A seven year song purge peppered with life-changing events and experiences led me to make the move to New York with Alexandra Tsubota and begin a phase of life I never thought possible. In doing so, I would leave some things behind: people who I love and miss deeply who, along with the city of Cleveland, took me in and treated me well when I least felt like I deserved it…time and their compassion rehabilitated me and made me well to be not just living, but alive. I have so many people in my past and present to thank for so much that I won’t begin to try to list them all here. If you’re reading this, figure yourself one.
But now, here I am. And my heart’s a bit torn in two. One half is elated at my good fortune to be where and how I am: living with and loving the most incredible person I could know; working full time for one of the most well known bookstores in the world, which happens to currently employ some rad people who I have come to consider friends. My mind is stable enough. And I’m happy.
But the other half is sick with fear and loathing; disgust, but also helplessness and confusion. Why should things be fine for me and not for everyone? What is keeping me whole? It’s odd, I spend so much of my time feeling invisible, but what I’ve realized lately is that being the kind of invisible I seem to be is, in some way, a goal to a lot of people…I’m a working class, white, straight, 29 year old male in the United States. I need no crutch in this country. I need no home in this world. And that makes no sense to me at all.
So when I look around me in the morning as I’m going to work and there’s dozens of people sleeping on the sidewalk, my stomach turns, but I don’t have any money to give them. When I read the news, I scream or weep or both, but what do I do to fix it? Living well and being a hardworking, kind, compassionate and empathetic feminist goes a long way but I can’t be at peace when most everyone else isn’t. Perhaps there’s just no true peace to be had. In every country on Earth right now people are either disenfranchised or targeted, murdered or massacred, are starving or are sick. Why is that – the most obvious of all injustice worth putting to an end – what is invisible? My invisibility is a cloak. I wear it. It is a shield to me. It allows me to escape into a home I have, press play, and forget.
Fuck that. I’m tired.
I have love to give. Certain people have shown me how. So during a year of changes in my personal life, and continued upheaval in our country and around our world, I wrote. I played. I sang. That’s what I can do. That’s what I can offer you. It’s free. I wrote the first song the day after election day. The next ten tracks came over the next few months.
I write about what I see and how it makes me feel. And though in all my cloaked existence, I shudder to think of what it’s truly like for so many others who can’t escape into my Oblivion, I can at least let them, and you, know that I care. And if it’s not enough, I’m really sorry.
But I’m trying.