I was in my comfort zone
I was singing selfish songs
I’ve been taking for granted everyone understood how easy trouble comes
But it’s not enough anymore
We can’t just turn around and close the door on the world
It’s asking uneasy questions
We should be asking ourselves uneasy questions
Frank Turner released a new album, Be More Kind, a couple months ago. Of course, I anticipated its release with much excitement – not only is he my favorite musician, but the album was recorded here in DFW and I had already listened to him play some of it during an acoustic show last summer. After listening to the album in its entirety a few times, it became clear that my favorite song on its track list is Blackout. The lyrics above are from that track’s third and final verse.
When I recently went through my depressive season, I often referred to that phase as “the darkness”. In Blackout, Frank sings and admits to being afraid of a darkness, which I am certain is metaphorical for him as well. But the song is an optimistic one, one in which he offers to help others find the light, yet reminds them to bring a candle as well. Help one another because we can’t do it alone. Ask for help, but remember to put some of your own effort in also. I didn’t get through the blackout on my own, and I wouldn’t expect anyone else to do so either. It can be done, however! Just look at me.
As for that third verse – man! The album as a whole is very much Frank’s commentary on the sociopolitical state we live in, particularly following the election of Donald Trump (there is even a track entitled Make America Great Again… “By making racists ashamed again – let’s make compassion in fashion again”). In previous albums, he writes about his dreams, relationships, his friends, his travels, how much music means to him, mental health, and so forth. “Selfish songs” as he calls them. He was in his comfort zone.
I was, too.
It’s time to get out, though, and get uneasy. He knows it, I know it, do you?
Y’all – being an activist is not always easy work. It can be exhausting and draining. It has become quite time consuming (things did not work out with either of the men I have dated this year because of time and timing, actually) and all other plans revolve around it. But I can’t stop. There is too much at stake.
As uncomfortable as it may be, WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING.
We can’t sit around and hope for the best. We can’t expect others to do the work for us. We have to be the change. No more being selfish. If we can afford the time to go all grassroots, then we owe it to this world to do the damn thing!
I did the damn thing last weekend.
I led my first canvassing event! Twelve wonderful volunteers showed up to join me in the neighborhood I grew up in, at the park at the end of my parents’ street, across from the high school I graduated from. The place that will always be home to me.
After starting off with a brief training session and pep talk, we all separated to spread out throughout the neighborhood. We went from block to block, knocking on doors on to speak to neighbors about Beto O’Rourke. We explained why we canvassed for him, had some people to commit to vote, and even signed folks up to volunteer in the future!
After a couple hours, most of us met up back at the park and discussed our experiences. It went so well! The majority were first-time volunteers, and the experience was such a positive one, that they want to do it again! They even asked me to host another event! So bad ass.
Yes, it was hot. Yes, we could’ve been sleeping in or relaxing or partaking in summer fun. Yes, there is still a lot of time left until Election Day.
None of that matters. Think about all that has happened since Trump was elected. Think about how it affects you, your loved ones, and the disenfranchised. Get angry, and know that you can do something about it. You are powerful. We are powerful. There is power in numbers.
So, I implore you: Please join me and others. It’s a crucial time we are living in.
Bring a burning candle with you.
I leave you with the fantastic music video for Blackout. Enjoy.