Hey friends! I wanted to premiere a brand new video for "Crickets," ahead of my latest release that will be available for streaming/download on December 26.
My Patreon crew got the first look, and they are absolutely the reason I continue to be able to create music despite not earning my usual gig income this year, so I want to thank them for their continued support during a really weird and hard time for artists.
To start, let me disclaim that I have no real technical skills when it comes to video-making, but I had a vision to try and capture what the infertility struggle feels like; using a tripod and an iPhone, I managed to arrive somewhere in the realm of reality.
In the song, you'll hear real crickets I recorded from outside my window on the nights I would lay awake wondering if I was ever going to get pregnant. Sometimes I would see a cricket in the bathroom, and of course (always looking for a sign from the Universe) I Googled what they meant - besides the "nothing" response they are commonly associated with. Some searches pointed to good luck and fertility. I secretly hoped my mama was coming to me in one of those crickets telling me that good news was on the way. The good news never came. Sometimes crickets are just crickets, I guess.
You can also hear the crinkle of a pregnancy test wrapper in the chorus, which I used to represent the almost mechanical wheel-like revolution of hope to despair to hope to despair, cycle after cycle, fail after fail. What actually happens in these cycles is you actually have to go into the lab every try for a blood test to confirm the cycle failed (even if you already started your period or tested negative at home), which adds an extra spin cycle of hope/despair where you tell yourself tons of little stories "maybe it's implantation bleeding" or "maybe it was a false negative" until you finally get the phone call confirming what you knew all along. No baby.
Feel free to share this video with anyone you know who has struggled with similar issues. It's isolating. I hope it comforts and speaks to people who have been through it. I feel very fortunate that we were even able to try five times. In the opening lyrics "I've cried onto a casket," I'm referring to my mom's death. I'm also wearing the clothes I wore to her funeral. I wanted to acknowledge that some folks don't have the resources to attempt to grow their family, and we would've been in that boat had it not been for my mama's death. So maybe she was still my good luck cricket in a different sense. Thanks to her, we will always get to say that we tried, and that is comforting.
Still, I want to point out that for sooooo many LGBTQ+ folks who envision creating families of their own, whose own families did/do not accept them - we get such a late start on this process because it takes us such a long time to shed the shame placed on us by others and to arrive at our full authentic selves. Which then makes us a little late to the game in finding our healthy life partners/relationships, which then makes us really late to the family planning process. By the time Audrie and I started trying to conceive, it was practically too late. So many queer couples I know struggle with this, and it really angers me that our own loved ones, our own schools, our own religions stand in the way of our ability to love and grow into ourselves, each other, and our families. This is tragic. This is abuse. Please, if you are reading this, and you refuse to accept your child or loved one's sexuality or gender identity or anything else about their authentic self, you are literally robbing them of time they could be fully supported and immersed in your love for them and their love for themselves. Don't do that. God wouldn't do that.
Hi my friends. It's release day! My new song (and silly home video) for "Everything But Loving You" just came into the world, and I wanted to write about it a little since I'm mostly off social media and not doing a traditional promotional blitz where I beg a bunch of media folks to write about it. Instead, I just want to put it out there, give some context to the song, and then not stress out about whether or not people listen to it, but trust that It will find who it needs to find. So, basically shooting my music career in the foot, haha. Small price to pay for mental wellness during a pandemic.
Even though it's a love song, I wrote this tune from a pretty scary place. Anxiety dug its claws into me hard a few times this year. While I've lived with that little shithead in my brain for pretty much my whole life, this time, it felt harder to manage. Chalk it up to infertility, a rampant pandemic, ongoing social injustice, national incompetence, you name it. It's a traumatizing time to be alive, even for the most mentally stable people.
In those moments, I didn't have or use the correct tools, and the result was an overwhelming sense of hopelessness and helplessness, which veered pretty hard into a land of shame and self-hatred where I started to lose sight of my worth on this planet and value of living life in general.
In those moments, my anxiety puts me on trial, unfairly and incessantly asking me, "If you can't fix everything, what's the point of you?"
In those moments, the one thing that is stronger than anxiety's prosecution is love's defense. I was able to hang on by focusing on the sense of purpose I feel in loving and being loved by my wife. Writing this song about Audrie, the person that makes me feel calm and sane and steady, provided enough of a glimmer of hope that I needed to be a functioning human again.
Speaking of being a functioning human, this is the first release that I produced, with the help of friends James Staton (bass), Steve Nichols (guitar), Jules Stewart (drums) and Amelia Sarkisian (mixing). It's not perfect or polished, but what feels more important to me than being perfect is: making an effort within my capacity, being proud of any small progress in that effort, being compassionate about any setback in that effort, and letting go of any attachment to other people's perceptions of that effort. It's a good way to fight anxiety. It's also a good way to approach art. And life.
In closing, I feel it's important to disclaim as a white person that this song was written in a mental health moment about a mental health moment. In no way do I want to give folks musical permission to ignore injustice in your community and in the world. I must admit, I've worried the song could be perceived in that light. But then, I just gotta circle back to letting go of any attachment to other people's perceptions of my effort. For me "quitting everything" kinda means letting go of the shit that doesn't serve me (sorrow, anger, worry), and focusing on the shit that does (love, love, love, etc.) so I can function with more clarity and serve others with more stability. However, I absolutely would like to quit doing the dishes for the rest of time. ;)
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