Please Say You Hate Me

A Saturday Song, with Nataly Dawn

I don’t know why I have not shared this song with you before. It’s probably my favorite by Nataly. She’s been doing some gorgeous work, both on her own and with her hubby Jack, co-creator of Patreon and the other half of the fun and innovative group called Pomplamoose. It was over three years ago that I shared a post by my son, Micah featuring two of her tunes, but I’ve never shared her on my Saturday Songs or Music Monday features. Time to correct that! The title of the song is “Call Your Love,” from the 2016 album, Haze.

A word of caution

Beat your megaphones into ear trumpets. —William Stafford, 2/19/1976

Before we get to the video, it’s important that I say this. I wish I didn’t feel it was necessary, but times are such that even among communities where we have the most reason to support each other and stand together, regardless of our disagreements, we are so on edge. We are so divided and far too quick to respond, to lash out  instead of listen.

Among the many marvelous things that the internet has brought us—the connection, the lightning fast communication, the lives brought together and saved—it has also brought an overload of information and emotion that we frankly have not evolved quickly enough to cope with.

A friend of mine made a Facebook post the other night. He was frustrated and emotional, and he brought up a very important topic about a rather large but also somewhat insular community that he and I are both members of. Maybe he could have said it more diplomatically, but what he said made sense. It was heartfelt and a lot of us understood, agreed, and reached out to him, many privately. Others lashed out. They put words into his mouth, and mine when I spoke up on his behalf.

Instead of hearing him out, instead of taking some time to breathe and think, instead of self reflecting, they leapt to defend themselves against an attack that he didn’t actually make against them. He made remarks about the problem, not accusations against the people. The worst he did was point out something in our community that we had begun to take for granted as the way things had to work because of the difficult circumstances involved with it.

How much better might that whole discussion have gone had this small handful of people taken the day off? Maybe reread his words next morning. Perhaps some of them would have realized that what they were taking up arms to defend wasn’t exactly what he was attacking. But that’s not how we’ve been trained. The internet and its algorithms thrive on quick response times. And we’ve allowed ourselves to be steered into responding to triggers, headlines, and hot buttons. Instead of people.

Sorry, I know how monstrously vague this all is. I don’t want to say more because I want to give it some time and serious thought before I write more about it myself. Stay tuned.

More to the point

Friends, this video might be about you. But then again, it might not be at all. Please do not lash out at me for sharing it. For some of us, these lyrics cut to the bone because we’ve lived and felt them. In many cases we still are living them. For me, this brought back so much from my past that I had had to overcome that it brought me to tears.

I grew up to believe in a certain kind of faith, a very evangelical form of protestantism that I eventually outgrew. Many of the people in the churches of my youth were good people. Most of them were just people. That means some of them were also assholes. And some used their religion as a way to mask or justify their prejudice, fear, or hatred.

Many of my friends still face this prejudice from family and past or present church associations today. Even those who don’t do it consciously, may find it easier to avoid thinking too far outside of their prescribed world view “The Bible says it and I believe it!” Forget about the possibility of an alternate interpretation. I say this from experience. How do you think I hid from myself for so long?

Again, please understand, I’m not saying  that every believer is like that. But there is a poisonous dogma out there that even otherwise good people fall for. And it’s the resulting alienation and stress, rather than any sin or wrong doing that leads to separation, depression, anxiety and suicide. So maybe this song isn’t about you. Maybe it’s not the attack you think it is. If it strikes a nerve, ask yourself why. Ask yourself not “Why am I being attacked?” but “What are these people feeling?” And then maybe, “What can I do to help?”

Oh, and no matter what camp you see yourself in, please don’t offer to pray for someone who doesn’t believe what you do. It’s a passive aggressive way of saying you somehow know more about it all than they do. If you’re going to pray, just do it, don’t announce. And please, start with praying for yourself, for understanding, compassion, insight, and empathy. That would be a really good start. Thank you.

Please say you’re angry
I’d rather know you’re angry
Than know you’re praying for me
Cause that’s just how you ignore me

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