If my Nashville story was a T.V show, I feel like the past two days would have been the first two episodes of season three.
Season one was my arrival. It introduced me as a character and gave me my first round of challenges and wins. Season two's plot centered on external challenges like the pandemic and ended with a new love interest.
Season three I'm hoping is going to get back into the music side of things. For the first time in a long time, this story has some consistent funding to work with.
I started my waitressing job two days ago, and honestly, I'm liking it so far. My biggest hurdle when it came to keeping jobs has been the start times, and at this one the earliest I’m being asked to come in is noon. I’m feeling optimistic about it. I feel like I've got the hang of things and I’m looking forward to bringing in some tips and getting that first paycheck.
Once I’ve got the money situation handled, I feel like the rest will begin to fall into place a lot quicker. My music still feels stuck right now but that will change as the money rolls in. I have to be disciplined and focus on the money first.
I’ve got my first performance of 2022 coming up, so that’s exciting. I've also gotten significantly better at guitar, I can almost even play and sing Into the Sun, although I haven’t practiced over the past two days, so I need to make sure I keep up with that.
As the money rolls in, I think I’ll feel a lot more secure. I’ll be able to start planning things. The Biden administration just announced that they’re delaying student loan payments even more, so that should buy me even more time.
I’m optimistic. I feel a sense of newness about this time period. I feel like I’m moving out of a period of struggle, like I’ve just opened the window to a stuffy room and breathed in the fresh cool air. Right now, I’m tempted to say that I know it won’t always be easy, but I’ve realized I need to change my thinking on that. Why shouldn’t it be easy? Why shouldn’t life be abundant? This is the kind of energy I need to put out and the kind of mindset I need to have. I’ve struggled enough. I deserve the good things that are coming my way. I’ve also really been trying to shift my focus to enjoying the present moment and what I have rather than what I lack. It definitely helps. Whether or not things work out, what difference does it make if I’m choosing to be happy?
I believe things are going to work out, and I firmly believe having an attitude of gratitude will be critical to that outcome. being stressed or putting self-imposed deadlines on my success isn’t going to get me there any faster. What’s going to do it is believing in myself, not giving up, working on things consistently, saying yes to opportunities (even when they're out of my comfort zone), and uplifting the people around me.
I spoke too soon. Today is not a good day.
I am trying so hard to be positive, and I feel so gross complaining about having a waitressing job because I feel like I just sound lazy but I already hate this.
I have a bunch of bills this week and I won’t get paid till NEXT Friday. I feel like this is the main source of stress right now. I genuinely do not know how I’m going to pay these bills. I probably just am not. I don’t know what happenens then, debt collectors start harassing me? Some boogie man shows up and tries to take my stuff?
I only had two tables today which was really discouraging. The way that ended up happening was a little sketchy, which I won’t elaborate on. The point is I’m frustrated. I also had to be there by noon today which sounds manageable, but since I was up till 5am the night before I was still really tired. When I got home I took a nap that turned into a sleep. I canceled a write I had scheduled and was going to still practice guitar/go over songs for the performance Sunday but I ended up sleeping past the time I was supposed to. My body felt like it wouldn’t wake me up. This means that this job is affecting my ability to do music things. This is a huge problem.
I’m already having to miss things. One of my friends is having a get-together with a bunch of music people, I’m scheduled to work. Saturday is the Nebraska spring game, - I'm scheduled to work. The FOMO is real.
This is only week one. I have to remind myself that. I know I’ll adapt, and I know I'll feel better once I do get paid. Right now while I’m going home empty-handed (when usually server jobs cash you out at the end of the night) is what’s making me feel this way. I’m sure once I deposit that check I’ll feel differently.
The check is the key to everything else so I have to do it, even if I hate it. That’s the reality I’m dealing with. Welcome to the real world.
I don’t like it. I don’t want things to be this way, but I can’t change the system by myself and I can’t afford to do what I love if I’m not part of it. Hopefully, the time and sacrifices I make now will allow me enough success with music to break out. I have to make myself believe that’s true, or else I’m going to lose my mind out here.
Tomorrow I’m working a Friday night. I should hopefully get a lot more tables. The pendulum may swing aggressively in the other direction and I may be overwhelmed. That seems like the only choice I get when it comes to working a day job. Being overwhelmed and exhausted with enough money or feeling good mentally and physically but being broke.
I’ve been trying not to think this way but it’s hard when it’s been hitting you in the face for the past three years.
So what makes the difference? How can one avoid getting sucked into the cycle and find a way to have some agency in life?
Believing you’re working towards something greater that that, something that will actually feel worthwhile at the end of the day. That's what I hold on to. That's what keeps me going.
Today was a better day. I made almost $400 in one shift.
Turns out being part of the system is a lot less stressful when you walk away at the end of the day with some serious dough.
In all seriousness, I’m still very tired tonight but I feel a lot more satisfied with how my time was spent. Like I said before, being free isn’t being free if you're broke. I feel less stressed right now because I’m not panicking over the next bill I have to pay.
I hope my body will adapt to these hours and the money will keep rolling in and maybe, just maybe, I’ll finally find the balance I’ve been looking for.
Dare I say, I think the tide is finally turning in my favor?
Over the past week, my best friend has been in town and that’s been loads of fun. I’m very grateful to have people in my life who are willing to cover me so that I can go out with them.
Working the waitressing job has been good. I can’t complain. I’m going into a double shift tonight so I may complain but I’m also probably going to make a lot of money so it evens out.
Anyway, this week I also had my first performance of 2022. My friend Dani Felt (who is amazing) put together a benefit concert for Voices of Children, a charity that uses art therapy to help children in Ukraine cope with war trauma.
Being that this was the same weekend my friend was in town, I was hungover that whole day. Luckily that finally subsided in time for the show.
The show included a fantastic lineup of many friends including my boyfriend (who also played guitar for me) so that made it fun. My roommate even got to join after another performer backed out last minute. With a table of our friends, an attentive crowd, and a full space, it had all the ingredients for a great show. I felt super relaxed and in my element. The crowd laughed at my jokes. A writer there I know (who also does a lot of sync licensing) approached me afterward about my song “Dandelion” and said it would be great for TV or film. This is what progress feels like. Sometimes playing a good show is all the morale boost you need as an artist out here. I’ve been slugging away for a while so it felt so nice to have a night that felt like a win.
As I wait for my first paycheck from the restaurant, my car has crept closer and closer to being on E for empty. I hadn’t refilled it because I needed the money for bills. I’ve got two notches left right now. I’ve been trying to drive minimally.
This morning I woke up to an extra thousand dollars in my account. I figured I may have gotten paid early (my manager was asking me for my info) but it turns out it was actually all of the backed-up unemployment payments I thought I’d never get. It feels like a miracle.
This is what we in music like to call “a lucky break.”
I’m not a particularly religious person, but I couldn’t help but notice the timing of this is only a few days from Easter. Easter time, in its essence, is all about revival, new beginnings, and most importantly, hope.
My life has continued on an upward trajectory. I just got offered another day job, this time with benefits. It feels like the for first time in a long time I’m FINALLY not going to be struggling financially.
I’m also getting things moving with my EP. This is something I’ve been stressing about but I now have dates scheduled with the session fiddle player and am coordinating with a drummer. I’ll now have the funds to pay for these things. I want to get the instruments recorded so I can finally move on to vocals. Who knows? A summer release may still be in the cards.
I was able to come home to visit my family for Easter. This was really nice. It was a celebratory gathering that truly felt like the start of a new adventure. For once I'm excited to back to Nashville and get back to work instead of dreading going back and trying to figure out how I’m going to keep going.
Things are looking up. Things are warming up. Spring is in the air (even though it just snowed in Illinois) and with it, a sense of optimism about my path that I haven't felt in a long time.
I feel like the past week my life has been going 1000 miles an hour. I have had a super long to-do list and not a lot of time because I was working so much at the restaurant. That began to feel a little overwhelming.
Thankfully, I’ve had a couple of days off to slowly but surely cross things off of my to-do list. I’ve found the final session players for my EP and have connected them with my producer to schedule recording, so that is exciting. I can’t wait to start singing!
I am a little nervous about my new day job, just because it’s been so long since one has worked out, but I’m optimistic. I’ve decided I deserve to be hopeful.
I’m going to try and work both jobs for as long as I can simply because I need to be able to fund my project. This makes me a little nervous as far as burnout and my personal life, but since we’re not in the thick of the pandemic anymore, I feel a lot more motivated. It also helps that the money is a lot better. Working longer hours is a lot less stressful when you are being reasonably compensated.
I’ve been slacking a bit on TikTok and guitar, so that’s something I’m going to have to work on. I feel like once I get more of a routine going I’ll be able to plug those things in daily.
I also need to start working out more. As I switched out my winter clothes for summer clothes this year, a lot of my old clothes don’t fit anymore. This hasn’t happened in a while and is really disheartening. It can be stressful to gain weight when you’re in an industry that values appearances so much (which is stupid because it’s literally music) but I’m trying to be easy on myself and recognize that my body has been stressed out for months and it helped me survive a pandemic. I know I can be a bit healthier, and it won’t take much. A bit more working out and a bit less drinking and eating fast food and a bit more veggies in my diet should suffice. I also need to keep the focus there on being healthy and feeling good rather than looking a certain way.
There is a weird kind of anxiety that comes along when things start to work out, especially when they haven’t for a long time. I feel myself bracing for a catch or a catastrophe, simply because my experiences have shown me time and time again that things are supposed to be hard. This time though, I truly believe it’s going to be different. I’m ready to let success come easy. I’m ready to have the money I need to do the things I want. I’m ready to enjoy my life and live in the moment while watching all of my plans fall into place. I’m ready to get good luck and allow lightning to strike for me when it comes to opportunities. I’ve been setting myself up for this for three years. I deserve for things to go well and there is no reason why they shouldn’t. Let the new chapter begin!
I’ve never been one to fear success. I always thought that was such a funny concept. Why would anyone not want to get everything they want? Who doesn’t want to succeed in their pursuits, what’s the point otherwise?
However, this week I’m feeling a little bit of that. Or maybe It’s not so much that I’m afraid of good outcomes, rather I’m afraid of the unknown and my mind keeps finding ways to convince myself something bad is happening when it isn’t.
I’ve been working hard at my waitressing job and trying to juggle new music plans. My time doesn’t really feel linear right now. My other new job provided me with a lot of home office equipment, much of which sat in boxes in my room until 2 am the night before my first day. What I’m feeling right now is anxious and a bit overwhelmed. Dare I say… scared and unprepared?
I feel like I’ve been struggling so much and grinding so hard for so long that my mind can’t reconcile with the fact that I’m about to have a steady income with a job I enjoy. It’s not computing at the moment. My brain is currently looping on two thoughts, there’s a catch and I’m going to hate it somehow, or I’m going to screw things up for myself before I even get off the ground.
What I want to believe is that I’m going to enjoy myself and do a great job. That is the reality I want and deserve to live in. But I can help the butterflies I’m feeling in my stomach, or the desire to procrastinate.
Maybe part of me fears that success here jeopardizes my music career, but I don’t think that’s it. If anything, with this job I’ll finally have the means to do the big things I’ve been talking about, and that is a bit scary. It’s easy to stay in your comfort zone with the excuse of not being able to afford otherwise. Now I need to seize the opportunities I find. Now I need to be striving for more because things are finally within reach. No matter how within reach they are I still need to put my hand out there and grab for it if I want it. That comes with the potential to be embarrassed or rejected but it’s what I need to do if I want to progress.
Having all of those boxes in my room was very overwhelming. I’ve learned over the years to calm things down by attacking a task like that one step at a time. It’s also been really important for me to clear out the clutter along the way. I feel like there’s a good metaphor for life in there somewhere but I’m too tired to be philosophical right now.
So in plain English, once I opened up all of the boxes and moved all the excess packaging out of my room, it left me with objects to assemble and problems to solve, but it felt a lot more doable just to have the sheer size of everything reduced.
I have pretty strong imposter syndrome when it comes to working a day job. Getting a computer, a printer, a monitor, and everything else should make me feel like things are official, but I feel like I’m a kid again playing pretend. This is something I face in music sometimes, but the corporate world feels even more unnatural.
Couple of things to remember when going through big life changes.
1. Be grateful for good problems. A month ago my problems were that I was not making enough money to pay my bills, putting my car and myself in danger by driving uber eats and door dashing late at night, and the stress was taking a huge toll on my mental health. My problem now is that I have to unbox and put together all the free stuff my new high-paying job with benefits sent me because they believe in my potential enough to make those investments. Although I may not enjoy the process, it’s still something to be happy about.
2. Remember that progress isn’t supposed comfortable. You’re doing something new and you’re not going to have all of the answers up front. Even though it feels scary and even impossible at times, know that it’s in your nature as a human to adapt to your surroundings and before you know it, everything that feels so foreign will become your new comfort zone.
3. Remember above all else you deserve to be here. You were chosen for a reason. You don’t have to be perfect to be worthy of where you are at and what you’ll receive. None of us have this thing called life figured out, not even the most adulty adults. Some just make it LOOK easier than others. Everything in our society is made up. you are no exception, neither is your boss.
Step three is the hardest one for me at this point. I haven’t had a stable job in two years. I had some jobs where my passion and knowledge were underestimated and unappreciated. I took roles I wasn’t meant for and was destined to fail at because I needed the money to survive. All of that can take its toll on the way you view yourself no matter how much you tell yourself you deserve to be somewhere. It’s okay. Feel your feelings. Just remember that’s all they are and don’t let it stop you.
This isn’t the past. This is today. This is the future, and the future can be as bright as you want it to be. You will try and fail and learn along the way and ultimately end up where you’re meant to be. I truly believe that.
I am dealing with an ear infection right now, which is a bummer. The hypochondriac in me is getting more anxious about it by the day. Covid really made me feel like any minor ailment could be a serious problem. The anxiety tells me, "of course something bad should happen right as everything else is working out!"
I’ve been taking amoxicillin and I don’t know if it’s working. I don’t feel pain but my ear still feels clogged, although not as much as on previous days. It’s a distracting and unfortunate worry in the back of my head that I have to deal with. As a musician my ears are everything, and my paranoia keeps telling me if I don’t get more treatment now it will spread and cause major harm.
But thinking like that won't help. What will is seeing an ENT and getting whatever it is (likely a minor fix) taken care of. It will be okay, and even if it somehow weren’t, adding stress on top of it won’t be helpful.
I’ve got this. I’m going to be okay. Things are going to work out. I deserve to be happy, healthy, wealthy, and successful. I deserve to have balance in my life and pursue my passion and purpose. I can do great things. I will do great things.
I went to my first in-person song salon in two years today!
Song salon for those who might be new to this blog is a weekly meet-up of writers where everyone shares a song and gets feedback. It’s one of the first things I did in Nashville and has played a huge role in making me a better writer.
I almost didn’t go, I was so exhausted from my first day at the new job, but I knew I couldn’t miss it and I’m so glad I went.
Song salon keeps my creative wheels turning. New ideas used to come so much more easily when I was going weekly. There’s something about listening to other works with a critical ear that snowballs into new ideas for me, and of course, the songs I bring in to be workshopped end up better as well.
I got some good notes but I don’t have time right now to revise my song or start another. I will make time for it this week. I’m doing a lot and dealing with a lot so I can cut myself some slack on that. I’m proud of myself for going even though I was really tired.
I have not kept up with this blog, and it’s because I’ve been out living.
These past two months have been a whirlwind. I’ve been on a major upswing, which means there hasn’t been a lot of time for ruminating on my feelings and writing.
I’ve been working hard and playing hard. My new job has breathed new life Into my ability to live life to the fullest. I did a waterfall hike. I can afford the healthy meal prep companies again. I can pay for my mom and my boyfriend to go candle-making, and I got to attend back-to-back music festivals (CMA Fest and Bonnaroo) for FREE. I was going to write in here about how much closer I feel like I am to making it ( physically closer to the stage in the stadium is the perfect metaphor) but I didn’t have time cause I’ve been jumping to the next thing.
For a while, I was working the new job and still waitressing but I ended up losing the waitressing gig due to scheduling conflicts. I was upset about this at first cause I liked the extra money but I think at the end of the day it was a nudge from the universe. I need the hours after 5 pm to work on my own stuff.
Speaking of my own stuff, my EP has made a lot of progress. All of the session music has been recorded aside from pedal steel (and acoustic guitar on one song.) I was actually supposed to start vocals Monday but that will be delayed due to pesky covid hitting too close to home again. I’m doing some special voice lessons to prep. I’ve also talked to a director/videographer about a music video concept and bought a ball gown for my cover shoot. Things are falling into place, slowly but surely.
Because I have been crazy busy, I do feel like I’ve been slacking in other areas, this blog being one of them. I’ve been pretty MIA from TikTok this month which I know isn’t good. I know I should be expanding onto other platforms, not slacking on my biggest one, but I just haven’t had the time or energy. I also fell off the wagon again with practicing guitar. I can better afford to pay players to accompany me now, but that’s not the point. I need to be able to accompany myself and put my performance career into my own hands.
There is a part of me that believes the good things that are happening to me are too good to be true. That something’s gotta give, or something’s gotta go wrong. Maybe it’s just the theatre kid in me that craves some kind of drama or adversity to keep working though, or maybe I’m still traumatized from 2020. Either way, I’ve learned it’s a lot less anxious at the bottom. There is something very freeing about having nothing to lose. Right now I feel like I have everything going for me, which is the perfect recipe for disaster. I’ve spent a lot of time positive thinking and manifesting the things I currently have, I need to not be so surprised that my dreams and visions are coming true and not be so doubtful that I’m deserving of it.
I do feel a bit overwhelmed by the daunting pile of work that will go into the release of my EP. I’ve worked on this for two years so I really don’t want to fumble the ball on the one-yard line. I want my vocal performance to be on par. I want my release strategy to be optimum. I want to have enough money to market properly. I want to give this music the best shot it can have to make a splash because it will be a while before I can save up enough money to record more. This investment needs to have longevity. It needs to be able to buy me more time.
With how busy I’ve felt, it almost seems impossible that it’s all going to come together. Maybe I’ve just spent so long trying to stay afloat I’ve forgotten what it feels like to win. It’s like Nebraska football. I’ve got to finish this with confidence in myself, not allow my anxiety to create problems that otherwise would not exist.
Something I can do is not hold myself to arbitrary deadlines. I tend to feel like my music is seasonal, and am panicking that my EP won’t come out while it’s still summer (even though it’s hot in Tennessee through October.) Maybe it’s not the ideal situation, but we’re on a floating rock for crying out loud. I can release this music whenever, and I need to take the time to do it right.
I’ve worked my ass off and goddamn it, I deserve the good fortune I’ve been experiencing lately. There may be hiccups along the way, but it will work out, in the end, no matter what. Why? Because I decided it will.