Her song “listen before i go” features the dark concept of suicide attempts, but she uses the song to speak those thoughts into existence rather than actually taking her life. Even with pushback from her mom and her best friend, she decided that people need to hear it. The fans need to realize it is okay to talk about what’s difficult. 

However, there is more to her mental pain, including the idea of not being missed. In the documentary, she discussed wanting people to feel something when they are within and outside of her music’s presence. Eilish explains how these dark thoughts come on strong, and how all she wants is for someone to understand the pain. But, even then, she didn’t think she’d make it to this age considering her struggles with self-harm. 

Eilish believed for the longest time that the more popular she got, the more hate she would receive. She stayed relevant and “woke” on the internet to try to block criticism. Eilish’s strife continues into the realm of physical pain. She fears injury and brought up the example of when she had to quit dancing due to an enduring hip problem. Regardless, she performs through the pain of shin splints, broken ankles, and sprains so that the crowd gets what they paid for. 

She can never truly be happy because people are never fully happy with her. According to Eilish, any time she has a bad moment, people are quick to judge. 

Another struggle Eilish elaborates on in the film is her Tourette syndrome. Tourette syndrome is “a neurological disorder characterized by repetitive, stereotyped, involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics.” She has had to learn how to control her tics publicly so people won’t notice. But it still affects her immensely behind closed doors. For her, Tourette syndrome will act up with nerves. So, with each stressful writing session and concert, she struggles with tics and urges that she cannot control.

However, she tries to not let these things affect her when in public. Instead, she focuses on the fans. At one of her concerts, she yelled:

“Hey! You guys need to be fucking ok cause y’all are the reason I’m ok.”

The most shocking topic was the introduction of her now ex-boyfriend, 7:AMP. She dated him at around 15-16 years old, but quickly identified several red flags. He was never there when she needed him, he was self destructive, and they didn’t want the same things anymore. So, they broke up, which took a toll on her mental health. With the support of her family, Eilish made it through. 

There were also more mundane landmarks in Eilish’s life that we never saw, things like studying for her permit and license tests. Eilish even graduated at 15 years old in order to keep performing. Her best friend, Chelsea, comes to pretty much every concert. 

And along with each intimate family moment comes celebrations of her success. 

Perhaps the biggest accomplishment for her was hearing herself on the radio for the first time. She was 13 years old when she heard “ocean eyes” on KCRW and, like always, her mom, dad, and brother were there to celebrate. Nonetheless, I would say her biggest award moment was at the 62nd Grammy Awards. Eilish was not only nominated for 6 awards, but won 5 of those 6 nominations: Best New Artist, Best Album: “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?”, Best Song: “bad guy”, Best Record: “bad guy”, Best Pop Vocal Album: “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?”

Fans know, but perhaps not in detail, how much Eilish’s family means to her. They are a part of who she is and what her music has become. On the surface, many knew she wrote songs with her brother, Finneas, in their childhood bedroom. But what they never saw was how much his support in writing and producing songs meant. They also never saw the processes behind each song and how her parents helped as well. 

Her family originally introduced her to music and has further influenced her music career. They introduced her to different instruments as a child; her mom introduced her to song writing while her dad taught her piano and ukulele. Plus the harmonies she learned with her brother. He helped her explore that musical part of her. It also helps when you have millions of ideas written down in a journal like Billie does. She writes down her song ideas and draws images of how she imagines each song to feel like. 

For example, “bury a friend” was inspired by bad dreams and “xanny” is about the relationships one may have with people suffering addiction. They all evoke a deeper meaning. Coolest of all is the fact that she directs her own music videos so that they perfectly emulate her imaginings. 

I could not stop watching as they went through the process of her award-winning album, “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” It was a long process of album cover photos (that were also used for billboards and promotions) and songs needing to be perfect. Once that album was done, she was shipped right off to tour where she was able to promote her new album. The album alone was #1 in 37 countries, after its drop. She explained it to Jimmy Fallon:

“And with the album, specifically, there was one thing I tried to do which was that… there were like 14 songs on the album and one of the goals I had was I wanted to make an album where I could put 14 people into a room that each had fully different, fully different tastes… and then if I played them my album each person would like at least one song.”

Overall, one of the best parts of the documentary was the insight into her performances and the complimentary use of her music as the soundtrack to the film. The documentary itself begins and ends with “ocean eyes,” which I think adds to the magic as it was her first ever song and brings everything full circle around that moment.  Billie Eilish is much more than what you see through the media’s lens. She is a family person, she is someone who struggles with mental illness and Tourette’s, and she is someone who will do anything for her fans. “Ocean eyes” was just her beginning but she is still improving herself and wants the crowd to follow along for the ride.

Watch the documentary on Apple TV+. And, if you are not able to watch, listen to my essential Billie Eilish songs on this playlist I created.

Featured Image courtesy of Nathan DeFiesta via Unsplash

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“The world’s a little blurry…or maybe it’s my eyes”