Realizing

 

I was stuck.

I wanted something so bad, but my linear thinking made it impossible for me to move, let alone to move in a direction that would actually get me where I want to go.

So I stalled out.

Last year was a heck of a year.
ALL THE THINGS came up. (For details you can read my blog entry down below 👇 titled, Sincerely, 2023.)

I was being uncomfortably directed by the Universe to look at everything, and either let go, reshape, or allow it dissolve into mySelf to become a part of my expression.

I lost my social media accounts for some inexplicable reason, and I thought, okay well I don’t need social media, it’s just something they say I have to have. Maybe I’ll just forget that and see what happens.

So I did. I let go of my presence on social media for almost a year, and most parts of that were glorious. I was actually inside my life instead of trying to avoid it or show it off.

I shared what I was doing via email and text, and the circle was really small.

It felt real. But I didn’t have any influence or reach beyond my circle of friends.

So, that’s what that feels like. Okay.

I traveled back to Austin to play a songwriter festival in Dripping Springs, and to finish the vocals for the full length record I had started in 2022.

My first performance at the songwriter festival felt like my most terrible performance in years. I was stacked on stage with these 3 other incredibly powerful voices, and by the time I got to my turn, my little ego had collapsed in on itself, the sound was poor, the audience was disengaged.

It was triggering. I know why.

I’ve never felt like I belonged in the Austin songwriter scene. It’s competitive and it acts like a caged animal. There’s not a lot of room for odd ducks.

I’m not, like, a super odd duck, but I’m strange in the sense that I do care more about building community than I do about the ladder, and most people just don’t really seem to trust that.

That’s okay. I know where I’m coming from - most of the time.

At the festival my ego was in charge.
The ladder builder.
It had something to prove.

“You’ve come so far,” it said, “you have to show these people that you belong here.”

Well. I didn’t belong. Again. Still. Because I still felt like I needed to belong.

I tried lamenting to some new friends about my struggles after I got off stage - still triggered - and nobody wants to support someone else’s ego.
So I lost touch with people. There I was, helping to build a ladder, and I wasn’t even welcome on it.

That ain’t who I am, ma’am.

I can be that way, but thankfully I know myself beyond that.

So, I was learning to forgive myself for my ego, and moving on.


Then I had to record the vocals for my full length record - the one that was gonna make me proud.

I’m tellin you guys, the stars really did align back in 2022 when we recorded this thing.
The musical production is DAF, the arrangements, everything. And all I needed now was the thing I was scared of most - MY vocals.

Back in 2022, I had so much faith in this record.

I chose to make it with Sam Rives, Jordan Matthew Young, and James Gwyn - the band.

I had played music with Sam (bass, vocalist, ultra musician). I knew he got what I was going for.
Sam suggested James for drums. And I asked my hero friend, Jordan, to play guitar.

They’re astounding musicians, and I had faith that it would come to pass just as I knew it could.

When we went in it was magic.
We had so much fun!
It was totally connected.

Y’all, between then and now, I had built this project up SO HIGH in my mind. I was planning to use it to speak for the entirety of my musical self.

What a fuckin setup.

Of course when I recorded the vocals in October, they just were what they were. It’s just me.
No matter how you cut it, I’m always there.

The problem is I’m always just not good enough.
I never seem to be able to get on my own side.

I came out of that session (after handing over a stack of cash) thinking:

How in the world am I going to make this worth it?
It’s just a record.
Nobody listens to records. Nobody cares about 40 year old women tryin to make their dreams work out.

These were the thoughts. It doesn’t mean they’re true, but I sure believed them.

I had a three day drive back across the country to my small town, and I had a giant queue of YouTube videos to listen to on the drive.

One of the very first videos I listened to was Dan Koe’s One Person Business Model.

In 2 minutes in I was hooked.
This guy was talking straight to my face.

Dan’s content is so motivating, so paradigm shattering that it enabled me to draw a completely new map for my future reality. A map that had broad, sweeping highways, intricate cross sections, intimate dirt roads, and a fuckin chunnel.

I finally began to see myself as more than a songwriter.
I began to see myself writing. Creating a path for myself through the work I already do.
I saw that I just needed to organize.
Follow my own plan. Package it up.
Sell it.

KNOW MY WORTH.

Not everyone wants to buy your product. I don’t even have a product. But I’m building one.
I’m learning marketing. Persuasive writing. Social media strategies. Content creation.

In that 3 day drive, my entire life changed. Not because my circumstances had changed, but because my perspective had shifted to encompass the most expansive view of myself I had ever seen.

In the span of an hour I decided to I wasn’t going to use this project to complete me.

Y’all - I just LET GO of that.

Why not think of creation as a simple allowance of the expression that’s already there?

I got home. I started writing. I started to film myself.

Wow.

Talk about triggering. I had a real problem with the way I look.
My sense of worth has long been tied up in what I look like. [Sorry, dad, but I do have a memory of saying to you one time how I thought Janis Joplin was so beautiful, and you said to me - “Janis? Well, you must have been looking at a good picture, because Janis is a dog.”]

Janis reminds me of something deep inside myself. What am I supposed to do with that judgment as a 12 year old girl? I layered it on.

Of course I don’t blame my dad for his programming either - it’s passed down. It’s simply something to be recognized, so that I don't have to live by it.

I do know that there is something inherently beautiful in each unique expression.

Beauty standards get people to conform and buy into a system of self-doubt and self-hatred.

Well, I bought in from childhood.

Trigger, trigger, bang!

But it was a few short weeks of recording myself, figuring out the lighting, camera angles, makeup, blah blah blah, before I realized the other day, I just don’t really mind how I look anymore.  

Haha, wtf? How did that happen?

I might never have come to that if I didn’t just start filming myself. Really taking myself in.

Of course there was a ton of judgment at first.

Tears, annoyance, fatigue.

But all of that was me figuring out how to love the expression that I AM.
That I AM allowing.
In each moment. What a difference. What perspective.

This is just a simple little update, and an answer to my own question from 3 months ago - How?

LIKE THIS.

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