Strength In Numbers & In Hope

People across the country and the world came together today to protest the inauguration and to show resilience in this insane time, and boy, did we ever show up.

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Yesterday a monster of a man was sworn into the highest office in the country.  He said that the people were finally taking back the White House, that the people will not be taken advantage of by big government any longer.  He said under oath that he is the representative of the people and will protect the Constitution.

We disagreed with his statements, and we said so.  Thousands and thousands of people marched in every single state, and in many other countries (across all seven continents) in protest of what this administration will do to our rights, freedoms, climate, public land, protections, and more; he and his administration are planning to eviscerate many things that are explicitly outlined in the very Constitution he vowed to uphold.  

Close to half a million people in D.C.  150,000 (at least) in Chicago.  Thousands and thousands in New York, L.A., Philadelphia.  Nearly 15,000 in Nashville.  Just the D.C. march alone had double the number of people that the inauguration did (which, by the way, was a fraction of what both Obama inaugurations' turnouts were).

Yesterday's events made the world look so bleak.  But now, as my legs and feet are sore, and my voice is blown and my throat is raw from leading chants in our section of the march, I feel so full of hope that we will get through this.  We will be opposed every single step of the way, and we may not win every battle.  But this is a war where we can absolutely triumph, I'm so sure of that.  We have begun a movement to make our voices heard, and that movement will not be easily silenced.

I'm certain there are many thousands of people who looked on what we did today and accused us of whining and complaining, called us "libtards" or rubbed it in our faces that Hillary Clinton didn't win the Presidency.  I'm sure there were plenty of counter-protesters at marches across the country telling people fighting for their rights that they were going to hell for being who they are, be they female, LGBTQIA+, black, white, Muslim, what have you.  That's a bothersome thing that hurts, but right now those voices are so small compared to ours.

We trounced the attendance of the Presidential inauguration with people who showed up wanting what's right and just. We ignited the biggest inauguration protest in U.S. history.  Our voices will be heard, and I'm so confident in our strength right now.  I cannot wait to get more involved in the resistance and meet some of the incredible women leading the charge.

This is only the beginning.

Get involved!

An American Nightmare

November 8th, 2016.  A day I will never forget.

It's the day that Hillary Clinton lost the presidency to the host of The Apprentice.  It causes me revulsion to even think of his name, let alone write it.

Pretty apt.

Pretty apt.

The President-elect is a notorious xenophobe, misogynist, racist, sexual predator, impulsive child, bully, and pathological liar who played the very system he was running against in order to win.  He used an archaic system, the Electoral College, one that he himself denounced in 2012 on the eve of Barack Obama's election to a second term, to his advantage and swiped the win from the rightful next Commander-In-Chief; someone we would call Madame President for the first time in history.  A man with absolutely no political experience, and who is notorious for avoiding the law because he's rich.  This man is now the leader of the free world.

I feel betrayed.  I feel hurt.  I feel heartbroken.  I feel dismissed.  I feel absolutely fucking terrified.

I feel this way not only because the rightful President was robbed of her rightful position by this pissant.  I feel this way because of the way he was elected, because of the types of people who voted for him.  White people.  Scared white people.  Scared, uneducated white people.  55 million of them deciding the fate of our country.  55 million scared white people deciding who gets protected under the Constitution and who doesn't.  Deciding that an entire gender of people, one who makes up OVER HALF THE NATION, deserves to continue to be marginalized and disrespected, denied their rights and treated as "other".

I feel this way on behalf of the millions of LGBTQ, POC, and Muslim people who now have so many more reasons to be afraid for both their lives and their livelihoods.  The hatred that has spawned and flourished in our country has completely disguised the idea that all are created equal.  We've entered an Orwellian nightmare, and we have no one to blame but ourselves.

The idea of America as it stands right now is a complete sham.  The world fears what will happen now that Orange Ball Of Hate is about to take office.  I'm not sure I ever believed in the American Dream; I sure as hell don't now.  Coming from nothing, fighting and working your way to the top, coming to this great country from far away looking for opportunity, no more.  Now, people will spit in your face the moment you set foot on American soil.  They'll deny you your rights based on your religion, your sexuality, your gender, or your race.  They won't judge the content of your character; the surface is all that matters to America now.

We are not a democracy.  The people did not decide this election.  If we had, Hillary Clinton would have won in a landslide.  She received 200,000 (update: more than 2 million) more votes than he did and still lost.  The media is partially to blame, for covering hours upon hours of uninterrupted rallies, where he spewed hateful vitriol about anybody he could think of and incited violence among those who supported him and those who disagreed.

We have to take matters into our own hands.  We need to protect those who need protecting, keep funding the institutions that provide beneficial services and the ability to exercise the right to choose what happens to your own body, even when it doesn't jive with the fucking religious beliefs of those in charge.  We need to stand strong and fight this blind hatred that has consumed our country and that has now reached a terrifying apex.

Om shanti.

Time Is A Funny Thing

Two years in, and things are pretty uncertain.

 

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There are a lot of songs about crossing thresholds.  I've tried to write some of them myself.  It's one of those things you have to process; sometimes you don't even realize you've crossed it until much later.  Our move to Nashville did not fall into that category; it was abundantly clear that things were very different from the moment we arrived.

Having heard from friends who are also transplants that it takes a good long while to get used to the city, I was ready for an abrupt change, but I was simultaneously walloped in the head by it.  I didn't like the location we lived in right off the bat, and my job didn't turn out to be exactly what I expected, and in that already stressful moment that seemed like a huge letdown.  I had (and have) a network of friends in town already, but it didn't feel like I was a part of anything they did; it was a tremendously isolating time.

We live in the burgeoning area of the east side of town now, which is far less isolated geographically.  A creative hub, full of new shops, restaurants, art pop-ups, and unique and interesting people.  And yet I've never felt less creative, ever since I've lived here; the desire is there, but the will power to actually do it is nearly extinguished entirely.

I know I've talked about this before; I've just been depressed, no two ways about it.  But all this time, I've been looking forward and saying "it'll get better, I know it."  But it only slightly has so far.  Time is a funny thing, and my brain still has a lot of work to do.

Always Fall-ing

The time has come for tea, candles, journal writing underneath blankets, and homemade bread.  It's time for change; the gradients in leaves from green to gold, the sunlight from warm and ever present to soft and fleeting. 

Year after year I have this vision of personal growth during fall.  I want this time to have the opposite of the attitude often associated with it - one of decay and cold.  I always want my fall to be warm and creative.  This time around it feels stronger than ever - once I find the right rhythm, I know something great will come of it.

But does it just have to be this time of year that this creative seed is harvested? I want to have the desire to create and be cozy and satisfied all year.  Is there some kind of magic formula that combines perfectly the season, the activities, and the energy? There must be.  I want to find a way to always be in the fall attitude; to keep that creative energy flowing all through the year.

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Where Were You?

I'm not sure if I'll ever have children.  But if I do, I'll tell them about today.  I'll tell them I was there.

New York Times

New York Times

I was working in my office at Dualtone in Nashville, TN when the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is a Constitutional right.  I was there when President Obama commented in his address post-decision that "our nation was founded on a bedrock principle: that we are all created equal."  I was there today, on the day when friends of mine could solidify their love in the same bond that I can as a heterosexual, when even yesterday they could not.

The fight for total equality is far from over.  Many bridges have to be crossed before we get to that point.  Racism, economic inequality, gender inequality, all just more tiny tips of the huge iceberg that is American society.  But today, we celebrate one victory that's been a dream for too long.  We celebrate the fact that our government recognized that love is love, and that people are people.  Love won today, and we were there.

Thinking about this has led me to rack my memory for other moments I was 'there' for.  I was there when the first black President of the United States was elected.  Better than that; when voting for the first time in my life, I voted for the first black President.  Not a lot can top that, but I keep combing through my memory.

I was there when Michael Jackson died.

I was there when the music industry became a more diverse and confusing entity than anyone has ever experienced before.

I was there to see coverage of dozens of shootings, bombings, and acts of hatred and terrorism.

I was there on 9/11.

I was there when we declared war on Iraq and Afghanistan.

But it hasn't been all doom and gloom! I was there when the Chicago Blackhawks won their 3rd Stanley Cup victory in 6 seasons, declaring them a great dynasty in the history of the NHL.

I was there when the Internet became a staple in American households, and when it became the behemoth of communication, commerce, and creativity that it is today.

I was there when Harry Potter, one of the most popular series of books in history, hit the shelves.  I was one of the people whose childhood was marked by the publication of each of Harry's years at Hogwarts.

I was there when Fleetwood Mac reunited in the famous five-some after decades apart, when they went on an unforgettable tour, and when Christine McVie made me bawl my eyes out playing "Songbird", a song I'd never thought I'd hear her sing live in my entire life.

I was there when the transgender community was given a louder voice than it has ever had.  Laverne Cox has helped catapult the movement into high gear, and I'm feeling that one day soon, transgender people will be given the respect they deserve.

It's time to celebrate the huge victory we were all a part of today.  There will be haters, there have been dissenters, people will still need convincing that this decision was a good one.  We still have a long way to go.  But today, we were there.  We were there to see love win.

Realizations

Something I've realized recently is scaring me a bit.

I’ve realized that I’ve begun to lose my drive and passion for playing music because I’m expecting too much to come from it.  Singing is my greatest passion; it’s the thing I love doing most in the world.  It still is something that brings me happiness, but not nearly as much as it used to, because there are so many expectations I’ve set for myself.  Now, for reasons unknown to me, it’s no longer just a way to release anything that I’m feeling and embody something else for a while.  It’s a looming challenge now that I can’t seem to face.  It’s “do this for a living right now or don’t do it at all.” 

My dream has almost always been to sing and play music for people for a living; I just can’t seem to find the drive to climb up that hurdle now that I’m in Nashville.  Now it feels like that dream is something lingering far in the distance, looking down on me saying “It’s not happening now, so it’ll never happen; why are you trying?”

It used to be enough just to sing along with records or with friends by a campfire.  Yet now, since I live in “Music City” and the competition to be seen as a musician is so much steeper than I’m used to, I feel like if I want to be a musician even at all, I can’t do it for fun, I have to do it to try to “make it”.  Why do I feel like this needs to happen right now, at this very moment? Why can’t it just be something I love doing? Because I need to be famous? I don’t want to be famous - I just want to be happy and singing and playing for people.  So why am I not doing it? Why did I lose the drive? It can’t just be because the competition is too steep - anyone who knows me is well aware that I’m hugely competitive and will fight tooth and nail to win.  You’d think that I’d want to fight as hard as I can to do something I love passionately, right? Yeah, me too.  Since I’ve made it a competition against myself, though, there isn’t much winning involved. 

The math looks like this to me (in my irrational mind that I’m trying to sort out):
Immense passion + strong desire to do it for the rest of your life = need to make it your career.  That definitely isn’t how it works.  Obviously there are so many other things involved: money, time, equipment, skill, support.  Money and time are the most elusive ones, and the biggest bitches to get on your side.  I think I’ve just reached the point now where I feel like if I’m not playing music as a career right now, I’ll never do it.  That just kills the drive right there.  I really want it back, though; I really want the passion of it back, the feeling of letting music fill me up and take me somewhere else, out of myself.  I need to realize that not every sung word that comes out of my mouth needs to be filled with regret that it’s not being sung on a stage or into a recording microphone.  Sure, there are SO many things that I could be doing right now to further this endeavor; promoting Daniel & Grace, promoting my own stuff, practicing guitar, learning recording software/technique, writing songs, etc.  That will all come, I think.  Right now I just need to focus on the fact that I haven’t failed.  I’m not a professional musician, but I’m not out of time.  I need to love it again without setting expectations, that’s step one.  Gotta start loving it again.  Then maybe something will come out of it, who knows.

Daniel and I performing at the Bluebird in Bloomington

Daniel and I performing at the Bluebird in Bloomington