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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