Scrolling through my news feed, I am certain that we are spiraling deeper into another circle of hell. Another hero falls to an inability to separate mentoring from his penis. Minions are stirred by a terrifying statement devised to incite fear into their feeble minds and deep seeded mommy issues.
Between despair and another cup of coffee I see an act of defiance from baby faced warriors. Volume up, I hear the voices of our future. Parkland survivors are pissed. They refuse the ridicule and scorn flung at them from pitchforked, poo tossing peasants who still believe their shadow is the work of Satan. These kids are fearless even reeling from PTSD.
This generation refuses to blindly accept the current regime. They understand that it is the old guard desperately clinging to power at the expense of civility. White men and their step-in line wives who willingly cross any line to gather soldiers in their war. The terrorists these young adults have trained for are active shooters, not from brown skinned countries but their hometowns.
Chronologically I am closer in age to those in charge than those voting in their first election. I have nieces and nephews who inhabit this space. They are wise and aware in ways I couldn’t have grasped at that time in my own life. They are far less naïve. Our life experiences are different, but my belief system and enduring passion intersects with theirs.
I have been listening to emerging artists and am awed by their self-awareness. They embrace the spectrum and range of sexual identities without shame. They reflect this back to their peers raised with the conservative rhetoric and religion of home schooling. This modeling, years of therapy and social media feeds will hopefully help them sort it all out.
Out and proud up and comers have followed artists like Frank Ocean, Brandi Carlile, Sam Smith, and Janelle Monaé, used their careers as a road map. Troye Sivan and Mikaela Strauss stand out as queer musicians who are establishing themselves.
Mikaela goes by the moniker of King Princess. She has undeniable swagger that she can back up with studied experience and talent. She has the work ethic, curiosity and willingness to perfect the craft and the natural gifts to deliver music we want to hear.
I am a sucker for a catchy pop tune. I can’t help it. King Princess pulled me in with her hit “1950”. The song was written as a nod to Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Price of Salt. Mikaela was reading it around the time it came to her. It was hard for her to fathom a world where same-sex love had to be kept secret. My own experience tells me that the closet was the best and safest place even decades after that groundbreaking novel. This freedom Mikaela and her friends enjoy is still new and for some of us hard to trust. For her it is an historical reference.
This song though, I love it and the context of the closet as something in the past — something to pretend has me dancing around the room. My pride swells anew with the confidence of youth. I trust that there will be a changing of the guard.
On days when I feel the progress we’ve made is buried by dozers full of sand, blocked by giant barriers erected against change and diversity I listen to these voices. The sound of our future. I trust that they will not only dig us out, but they will topple the walls. The soundtrack will be badass and fronted by girls slinging guitars.
(Song recommendation by Erin L. Cork)