Growing Pains



5.18.21


I’m doing a really bad job at my YouTube series. I pushed my episode back a week only to still not get it out on time. When I finally finished editing, it decided to take hours and hours to upload to YouTube. It’s almost 4 am and it says it’s 60 percent completed. I don't know what’s up with it but all I know is it better work.


Doing YouTube is extremely time-consuming, tedious, and frustrating. At this point, I hate it. I want to be positive about it, but it’s really hard to be investing so much time and stress into something that not a ton of people are going to see anyway. I really don’t want to quit on episode two, that would be pathetic, but I also feel like I could spend all that time making Tiktoks and gaining fans a lot quicker. I know it’s part of the learning curve and the optimist in me says I’ll get it eventually, but this week hasn’t been pleasant.


I’m trying to make myself get up earlier and get back into the working world. I have a part-time copywriting gig going right now and I am trying to add more streams of income. I really don’t think another 9-5 is in the cards for me so I need to make this work. I’ve got a decent cushion of cash saved up for now but what I’m making is not enough, and I need that money for my EP, so I need to figure this out fast. Having that looming over me is stressful. I’m up so late and sleep so long I’m losing a good chunk of my daylight hours. It’s an issue I’ve faced my entire life but the pandemic really took it to a place where I need to seek legitimate help because it's impacting my mood. I wake up mad at myself that I can’t get up sooner, but I don’t want to run on no sleep because that isn’t healthy either. I also don’t want to be on sleeping pills because those are also bad for you. I’m trying little things like not allowing myself TikTok after 3 am and trying not to do work in my bed (which is hard cause right now I have no desk and only a very uncomfortable futon in the living room.)


I feel like I’ve been slacking all around. I only practiced guitar once this week, I haven’t practiced voice at all, my TikToks have been sub-par lately and I haven’t been writing songs. I haven’t booked any performances. I’ve really been lacking motivation and energy.


However, I need to remind myself that last week was stressful. I was in the hospital two days in a row, and one included a fire. I’m slowly emerging from my covid isolation and it’s overwhelming, so I need to be more patient with myself. Unfortunately, patience is something that I lack. My inner monologue is more like a football coach or a drill sergeant. I need to introduce a yoga teacher or something in there to balance it out.


I did go to bed feeling happier as I finally sat down and made some good quality TikToks today. I know if I can just organize myself everything will be ok. The thing is, I’m a very disorganized person so organizing myself is hard.

5.23.21

Today was a great day because it was one of my first post covid social outings. One of my songwriter friends had a birthday party at the park. It was a beautiful day and we were hanging out by one of Hendersonville's beautiful lakes. I got to mingle and meet new people for the first time and a long time, and because they were friends of Olivia who is an amazing person, it was a really refreshing experience.

I also found some inspiration as I was taking one of my walks around the block. As I round the corner, there is an area on top of a hill that has a beautiful view of the city skyline. I saw a man listening to what sounded like Hawaiian music, drinking wine, and watching the sunset. His vibes were immaculate. It reminded me that life is meant to be enjoyed. So the next time I went grocery shopping, I got some snacks and beverages specifically for sunset watching. I am trying to do it every night. I get my speaker, play some Hawaiian music, put my phone down, and enjoy the beauty of the world rather than stress about my problems. I also use this time to journal if I'm alone and made it an open invite for any of my friends to come over. It's made a world of a difference in my daily attitude. I encourage everyone to try it.

5.24.21


picking songs for my EP is a lot harder than I thought.


Getting feedback from people and taking my producer's thoughts into account has only made it more confusing. I’ve never second-guessed a decision so much. On one hand, I want to do what feels right to me. On the other, I want to make my audience happy and use this project to springboard myself into higher success. I don’t want to play it safe, but I also don’t want to ignore advice from smart and talented people and end up flopping because of it.

Halfway through today the way my thought process was going, I was wanting to just scrap the whole project. I won’t do that of course but that is what making this decision feels like. I just want it to work out, I don’t want to regret not choosing one song over another. I think there’s a great project in here, I just need to find it. I want it to be perfect, which is an impossible goal. I know I won’t please everyone, but there’s still a desire in me to want to please as many people as possible. On the other hand, I don’t want to make sacrifices that surrender my authenticity as an artist. It’s a delicate balancing act. There’s a lot of money on the line and who knows when I’ll be able to afford another project like this. I need this to work.

5.25.21 - 5.30.21


This was a turning point for me as far as getting my social life back on track. On 4/25 I met my friends for drinks and Mexican food downtown, and it would mark my first time back in a restaurant since last year. I thought I’d be more apprehensive, but it felt eerily natural. The place was packed, nobody was in masks, and it was such a good feeling.


After that, a few of us went over to one of my friend's houses for a bonfire. That was supposed to be the end of the night but it turned into a much longer night than I anticipated. after a few drinks, my friend wanted to meet up with her friends at a bar. Nothing huge, a small bar in Murfreesboro, but my first bar in a year nonetheless. We even ended the night around 3 am at Waffle House. I was definitely a bit apprehensive there. I didn’t want to touch things, but I still enjoyed my time and my hashbrowns.


That Saturday, one of my high school friends was in town. We went to the Commodore Grille to see one of my friends Justin Love play a round. To my surprise, he invited me up to sing a song we wrote together. I was excited but extremely nervous. I haven’t played live in a year. I didn’t want to crack or forget the words. Normally I’d practice and feel prepared, but I was proud of myself for getting up there. It felt great and was all the more motivationon to get more shows on the books.


Then came the real test, hitting Broadway. Broadway I would consider to definitely be the epicenter of the zombie apocalypse if we were to ever start in Nashville, but I had Dr. Fauci's blessing so it was finally time.


I felt a type of joy that night I had forgotten I could feel. I felt the magic of Nashville I'd been missing this past year. It really hit home when the band decided to sing Piano Man. That song really brings home what live music means to people, what it means to the world. It felt like we were living the end of a movie. After all the horrible things that happened in the past year, we finally get to be happy again. We finally get to be together again. We finally get live music again. As an artist, I see myself in the lyrics of Piano Man. I will always associate this song with the end of the pandemic. It's made it that much more meaningful and it's definitely now a core musical memory.


The next day, I went to see another friend play live, and I ended up back at a house full of writers for a spaghetti dinner. Things like that happen a lot in Nashville. After we ate we went down to the studio to listen to and talk about music. It felt amazing to be in a community of artists again.


5.29. 21

I wrote a song today. First time in a long time I’ve had one come that easily. That’s a good sign. I think the more I venture back into the Nashville music scene and writing community, the more effortless it will become. This is what I had been missing. This was is the end of my writer's block.

6.1.21

I’m down today for some reason. I’m not sure why. Nothing particularly bad happened, in fact, it’s been quite the opposite.


Maybe I’m just coming down from the high of the weekend, or maybe reality is setting in. With opportunities comes pressure, mostly self-inflicted of course but pressure nonetheless. I just emerged from my quarantine hibernation and I already feel like I’m up to my neck in work and falling behind where I should be.


Tonight my friend Justin invited me to go see some of his friends play downtown. The me that just moved to town would have jumped at any opportunity to get out and have an experience, meet new people, form connections, and be where the music is. The me tonight said no. I’m honestly disappointed in myself and feeling regret, but at the same time feeling like I need to ease back into things, and maybe put my mental health before opportunity sometimes. I can’t decide if I’ve just become wiser or more seasoned or if I’m losing my new to Nashville passion and go-getter attitude.


I really do my best to have an abundance mindset, to believe that there will always be another opportunity, but deep down parts of me still operate in scarcity. I have serious FOMO.


6.7.21


This feels like a week of regression and even self-sabotage.


I got a bad cold this week that progressively worsened into full-on laryngitis. After going back in public again after a year of near-total isolation (beyond my immediate family) here I am again forced to sit at home.


It’s as comforting as it is frustrating. A part of me is overwhelmed to be getting back into real life and welcomes the chance to hold on to pandemic life a little longer. The other is incredibly frustrated and feels like everything I do is one step forward three steps back.


I was supposed to go to Alabama this weekend to sing backup for a very talented young singer in town. I was nervous but also up for the challenge and ready to take advantage of the opportunities that came with it. Now I’m unable to sing. As frustrated as I am to lose this opportunity, I couldn't help but feel comforted by the fact that I won’t have to face the possibility of screwing something up.


The extra time at home has allowed my mind to dwell on things I’d otherwise be able to distract myself from, and I find myself fixating on areas in my personal life where I need to take some initiative to move on and fully embrace this next chapter. Facing that reality fully for the first time has felt devastating. It isn’t quite a spiral, since I know I’m a stronger person than I used to be, I’m aware that there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. Things get better and this discomforting transition period is a necessary evil I need to deal with on the path towards the happiness that is truly meant for me, but that doesn’t stop the tears, ruminating, and fixation on the things I can’t change. In many ways, I go out of my way to make the situation more dramatic than it needs to be. I feel like we as people romanticize the idea of being unable to move on in life because the alternative is much more sinister and terrifying, that we can survive no matter who or what we lose, that we’ve been engineered to adapt and keep going, and at the end of the day, we only ever truly need ourselves. What we want to believe is that the love in our life holds more power over us, and this makes it more meaningful in the grand scheme of things, but that’s not the truth.


I’m the type of person who really wants to live without regret. You hear me say it all the time, it’s worth it to go after your dreams 100 percent, take all the risks because even if you fail at least you won’t have regret. What I don’t often say about the sacrifices I make daily is that there is potential regret in them as well. If this doesn’t work out, was it all for nothing? did I give up good things, things that would have kept me happy and satisfied in pursuit of greatness that may never materialize? Will I be left with nothing, regretting giving up the tangible for idealistic things I thought I could do?


I never wanted a white picket fence, but I don’t want to end up alone either. I do my best to remind myself that it isn’t an either-or, that life is abundant I can have it all and I am powerful enough to manifest it, but some days are harder than others. I need to unlearn the limiting belief I have that my success and notoriety in music will come at the expense of the comfort people with normal lives get to enjoy, like a husband or a family.


Still, every other Instagram post on my feed lately has been people I know from high school and college getting engaged, getting married, buying houses, having babies. These are things I can’t even fathom at the moment. My mom was 27 when she had me. Married sooner than that. That’s two years from my next birthday. I’ve grown up with the idea that you’re supposed to find your person around this time, and a lot of people around me already have. I don’t mind not being entirely on track with the rest because that’s never been my pace anyway, but I don’t want to be old by the time it happens either. I still want to look young and hot in my wedding pictures.


This pandemic has really pulled back the curtain of the invincibility I've felt so long as a person. I feel like I’ve been forced to admit that life is much more fragile and out of my own control, which is really frightening to think too deeply about. I’ve been following the story of a terminal cancer patient on TikTok, her name is Eliza and she’s only two. These seem to be her final weeks, and for some reason, I’ve become fascinated with her story. Maybe because I’m facing my own grieving process from the past year and getting ready to transition. There is just so much I still want to experience, in music and in life, and I just hope I am lucky enough to have that time. It’s all just dumb luck, it has nothing to do with fairness, which makes it scarier. If anything, this just means you have to live life to the fullest and hope for the best, which is why being stuck at home with laryngitis makes it all the more frustrating.


I feel like with the past President and the pandemic, I’ve felt so low for so long I almost don’t trust the incoming happiness and potential that comes with it, which is why I've found my way back to this place. It’s miserable, but it’s familiar, which makes it comforting in a disturbing way. It’s a cycle I know how to break out of, but that’s harder to do when I’m still confined to this space and limited physically. I’m going today without talking in order to give my voice rest, which I’m in turn forces, even more, introspection. It’s why so much writing is happening now.


This pandemic has changed the world and its inhabitants in profound ways. I personally think those who refuse to acknowledge this are lying to themselves. There’s no “going back” to the way it was before, it doesn’t exist anymore. What does exist, in my stubbornly idealistic view is the opportunity to create something better than we’ve ever imagined.


6.14.21


I've recently come to the conclusion that having more free time doesn’t necessarily result in me getting more things done; it’s like creating more lanes of traffic. I was getting myself back on a normal schedule before I got sick, but being sick had taken my sleep schedule off the rails again. I’m back to staying up till 8 or 9 am and sleeping till 4 pm. That’s not a way to live, especially in a world where you want to be connecting with people.


I’m almost through the steroids I’ve needed to get my voice back, so I can go back to using my prescription sleep aid, and hopefully will get back on track this week. I also have a job interview, my first in a while, which is exciting.


I’ve never been a fan of structure, but I can admit that maybe a bit more of it in my life would be good for me. A reason to get up in the morning, something I can’t miss so I don’t sleep the day away.


I’ve got a performance tomorrow, my first live performance in over a year. The week prior to getting sick, I was really excited, ready to dive right in, but I’ve been feeling out of it lately. I’m not even that nervous, but I don’t feel excited either. I feel kind of indifferent honestly, which makes me sad. I hope that changes when I get up there, I think I’m just out of practice.

I try to remember the girl I was when I first moved here, how excited I was the night I played my first writer's round and how I vowed to chase that feeling forever. I thought I’d never get sick of it.

The truth is though, I want to progress past it. I don’t want to be playing writer's rounds at the same venues on a Tuesday night. I want to play real shows with a full band and an audience that doesn’t think of me as background noise to their dinner. But until I get my money right and get back the energy to do some serious networking, I feel like everything I want to do is near impossible. I hate feeling like my trajectory is being determined by outside forces. Like tonight, for example, the songs I play, are restricted by what others around me will allow. I can only play what my guitar player knows, I can only book when a guitar player is free, I have to pay for everything I want to do, so I have to work but that takes away my time.


People don't realize that most successful musicians come from some kind of wealth or have major connections. That doesn't take away from their talent, but it does make it seem like those of us who are doing it all on our own are failing, which isn't true. We're doing our best with what we have.


Pre-pandemic I was looking ahead to full band shows. right now I feel like I’m practically a beginner again. I feel stagnant, and that feels demotivating. I wish I was feeling what I want to feel, which is immense gratitude to be able to play, to treat it like the gift it is, but I'm just not there right now.


Usually being back on stage brings everything back into perspective and reminds me why I love doing this so much. I'm counting on that.

6.15.21


Well, things worked out the way I thought they would. I got my mojo back.


I think it’s funny that I’ve lived long enough and am mature enough to distinguish between the truth and my emotions. I knew I’d play tonight, feel great, and be back on an upward trajectory. I have gotten a lot better at just letting myself feel things so that I can move past them.


There was such an ease about tonight that I don’t feel like I’ve felt before. I was comfortable. I was confident. I felt I deserved to be there. Maybe it’s because the horrors of the pandemic have made my nerves on stage seem trivial, or maybe it's because I’m three years into Nashville and feel more seasoned. Maybe it was because I loved the outfit I wore and the way I did my makeup. Whatever it was, I want it to stay. This is the first time in a long time I’ve felt like a natural up there. And of course, getting a taste of it again only makes me want to pursue it more. This is who I am and exactly where I’m meant to be.


The crowd was attentive which really made a difference. If you’re ever in an audience I hope you know how much you can make or break a performer's day.

6.21.21


I’ll be honest. Today wasn’t my best show. I’m not sure what happened but I feel like my voice lost gas during my second song. I also messed up the second verse, (which I had been stressing about all day) and even though I covered it up well, I was still disappointed in myself. Then, when I wanted to redeem myself with my last song, the guitar got off during the bridge.


How am I supposed to play full bands when I can’t even get through a writer's round with solid performance?


I’m frustrated because I want to be in the moment, in the performance, but tonight I just felt detached. I was relieved when it was over.


The angel on my soldier is telling me that nobody else is judging and critiquing me like I am; that it’s in the past now so it’s not worth being upset over, but I can’t help it sometimes. I want every impression to be a good one, and I want to feel relaxed and confident when I play, not this.


I did play two new songs tonight. I know it’s better to push myself than play it safe. I know I'm being more dramatic about it than I need to be. I just wish I could be one of those singers who sings effortlessly. Who doesn’t have to worry about hitting the high notes or remembering the words. I know that just comes with consistency, which is hard when I have to depend on my guitar players to book performances.


I still feel like this is going to be a big year for me, and honestly talking through some of these things in this diary has made me feel better. Sometimes you just gotta process the negative feelings to move on from them. I also put pressure on myself or have a positive attitude all the time. I’m getting better at allowing myself to feel what I’m feeling.


Later today I worked out for the first time in a long time. My roommate is doing a workout challenge and asked me to join. It really took my mood 180 degrees. I used to work out regularly, it really does make a difference. I’m going to try to do it more.

6.28.21


I’ll be honest. I feel pretty terrible today. I’ve got growing pains.


A lot of things are changing for me. The nostalgic part of me longs to hold on to my past and my memories, even if they aren't serving me anymore. I’ve realized that I’m very good at convincing myself to be satisfied with less than I deserve if it means I can hold on to something familiar and comfortable. I know that’s ultimately not in my best interest, but that's not really something my emotions listen to. Being intelligent and also extremely emotional is exhausting. I feel my head and my heart are constantly battling each other. My heart is a powerful thing that has gotten me into trouble over the years, but I’ve slowly but surely taught my sense of reason to be better at standing her ground.


One thing I have learned with maturity is that time really does heal all wounds. I know pain is temporary. I know how resilient I am and how capable I am to overcome anything. That doesn’t stop me from making it as dramatic as possible every step of the way though. That is still a work in progress.


I’m also impatient. The thing about time is that it takes time. I want to feel better now. I want to skip to the part where everything is ok. I know it’s coming, but I don’t want to wait for it.


The newfound anxiety I picked up over 2020 doesn’t help this situation. I’m much quicker to work myself up to and fixate on worst-case scenarios. Again, I can visualize my logical side shaking her head and rolling her eyes as I type this. She knows better. I know better. It’s like I go out of my way to make it harder on myself. At the end of the day, I’m the only one who can really get to me.


I just have to remember how much I have to look forward to. I’ve got a lot in motion. I know I’m meant to be in Nashville and do big things. It’s this higher calling I’ve always felt and can’t explain, and it steadies me when I feel like I am losing control of everything else.


One thing I’ve always loved about music is that it has always been there for me. I know it will never leave me. I know it will never get bored of me. I know it will never judge me or want me to water myself down to make it more comfortable. It’s always where I’ve been able to be the truest to myself.


I hope if nothing else that one day what I create can do this for others. Give them somewhere to go when they don’t know where to turn or how they’re going to get through the next hour. Know it will be there to listen when they don’t want to burden anyone else.


Regardless of what happens in my career, if my music can be this for even one person, I've succeeded even if That one person is me.

6.30.21


As this month comes to a close, I remain rationally optimistic. My life is picking back up. I’ve tied up loose ends, made some tough decisions, and have found the resolve to keep pushing forward. It isn’t easy but I don’t think it’s meant to be. I’ve always tried to live by the mantra I picked up at one of my Nebraska Women’s Leadership Network conferences, “life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” I feel like 2020 was a year of regressing back to my comfort zone. It was necessary for survival at the time. Now, the universe is forcing me out of it whether I feel ready or not. I don’t feel entirely ready, but I do feel stable. I may not have all the answers right now, but I feel like I’m standing on solid ground and walking on the right path for the first time in a long time. That doesn’t mean there won’t be obstacles along the way, that doesn’t mean I won’t second guess myself or be tempted to turn back around, but it does mean I’m not lost. I know where I’m headed. I know how to get there, and most importantly, I know I can do it.

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