This post consists of notes I took leading up to and during my move back to Nashville. I've completed my thoughts and edited them into this post on July 10th.
Thoughts I had before moving
The weeks leading up to my return have been filled with an overwhelming sense of dread. I’ve been spending the past couple of months in Illinois, one of the few states that been handling the coronavirus pandemic properly. I frankly don’t have faith in Tennessee’s leadership and though Nashville’s mayor has more common sense than most, it appears that those in and around Nashville aren’t taking this as seriously as they should. I’ve seen videos of packed Broadway bars and some artists even holding traditional concerts. Culturally it seems that Tennessee as a whole is a state that thinks ignoring the virus will make it go away. It won’t. And it scares me to think I could get sick because of someone else’s carelessness, and that I'd be sick without my family able to reach or help me.
I understand the appeal of ignoring a problem and hoping it will go away, and I definitely understand the need to return to the pre-pandemic life. One of my best friends invited me to go out to Lake Geneva in Wisconsin to celebrate her birthday. I wanted more than anything to go but feared briging the virus back home to my family. Ultimately I decided to stay home but felt extremely angry and sad the entire day. I’ve been in Illinois for a couple of months now and haven’t been able to see my hometown friends. Knowing they are within a short drive of me and that I could not spend this time with them was extremely frustrating. I’m a people person. I need social interaction. I hate being isolated and alone because my mind goes all over the place. I’m an enneagram 7 (with an 8 wing) so I have extreme FOMO. Seeing people out and about and ESPECIALLY out playing music, makes me want to do the same against my better judgment. It’s a constant struggle. If this whole thing wasn’t so politicized, there wouldn’t be such conflict. It’s so easy to see what the solution is, but with all of these mixed messages and outright defiance of science, the water suddenly becomes muddy. I am going to do the right thing, at my own expense. If I knew my actions would only affect me, maybe I’d take more risks. I am a risk-taker after all, I mean look at my life. But other people’s lives aren’t mine to gamble, and this virus is contagious. This virus is contagious. And people need to stop acting like that’s not the reality we’re in.
But I won’t pretend to be completely altruistic either. The thing is, this is a respiratory disease and I am a singer. Even if the virus didn’t kill me (being young it likely won’t) it could still permanently damage my lungs. There is a lot still unknown about the long term effects. I’m not going to risk my entire career on one years worth of shows. However, that doesn’t make me any less envious of those who do decide to play anyway. I want to be out there, I miss it more than anything. And my frustration ultimately is that if we’d all just hunker down as other countries have successfully, we could all get through it faster. I love America but god damn, y'all make it hard sometimes.
Beyond the coronavirus, there are some things I actually am looking forward to. I am excited about my new apartment. I'm moving out of Bellevue (about 20 minutes from downtown) and my apartment that backed up to the woods and into a more modern place right downtown. It's what I'd wanted from the beginning.
I am also excited that I won’t be tied down to work responsibilities and can look for new day job opportunities. I feel a lot better when it comes to uncertainty in this regard because it means I’m not on a set path. My former job was a good place to start, but now that I'm a couple of years into this and making strides with music, I may be able to get away with less traditional lines of work with a more open schedule. Being bogged down with a 9-5 gives me anxiety. I feel like it's eating away at my time and keeping me from opportunities.
I’m excited to get working on my EP thanks to my Kickstarter fundraiser. I also plan to start a podcast. I’m going to be laying the groundwork for much bigger achievements to come, but I’m impatient. It will be hard to focus on my building blocks when I can see others throwing parties in their full-blown houses.
I’m going to be turning 24, which is about the age they start telling you you’re too old to start a music career (ignore it, ladies, they don’t get to define you, you do) it’s the first birthday where I don’t feel like there’s anything special about it. 21 was legal drinking, 22 was two twos which were cool, 23 was my Jordan year. 24 doesn’t feel special, except for being one year closer to 25, which is a quarter of my life gone if I plan to make it to 100 (which I plan to) but in being a quarter, feels more balanced than 24 seems to at the moment.
I’m doing my best to take it a day at a time. It's hard to plan for a future that feels so uncertain during a present that feels so chaotic. Donald Trump's presidency and Biden’s ability to stop it weigh heavily on my mind because I want all of the lying, corruption, discrimination, and human rights abuses under his reign of terror to end. I'm sick of the divisiveness, I'm sick of the horrible people he’s emboldened, I hate seeing the worst in people, and I don’t want him to get anyone else on the Supreme Court. Being under the constant threat of potential fascism is not pleasant. I'm ready to get back to common decency and regular republicans.
I have my music video coming up, and that's been a year in the making. I’m hoping that day will make me feel better.
In a way, this quarantine has been a vacation from reality. When I say “vacation” I don’t want to understate the magnitude of what’s been going on, but I mean for me personally. One minute, I’m a completely self-sufficient adult with a full-time job, constantly on the move between surviving the day and chasing my music dream. I had barely any time to eat and sleep. Then I was suddenly back in my childhood room, being supported by my family, and not having nearly as much to do with my time. So I’m moving back to Nashville, and I’m feeling a lot of the same anxious feelings I felt the first time I moved there. On the other hand, I do see it as an opportunity for a fresh start and a new beginning. I think the downtime has been good for my mental health, and I’ve begun to get restless, which usually leads to a lot more productivity in the long run.
I’ve been struggling with motivation and it takes a lot of energy to do the bare minimum and I am hoping Nashville will inspire me to get going again. I haven’t pushed myself because going through a global pandemic is a traumatic experience that also has physical ramifications. The weeks leading up to the start of all of this I was in the hospital after fainting in a Starbucks. Within a week I lost my day job and lost what was supposed to be my first show with a full band/music video release party with my whole family in town. I’ve had some co-writes and have worked on music initiatives here and there, but I've been making it a point to practice self-care, so it’s been a balancing act.
I'm not sure what the world will be like in the next couple of months, and I'm not sure what it means for me going forward. All I know is that my lease is up and as amazing as it's been being back home, Nashville is calling and I have to answer it whether I'm ready or not.