My partner and I just moved into a new house in Baltimore; it feels good to be settled in a place we plan on being for a good long while. I've dusted off our old SLR, and I'm going to start filming a series of videos next to our wood stove to share new songs and fun things I work on with friends.
Here's the first one, with a little explanation below:
MAKE SOME ROOM IN THE CIRCLE
When he was a child he was always in the way
He fumbled the ball, too nervous to play
And after the game he had the wrong things to say
No room on the porch so he stood in the rain
Though he has grown up and his soul has grown old
He never shook the feeling that he never belonged
Watches from the doorway of every crowded room
Just waiting for someone to welcome him on
Make some room in the circle
For the one on the outside looking in
Pull up a chair to the table
It's no easy road where he's been
He was so busy pining to be on the inside
That he never noticed his chance to be kind
His shoulders were turned to the ones just behind
Who were waiting for someone to turn round and find
Recently I've been a part of several events featuring female artists, and whenever I'm asked to think hard about my womanhood, notions of inclusion and exclusion surface in my mind. Growing up as the only girl in a family of brothers on a street of boys, it wasn't uncommon for me to feel left out--I still powerfully remember the sinking feeling of being the last picked for capture the flag. Or watching the guys play video games for hours on end because I had died in the first round.
I think feeling left out is a pretty universal human experience. We all want to feel like we belong and are accepted for who we are. But still, when we find ourselves in the "in-crowd" it's so easy to forget that there's an "out-crowd" at all. I always have to remind myself that in my desire to belong I should also be seeking to widen the circle a little bit for others to come in.
For example, it makes a lot of sense that women band together to commiserate and share power in the face of a society that leaves them undervalued, ignored, or otherwise "left out." And yet it's all too easy, in creating these spaces, to unintentionally exclude people from different racial and income backgrounds, or women who weren't born with parts that match their gender.
I started writing this song this summer, and was reminded of it on Sunday when I heard the story of a friend from elementary school talking about her journey to find her tribe.