Will Payne Harrison

New Album Living With Ghosts out September 6th!

Blog Post #1 - Casting Off Fear

First off, thank you for caring enough about my personal thoughts to take the time to read this blog. I want to start off this blog post by stating that I am a proud American. I grew up in Central Louisiana where, as I'm sure this doesn't surprise you, most people are Republican and Christian (most likely Pentecostal or Baptist). I am here to admit freely that I am a fearful person. Fear is based in needing control of situations, and I like to feel in control. I am often afraid of what people will think of my opinions and possibly losing friendships over them, so often I am quiet. 

I grew up Catholic where my wonderful mother took me to Church every Sunday. By no fault of her own, I decided to explore my faith and wound up in some interesting places including Southern Baptist, Assemblies of God, Methodist and now the Episcopal Church (not too far from where I started). In Central and South Louisiana, there are many unspoken rules to Christianity. There are several big ones that I have never tried to challenge or question. Several that come to mind are issues on abortion, sexual orientation, and marriage. 

Some of you may know, I married young and divorced. While I used to feel the need to dive into the specifics to validate myself for not being a failure in the eyes of the church, I no longer feel that need as strongly. I have had some thoughtless people tell me hurtful things that they genuinely thought to be helpful. The phrase "to walk a mile in someone else's shoes" never had more meaning until I went through this. 

I only wish to be open and honest for myself with this blog. Not to impress or offend any readers. My top priority as a human being is to be more loving and understanding. For too long, I have let fear rule my every day decisions and keep me silent when I feel I should speak. I don't believe that social media is necessarily the best platform for facing your fear. I'm still hiding behind a computer screen and I can carefully select my words. With my new album, Louisiana Summer, I spent a lot of time facing fears and dealing with emotions through songwriting. This has been both terrifying and liberating at the same time.

I write all of that to preface two huge events taking place in America right now that may be terrifying to some. First the removal of the confederate flag from many Southern capitols. I enjoy American History and World History very much. I take great interest in the Civil War. My hometown was burned to the ground by the Union during the Red River Campaign (read more about Alexandria burning here). My grandfather used to tell us stories about finding old Civil War cannon balls and bullets in trees in his grandfather's backyard. This was an extremely painful time in our history for everyone. Maybe some fear that removing this flag removes some form of Southern heritage. Maybe some fear our evolution as a country. I understand Southern pride. I fly my Acadian flag high with pride. What I don't understand is not acknowledging the pain that it causes our African-American brothers and sisters. If this is an issue of state's rights and heritage, can we simply create a new flag? The Confederate flag is a part of History and deserves its place in museums and books. But, that's really the only place it belongs. Could you imagine Germany flying the Nazi flag on their government buildings?

My second issue is same-sex marriage. As I said before, I fear speaking out for fear of losing friends and fans over this issue, but I have to accept that I can't control this and speak what is true to me. What I have to say does not reflect the opinions or views of anyone else in my band, I speak freely for myself. With this issue, I often find myself in a dichotomy of sorts. Struggling with what has been told to me my whole life verses what I see in people I have met who are wonderfully loving people who happen to love someone that is the same gender as they are. At the end of the day, it isn't fair that two people who love each other and are committed to one another can't enjoy the tax, insurance and other benefits granted by our government simply because certain religious organizations don't condone it. 

"How can you say to your brother 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye'" - Jesus 

Let's all work on ourselves for now, as Jesus commanded.

At any rate, it's good to know that Emmy Lou can now tie the knot. If she wants to.