It's been quite some time since I have felt the comfort I once had here (literally here on my website), in the world of my art. I have realized recently in reading a book suggested to me by a dear friend of mine, Jackie Minton, who's an incredible songwriter and artist, that I've not been writing much with the word, "I." Why is that important? Because I was starting to feel like my point of view didn't matter until I realized how much it does. I really really want people to feel included emotionally when I write and when I put out any form of art. I've been careful not to have "perfect photos" on my instagram, to tell the truth in my writing, and to be as real and authentic as I am capable of being. The internet is a beast of a place, everyone has a camera phone, my laptop right now has a camera staring right me for heavens sake...it's a lot.
When I first started writing and singing songs, I wrote them on whatever paper was closest to me, and recorded them into my pink razor flip phone. Now, I have a DAW, right on this very laptop (a recording program), though I still prefer iPhone voice memos. I like to keep things simple because that is what my brain can handle. Write song, record, sing, play into phone, save, dream up production, remember production in my mind by making notes on my iPhone, play air drums making weird sounds to the drummer at the studio, sing the guitar riff in my mind. That is enough for me. In fact, that is more than enough for me. I like to be free, and collaborative, and also have the choice to use my recording capabilities on this fancy laptop I bought myself. The problem is: I feel so much pressure to be great at everything.
Frankly, it is exhausting and I don't care for it anymore, and I like making session drummers laugh, I like it when session guitar players get the solo idea I have in my head and then use their own creativity to blast it out of the park. (Not sure if that's a term, going with it). What I am trying to say is I am bidding farewell to who I have felt pressured to be as a singer, writer, and as a person. Maybe I don't have the desire to write songs that will be on the radio and maybe I do. Maybe I'll be so successful it will be scary or maybe I'll grow old one day and only my family and friends will know my songs. All I know is I need to breathe and surround myself with people who inspire me in all areas of my life. I have so gratefully found mentorship and writers at Belmont University who inspire me, and that feels good. I don't feel the need to go and go and go until I drop. Mainly because that is what I did when I was 19 and also, I really enjoy enjoying my time here on earth.
Life on life's terms is what I am reaching for. That allows peace. Peace is writing songs by my fire pit and sharing them with people who inspire me, learning, and listening to what they have to say. I have to listen and I feel like I can't listen and hustle the way I used to at the same time. Don't get me wrong, I hustle, but in quality not quantity. I have been told many times by those around me that they wish I had my work ethic...this has always surprised me because I never feel like I am doing enough. Honestly, the past few years I have had to pull away to learn and listen. On the outside, I feel it looks like, (and it feels like to me) I have done nothing but play a few shows and release a few songs and this has made me feel small until realizing how much I have learned and gained from the past three years living in Nashville. I have become 100% a better writer than I ever would have been, have learned so much about the music industry, French, and some pretty cool stuff about biology too. My mind is open and my heart is much stronger and much smarter. I'll be graduating this summer and I feel like the timing is perfect. A new start with my new knowledge and my new degree! As of the past few weeks, I have been writing more than once a day and it feels like I have come home and come full circle. I am ready for this. I am ready to step back into the world without worrying who will or won't like me. I think at the core of it, I had this expectation to be this type of person that everyone could like and it was really debilitating. I didn't realize that I had to like me, first and foremost, and live within my integrity with the best intentions possible, and that feels really good.
I want to leave you with a few of my favorite things I have learned lately:
The mistakes you have made when you did not know any better: they are not your fault. I'm talking about things that you truly know that no matter how many times you replay a situation in your mind, the person you were then, could not have made a different decision because you did not know that decision existed.
For those prone to disagreeing: a very simple analogy would be putting tin-foil in the microwave to heat something up, and setting the microwave on fire by accident. (No I certainly did not do that to a barn microwave when I was 12....) Before I did that, no one ever told me tin-foil could not go in the microwave. Seems simple enough right? Guess what, I am 25 and it hasn't happened since. That was not my fault. That doesn't mean that the small fire was literally not my fault, but I did not have the knowledge at the time to make a different decision. Now if I go and put tin-foil in the fire now, that is "my fault." My gut knows that, my mind knows that, it is lived and learned.
I share this with you because I know what it is like to make mistakes and feel so horribly beaten down by them when really the truth is, just like the tin-foil accident, there are some things in life which I did not know to respond differently to. What I do know now is that I refuse to mentally punish myself for things I did not know.
So when I say, it's not your fault. I mean, you had no clue-did what you could. It's time to forgive yourself because life is really short and well, we are floating on a tiny speck of a planet, probably the size of bacteria against the vast universe which we barely know anything about.
With love and talk soon,