I’m sad today. I’m dwelling on things I can’t change and overthinking everything.
There’s no remedy to missing someone. There’s nothing anyone can say that will make it better. The best you can do is distract yourself. When you do feel like you’re moving on, it scares you because you don’t want to forget about them, so you keep yourself there.
I still don’t know what I’m doing on the Fourth of July. My birthday is also coming up. I really want to enjoy myself, and I’m frustrated by my own sadness.
All of this might be too personal to even put out there. I might just be writing this for myself since I’ve got nowhere else to say these things anymore.
I was able to channel some of these emotions into a co-write with some new people, so that was exciting. The song turned out awesome, and in a weird way, it did make me feel better. Who knows, it might even make me rich one day. Right out of the tswift playbook.
Life goes on, time heals, that’s not the issue. The issue is knowing that there’s nothing else I can do at this point. Giving up isn’t something I do very often.
What I can and will do is channel this willingness to succeed into my own work. That I can control. That I can continue to pour myself into right now. My energy is lacking, I'm grieving, but what I do have I will do my best to put it somewhere.
I can’t wait to look back on this in a couple of years, laugh at how intense I felt about something that will seem trivial in hindsight.
I needed tonight. I needed it badly.
Tonight I played at the La-La Lounge, which is one of of the most vibey places I’ve ever played. It’s set up like a cozy living room. Completed unplugged and reminded me of my Shakespeare globe theatre days, performing in candlelight under a tin roof.
I didn’t know what to expect from this place. All that I knew was that I had a show I couldn’t back out of. I finally mustered up the motivation to shower and get ready after a day of laying around in my own misery.
Tonight was very similar to the storyteller's unplugged show I did a while back but more formal. It was so nice to have a captive audience. The venue had the rules of a theatre, so no phones, no talking, no leaving or going to the bathroom during a performance. Most of my performances out here aren’t this way. If you’re in a bar or restaurant, even when some people are listening others are talking and eating. This was different. This felt like a real show.
I was oddly comfortable up there, even after everything I was going through, and even after dreading being there earlier in the day. I told my stories and sang my songs and it was really nice to feel like people cared. They laughed at my jokes, they resonated with my stories. This just reiterated that this is what I love.
Afterward, me and my guitar player Matt got tacos. It was the first night in a minute I feel like I went to bed satisfied and happy.
This is the first time I’ve written in a couple of days, I suppose that’s a good thing. I’ve been out doing things instead of sitting inside and dwelling on things. I’m coming down from the highs of my birthday weekend, so I’m inside dwelling on things again.
Over my birthday weekend, I allowed myself to put all my worries and stress on pause. My mom and one of my best friends were in town and it couldn’t have gone any better. Now that they’re gone, I’m back to feeling a little lonely. Beyond that, I actually need to start getting my shit together.
For starters, I need to get more money. My copywriting job as I know it is ending soon, and even with that I still wasn’t making enough to sustain myself. I have a decent amount saved up from 2020 but it’s shrinking. This is troubling because that is the money I need for my EP. I’m not in panic mode yet because I have some wiggle room with my credit cards, but I need to stop being so indulgent until I can find a more steady income. That is a challenge because being indulgent is what has kept my spirits up for the most part. I really don’t want to have to drive Postmates again. I don’t want the wear and tear on my car and I know that every time I do that I risk damaging my car. There’s got to be something better out there for me. The problem is I have no interest or motivation in any day job anymore. The things I’d like to do, like my part-time Nashville sports league job don’t make enough money. A year ago I could pretend to care about my day job but I’m just not in that mindset right now. I don’t know how to fake it anymore. I want someone to pay me 50k for doing the absolute bare minimum, or something that makes me feel like I’m actually making a difference in the world and not just wasting my finite time on earth paying to fund my boss's hopes and dreams at my expense.
I’ve been irritable lately. I don’t know if it’s just sadness manifesting as something more bearable, but everything around me has been getting on my nerves. I don’t want to feel this way and I feel bad, cause I’ve kind of pulled back to avoid lashing out at friends and people in my household, but I can’t right now fight this feeling of being constantly annoyed at everything. Maybe it’s because I feel stuck right now. I’m hoping once I start progressing, getting myself in a routine, and getting back to focusing on my goals I will start to feel better.
I reached out to my producer today, I’m hoping to break ground on the EP soon. I think that will really help give me a sense of purpose and direction. Right now I’ve found myself questioning my point of being here. Everything feels so stagnant, I can’t afford to work towards full band stuff right now, I feel like I’m just going through the motions. Like meh. Like a stale piece of bread.
After spending two days binge working and being on my phone all day, tomorrow I am going to do a social media detox. I think that will help.
I haven’t booked any more writers rounds. I think I need to get some more things in order before I do.
I did get myself a law of attraction goal book. I think that will help. I also hope to buy a pet fish soon.
I haven’t written a lot because I’ve been out living life. Things have turned around significantly since my last entry. After feeling my irritability subside after working a flag football game for my league coordinator job, I concluded that maybe If I want to be in a better mood I just need to go outside more. So the following day I went for a walk at Shelby Bottoms. When I go on these walks I make sure to be in the moment. I even turn my phone on airplane mode and I refuse to check it. It even briefly rained while I was walking but I didn’t mind. It felt like I was being cleansed by Mother Nature.
I can’t stress enough how important it is for someone in my line of work or anyone for that matter to take the time to do things like this. The walk was beautiful and it really helped ground me. I didn’t let myself worry or stressed, I just took the time to enjoy breathing the fresh air and the way the sun looked through the trees. There was even a point where I saw these really strange, what I would describe as spider web balls, and I felt the urge to make a TikTok about it but I didn’t. This wasn’t the time for that. This was about centering and grounding myself.
I then had my first soccer game with my NSL team I joined with a music friend. The game itself kicked my ass. It was noon in July in Tennessee, and the heat was excruciating. I had to sub a lot and even felt myself getting dizzy/ almost throwing up. Even when I was out I still feel like I couldn’t cool down. I also am far from the soccer player I used to be. A part of me felt a little ashamed, but I was mostly just proud of myself for getting out there. It felt like a perfect metaphor for chasing a dream in music. You need to give it your all and leave it all on the field. Do YOUR best even when you don’t feel like you are the best. I got through the game, I got some exercise, met some new people, and I had a fun time. That’s all this life is really about at the end of the day. I’m proud of myself for being here when I otherwise would have been sleeping.
To my pleasant surprise, I was then invited to play beach volleyball in the centennial park later in the day. I went and I had even more fun (it was less hot.) I wish I would have done this more when I first moved here. It would have been a lot easier to make friends.
The next day my songwriter friend had a murder mystery party. I’ve always wanted to go to one of those. It was so much fun because everyone there fully embraced it, we even came in costumes. It is a lot easier to move on from things when you’re spending time with friends. That’s the healthiest way to cope IMO.
I also landed an interview at a meal prep company I use in town. Having hit a wall with copywriting, maybe this is something that will actually stick. I’m excited about the opportunity and hopefully can even get some free food out of it.
Tomorrow I’m meeting with my producer to talk EP stuff. This weekend I’ve got two friends with release parties along with a friend's show and my roommate and I are throwing a Christmas in July party. Summer is finally starting to feel like summer.
I also feel like I’ve had a profound mindset shift as of late. I am still going to have massive goals. I’m still going to shoot for stadiums and I’m for damn sure still going to believe in myself. But I've also realized that I don’t need to allow these things to stress me out anymore. Being a dreamer and a believer doesn’t mean I have to be dissatisfied with where I am. I have decided to fully embrace and enjoy where I am every step of the way. Kind of like with the soccer game, the fact that I got out of bed and got on the field even in the face of obstacles means I've already won. My job now is to just enjoy the adventure, wherever it takes me.
Another week has gone by since the last time I wrote in here and it’s because I’ve been really busy. It’s been a good kind of busy.
For starters, my producer and I have really got going on my EP. we are laying down the groundwork for the instrumental of these songs. It has been so energizing to finally hear these songs come to life, having spent months and even years only imagining what they would sound like. I truly believe this EP is going to show cause some of my best and most thoughtful work yet.
I also attended a slew of release parties this weekend, which made me feel really immersed back in the Nashville way of life. Going to these parties not only gave me the chance to reconnect with people I hadn’t seen since the pandemic, but it also really energized and motivated me for my day to come. By the time my EP drops, I want to work myself back up to a full band.
Sunday I played a soccer game, worked, and my roommate and I hosted our Christmas in July party. It was fun because this was my first time helping to execute a party that wasn’t a family party. Everything really came together. Our house decorations were on point, we had cute activities like ornament making, a white elephant gift exchange and a funny naughty list, and even a signature punch. The only downside was that majority of the friends that I’d invited bailed on me. Only two of them ended up coming. I was worried I was about to feel like an outcast at my own party, but thankfully my roommate's friends came through and we're all awesome people. It still didn’t stop me from wishing I had stronger ties to people here. I feel like I try to do all I can to show up for other people, and it hurts when it’s glaringly obvious they won’t do the same. I try not to take it personally, I know we’re all adults and busy, but I’d like to have close enough friends here one day that I know I can count on instead of feeling anxious and let down.
Regardless of that,. It was still a really fun night. We started at our apartment and ended with karaoke at the iconic Santa’s pub. It was the soberest I’ve ever been at that place (normally I’d just end up there somehow at the end of a night) and our group brought the right energy.
On Another positive note, I ended up getting the job at the meal prep company. I knew the universe had put that hiring notice in my way for a reason. I not only get to wear athleisure as my dress code, but I get two free meals every day. I think I will do a good job at this place. I’m happy I won’t have to write another email or social media post as work for a while.
I also had something interesting happen to me on social media which I really want to talk about because I think it is super relevant for aspiring artists nowadays. As of now, I have almost 20 thousand followers on TikTok. This is really exciting and is something I view as essential to building my fan base. I’ve always wanted a large fan base but I’ve learned as of late with more following comes more exposure and more room to be picked apart and criticized.
Long story short, I made a response to a snarky jingle that had been going around that I didn’t agree with. It was regarding what small businesses charge for things. It seemed to have begun with artists just wanting to be paid what they’re worth, but it quickly devolved into something I deemed to be inappropriate and wrong. The line, in particular, I had a problem with was “we don’t owe you affordability.” “ it’s out of your budget it’s not overpriced.”
Aside from recognizing that this is just not a great business strategy, I really didn’t like how this wording seemingly talked down to lower-income people. The notion of “we don’t owe you affordability” is the reason why some people in this world can’t afford to have their basic needs met, like housing and healthcare. As an artist myself it has always been important to me to be accessible and affordable, one of my biggest goals is to one day have a stadium show and give fans who bought nosebleed seats the front row. Having not always been able to afford things, affordability has always been something I personally want to provide to others when it comes to my music. It is something I believe ethical people would strive to provide their fellow humans, regardless of if the thing is a necessity or not. I think art is a necessity, it’s intrinsically human, has been proven to help people’s mental health, and isn’t something I think should be reserved for the wealthy.
All this to say I took what I thought and rewrote the jingle in a way that represented my perspective. It definitely had some sass in it to match the energy of the original. The video quickly grew to 50 thousand views and had a lot of likes and affirming comments, which proves I wasn’t alone in my way of viewing the original.
But then something else happened. I started getting hate and backlash in my comment section. I started getting people making strawman arguments in my comment section and accusing me of all kinds of things, and just generally being rude. I found myself arguing with people and before I knew it the whole day my mind felt fully enveloped in this discourse. It was extremely unpleasant but I couldn’t help but continue because I felt too determined to be right.
After a while, it began to take its toll. I felt completely out of it, unable to be present because my mind was so consumed by the back and forth. I was in the studio recording my EP, trying to focus but I couldn’t, I kept wanting to check my phone, respond to everything and anything.
So then I did something I’m still not sure I feel good about. I took the video down. Not because I felt what I said or thought was wrong, but because I couldn’t handle the pushback anymore. Like I said, it consumed me. I couldn’t get out of it or away from it.
I feel like it was the right decision as far as my mental health, well-being, and productivity was concerned. I had previously unfollowed everyone on Twitter and Unfriended, everyone, on Facebook for similar reasons during the election. It just became too much, I didn’t wanna hear it because I know I would feel compelled to keep responding and responding to people who were determined to misunderstand me.
And the thing is, it isn’t just about me. What I also want to avoid is having real-life friends who are also trying to grow their plant forms not wanting to associate with me because they don’t want me to hurt their brand. Ideally that won’t happen and people will be able to separate friendships in real life from brands but you never know. It worries me. And the truth is I’m aware of it and I don’t want to hurt their brand either. I definitely don't want something I did or said to cause someone else backlash cause of, like guilt by association. But I also thing friendship should be stronger than that, ride or die, so IDK. I go back and forth.
The problem is, I hate the idea of my voice being silenced, regardless of weather or not I did it with my best interest in mind. I almost feel like I’m censoring myself, not being true to myself, succumbing to pressure rather than standing my ground and that isn’t like me. I Don’t want to water myself down, but it’s also really anxiety inducing to be perceived by so many faceless strangers. At the end of the day, I am on social media to promote my music, not argue with people. I don’t want to hurt my brand or allow some other issue to overshadow my music. But I also want to be true to myself. But I don’t want to get baited into endless arguments and let it ruin my day. This is the back and forth I have in my head for a while now.
I’m naturally defiant. I wanted to keep it up just so they knew they couldn’t silence or intimidate me. I wanted them to know in spite of what they were doing I still stood by what I said and believed I was right. But at the end of the day, my actual well-being is more important than trying to make simple-minded people understand why they’re wrong. My efforts in that regard usually only end up with myself feeling drained and frustrated. I’ve gotten so much better at walking away from conflict that doesn’t serve me, and not letting my pride or rebellious tendencies get in the way. At the end of the day, I don’t need to convince people determined to misunderstand me I’m right in order to be assured that I’m right and know what I'm talking about. I don’t need their approval and being unable to persuade them doesn’t make me any less valid. Realizing this now has saved me from so much stress. It’s still difficult though and it’s hard for me to decide where and when to draw the line. When is it worth it to argue? Is it ever? The way discourse happens online about everything, even the most noncontroversial topic, keeps becoming more and more polarizing illogical. It has really made me dissallusiobed about social media. If you're online all day it really starts to seem like there are no reasonable people left in the world, and no nuanced takes about anything anymore. The more my popularity grows it seems inevitable that there will be more people looking for reasons to hate me or tear me down, just because they're bored and it's something to do. I’m a confident person, I love myself and at the end of the day I know I can turn off my phone and escape but the prospect is still daunting. I imagine being a big celebrity and someone digging something up about me from years ago where I was being ignorant or insensitive and using it as a reason to try and ruin everything I’ve worked for. I’m a human, I know I've made mistakes and haven’t always been the best representation of myself. No one gets out of the public eye unscathed, expect maybe Dolly Parton. The more my popularity grows the more aware I am of this. I am continuing to work on coping strategies. The truth is a lot of people out there are miserable and hate because there is nothing better for them to do. Nothing will persuade them, so I need to be more disciplined when it comes to walking away from those conversations without feeling like I’m betraying myself or my ideals.
In the end, the person who made the original jingle ended up getting so much backlash that they ended up deleting their whole account. I felt weirdly affirmed by this and I don’t know if that’s wrong. Crazy people and wrong things like threats aside, it felt good to know that enough people agreed with me that the thing I was criticizing got shut down even though I felt like I was forced to be shut down. At the same time, that feels kind of hypocritical, and the better solution is to be able. to have reasonable discourse, but I don't see that as possible online anymore. I think overall my takeaway is that the internet is not a good place for productive discourse. There has only been many one time I’ve had an online argument that I walked away from feeling positive about. It usually just frustrates me, drains me, and ruins the rest of my day. I used to think that I was doing something important by voicing my opinions online, particularly my political ones, but this year has really shifted my perspective on that. The truth is there are so many more ways to use my voice effectively. I honestly doubt I have ever changed someone’s mind about something online, but I have gotten involved in actual organizations and campaigns that have made a difference in advancing issues I care about. I also always find in-person discussions to be much more productive. That’s not to say I’m not going to post strong opinions online, I honestly don’t think I could help myself if I tried, but I am much more strategic about it. I have to be out of necessity or I am going to drive myself insane. It's nice to have places like this blog, where I'm not limited by characters and can really articulate myself the way I want to without interruption.
Later that night I played a writer's round at the Commodore Grille where I felt like I was completely on my game. Everything from my intros, to the banter with the audience to my singing, felt right. Felt easy. Felt the way it should be, and it washed away all of my anxiety from earlier.
At the end of the day, what I’m here to do is make music because it makes me happy, everything else that comes with it is just noise, and I’m getting so much better at tuning it out and instead, following the lead of my own voice.