Hard Fought Victories
Well, in a positive turn of events, the check I was waiting on arrived in the mail yesterday, so I will make rent this month. Now I just need to make sure I get enough ahead so that I can afford it going into January even with a week or so off for Christmas and New Year's.
Today I played a virtual live show. I went into it not having practiced my songs as much as I should have, but I think it went relatively well. I really tried to improve on the things I wrote about from my last performance, and I think, for the most part, I did. I feel like my stage presence was a lot stronger.
I recently saw someone post a TikTok about succeeding as an artist, and the takeaway from that video was this idea of “committing to the bit.” This means approaching every situation as if you’re the big deal you want to be one day, and embodying that in the way you carry yourself. So I tried my best to consciously “commit to the bit” today and I think it paid off. I was much more present during my performance and I think I really improved my onstage movements. I made them bigger which made them look big enough. In many cases, I feel like being “over dramatic” on stage actually visually comes across as the perfect amount, because doing less or doing what you think is appropriate is actually underperforming.
However, I did experience some struggles with my vocals. My voice kept cracking. I did my best to mask it and make up for it, but I even got to a point where I had to acknowledge it and make a joke while I was speaking because I sounded ridiculous. Overall I fought through the performance and am pretty proud of the way I sounded, but this shouldn’t be happening. I only played four songs. I need to be able to eventually play multiple hour-long sets and put together my own headlining tour, so I need to figure this out.
That’s one thing that sucks about not having enough money. I really think consistent vocal coaching would help me refine my technique so much but I’ve never been able to afford it. Hopefully, that will change soon.
Today was a really productive day. I started it out with two promising interviews and later on, did some background vocals and played violin on my friend's song.
I always love helping people with harmonies, but It was really fun to bust out my violin for the first time in a long time. I was pretty nervous about my ability just because I haven’t played in a while, but it was a nice challenge and a reminder that I’m some regard, I still got it.
Part of me wished I’d kept up with violin in high school and college. I just wasn’t really inspired by orchestra music the way I would have been playing fiddle music or more contemporary music in a band. I also was never much of a sight reader, so maybe I wouldn’t have been a good session player anyway.
Maybe it’s something I could work on and refine. I doubt I’d be playing for Carrie Underwood or anything but smaller musicians who want some real strings on a budget? I’d be open to it.
Today was not good.
I’d been on a roll with door dashing and making decent money, but then I got sick and had to miss two days. I wasn’t feeling great today but was scheduled to work a concert and was determined to get up off the couch. I was stressing every second I wasn’t earning money, so I went.
Well… long story short I walked in and walked right out.
My motivation to be there was already at an all-time low. Honestly the thought of being at a concert feeling how I was feeling seemed overwhelming. Maybe I was subconsciously looking for a way out. It came in the form of being told I wouldn’t be allowed to wear my jacket. I feel like my body reacted before my brain had a chance to consider the consequences, but before I knew it I’d taken off my badge and was walking out the door. Needless to say, I quit.
I'm not sure if I regret it or not. The job was hardly enough hours or pay, but it was something that didn’t involve putting more miles on my old car. It was also pretty simple work, and I was actually looking forward to seeing the Pentatonix on Sunday.
But something in me said no, so off I went. I drove Doordash for the night instead. I tried out the hourly pay instead of the per-order pay and I think I ended up making less. I didn’t even break $70, but at least it was something.
I think getting sick just threw me off balance. I’m hoping I can regain equilibrium and get back on track come Monday. I just hope my car can hang in there until I’m able to find something else.
Today isn’t good either.
I’m just not feeling very good about the day job search.
Nobody seems to understand the way I feel about it, not even the people closest to me. I feel like I just come across as lazy.
But I know myself and I know I’m not lazy. I’ve always been a hardworking person.
The thing is, the working world isn’t like school. I don’t feel like I’m working toward anything anymore. There’s no real sense of purpose in any of these jobs, only the motivation to not be starving and homeless and not a burden on people. That is just another way of saying stress, so I feel like I’m just dully stressed most of the time, which zaps my energy.
I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to make myself care about any of these jobs I'm applying for long enough to keep them. It feels hopeless.
The worst part is just feeling like a disappointment. I was always someone with so much promise, but I just don’t see myself doing anything great, and really don’t have the desire to be great at anything that isn’t music. I can try to change my mindset as much as I want but I can’t change how I feel. And that’s just how I feel.
It’s 4:58 am and I just got done door-dashing. I had to go late because I didn’t get going until 12:30 am.
I’ve been feeling low all day so I spent the next couple of hours listening to motivational speeches instead of music, I think it helped.
Having these on repeat has got me thinking maybe I have gotten lazy. That’s not quite it. But Maybe I just don’t want my dreams as badly as I used to.
I remember when I first moved here I came in guns a' blazing. Nothing was going to stop me. There was a point when I was working from 9 am to 5 pm and then postmating all night on top of that so I could afford to pay off my music projects. I don’t think I could handle that now.
I don’t do the daily things I know I need to do in order to get better. I don’t practice singing or guitar, I don’t work out. I’m not doing as much on social media as I know I should, the list goes on.
I think of the person I used to be when I was an athlete. When I was so determined to learn how to do a back handspring that one day, while I was home sick, I got so frustrated at being home on the couch I did a calf workout where I did sets of ten, then twenty, then thirty, all the way up to 100.
What happened to that fighting spirit? I don’t know if it’s there anymore.
That’s a bit bleak. It’s got to be there because I’m still here. I’m out door dashing at 4 am so that I can make enough to stay in Nashville. That counts for something.
I think it’s just been worn down.
My entire existence in this city has been a battle, with only a few moments of relief and financial security in between the major setbacks. That’s what I wish the people close to me would get about my current mindset. I’m tired. I haven’t given up, I don’t think I’ll ever do that, but I’m tired. I’ve been pushed down into holes and fought my way back up countless times. Each new opportunity I’ve fought for, I welcomed with open arms and an open mind, gave my 100 percent, and still have ended up getting screwed over. It’s like life builds me up just so it can knock me down again and laugh. Get knocked down enough and yeah, your sunny disposition is bound to change.
I just wish people could be proud of me for getting back up, even if it’s begrudgingly. Even if I’m complaining. What they don’t understand is that every bit of me wants to just stay in bed.
I don’t particularly enjoy door dashing but at the very least it’s nice to be my own boss. It’s nice not to have to answer to anyone, to do it on my own time, and to hold myself accountable. I started late today, but I stayed out until I made what I needed to make. I’ve always been a hard worker. That hasn’t changed, even if my outlook and my faith in other bosses has. I think it means I’m meant to create something and chart my own path. Frankly, I guess it doesn’t matter if people don’t understand. I know who I am.
I was really hoping this would be a happy entry because, for the most part, I had been finally feeling like things were back on track. With the new car, I’ve been able to get back into door dashing and I’ve been really disciplined with it. I knew how much I needed to make each night in order to cover all my bases for rent and bills this month and I had a good game plan. It was nice to look in my account and see a couple of hundred dollars. I felt satisfaction at the end of every night when I was finished and had added more. I felt pretty motivated for the first time in a long time.
Last night, I even started an hour earlier to get ahead, and that’s when it happened. The check engine light came on.
It’s like every time I make a small gain, a wrench gets thrown into my plans. I don’t know why it surprises me anymore but as Kelly Clarkson would say, “here I am once again.”
I went to the dealership today and the soonest they’ll be able to check out my car is Tuesday. I leave for the holidays on Wednesday.
I don’t know what I’m going to do. I guess I’ll just have to do a marathon when I get back and sell off more of my belongings.
At this point, it’s out of my hands. I’ve had a headache since last night that won’t go away. I'm going to just throw my hands up and focus on enjoying my weekend.
As most of you know, I’m a big sports fan. I also think sports are a great metaphor for what it’s like to try and make it in the music industry.
In sports, when different teams go into a game it's hardly ever fairly or evenly marched. There are always advantages and disadvantages at play. Some teams go into a match a clear favorite, some have key players, some have injuries, and some have the best resources and facilities available. Despite all of the stats people use to determine who is likely to win, the reality is that when that game starts both teams are tied at zero, and anything can happen. That’s what makes the game exciting. Often times sheer willpower, mental toughness, lucky breaks and even an enthusiastic fan base behind you can make that all-important difference.
This morning I watched the World Cup final with my boyfriend. Argentina versus France. Argentina’s performance felt very metaphorical to my current music situation.
Argentina started off the game very solid. They had good possession of the ball and spent the majority of the game at two zero, then, France fought back and tied it up again.
All that Argentina had fought for that entire game had suddenly vanished. In a way, it was zero once more. Their previous hard-fought goals and ball control suddenly meant nothing.
Then came the extra time. Argentina was able to score, and again, everyone in the stands cheers and thinks okay, this is it, they finally won, but France hit back AGAIN. At this point, as an Argentina fan, it would be easy to panic, to feel like everything was unraveling, or maybe fate wasn't going to be on their side.
After 90 minutes and extra time played, the World Cup would be decided over penalty kicks. Perhaps more a battle of wits and luck than skill at this point, but in the end, Argentina finally pulled it out.
Lionel Messi, world-renowned as one of the greats finally get’s the one piece of hardware that matters most and solidifies his greatness in gold.
I feel like there’s some innate part of human nature that drives us to want to root for something. Very few of us are brave enough to put those hopes and expectations on our shoulders and try to be something great, risking letting everyone and ourselves down. It’s why I don’t mind being an underdog, and why I’m not afraid to share my struggles. The way I see it, like a good sports game, the more setbacks you face, the sweeter a hard-fought victory feels. When people feel down and out but dig deep and find it in themselves to keep going, it inspires us all. At the end of all this, no matter if I win the big prize, in the end, I at least hope my story can be remembered fondly as a riveting tale. A "good game" if you will.
It’s a new year, and a lot has happened since my last entry, I just haven’t been writing because I’ve been doing a lot of doing.
There’s something about a new year that feels like a clean slate. Pessimists will say there’s no such thing as “new year new me” but I think there is something to that phrase. Maybe it’s because we and our natural world operate in cycles. We’ve made it around the sun again, so our systems can reset. We’ve got a blank slate and the things that weighed us down in the year prior feel lighter somehow.
At any rate that’s how I feel.
I started my Christmas break stressing myself into a crying frenzy because all of my money got wiped out by credit card and loan payments and I wasn’t going to make rent on time. The very next day, I was offered a new day job. A real one with a salary and benefits.
I’m still very behind in a lot of ways. I need to make the rent money up to my roommate (who is thankfully being flexible about it) before our lease is up, and I’ve now missed two big loan payments. I’m starting the year off with -$77 currently in my account, but somehow I don’t feel as burdened. For the first time in a long time, I feel like things are going to be okay. I feel like things are going to work out. Maybe it’s the new year, or maybe it’s because everything that could have gone wrong already did and somehow (with a lot of help from family and friends) I’m still standing.
I know it’s going to take a lot of work, but I feel more energized than ever. This is the year I’m supposed to release new music, and I’m determined to see that through. I’ve even got a new Kickstarter campaign going so that no matter what else happens, I’ll be able to afford the masters (please donate if you can!)
I’ve had some more articulate, profound thoughts about this concept here and there, but I haven’t written them down (most of the time I have these thoughts I’m either driving or trying to fall asleep.)
In simple terms, I’m ready to get off the struggle bus. I’m ready for luck to finally start breaking my way. I’m also ready and willing and more energized than ever to work smart for the things that I want. Something big is coming this year. No matter how hard the road has been or how many setbacks I've encountered victory is inevitable. I can feel it in the air.