Real Talk

Hi friends, time for some public journaling.

Yesterday was a rough day for me. I had gone to bed late, woken up late, missed a webinar, taught some piano/guitar/voice lessons virtually, then stayed in bed doing NOTHING for the rest of the day. I ordered food in and tried to think of what I could do to break the cycle of nothingness, but the inertia was too strong. I called a few friends to see if they wanted to hang out 6 feet apart, but didn't get any yeses. I didn't exercise, or brush my teeth, or read, or make music, or do any of the things that help me feel good.

I video chatted with some people and saw that they, too, were hitting a wall. Maybe there's some science to lack of socialization after this amount of time or maybe we're all PMS-ing, but I just craved human contact. Doing nothing for a day feels ok when there's someone to spend it with, but I was should-ing on myself all day and resisting everything I came up with.

The day before I had an amazing conversation with my friend Hope Dunbar about music dreams. I picked her brain on what she wish she had known a decade earlier in this seemingly glacial-growth of a folk music career. She told me, among many other gems, to give yourself permission to JUMP THE LINE, that you have already built all the skills, talent, and foundation to DESERVE big asks. Your hero artist is coming through? You deserve to open for them. To give yourself permission to go for your dream and not be one-foot in, one-foot out. She told me to write myself a letter from the Shanna who has accomplished her dreams- the Shanna who has co-written with Taylor Swift, and toured with Steve Poltz, and opened for Ingrid Michaelson. I started to write that letter, and it was inspiring, but also, the underlying thread of it was- hey, you've done great so far, now it's time to WORK HARDER.

...and then I did the exact opposite of that one day later. Ugh. But it's ok. Because this is a long haul, not a fast where if you broke the fast you ruined the objective. I'm back to life today, and I worked out and set my mind straight and I'm really looking forward to the Saturday Night LiveSTREAM show tonight to share music and feelings and be with people, albeit virtually. 

In Alanis's song "Hand in my Pocket" she talks about all these contradictions. "I'm scared, but I'm restless. I'm free, but I'm really gone. I'm broke, but I'm happy" And that's what I'm feeling right now. I'm not depressed. I'm happy. I love my life. I love that enough people believed in me to fund an album that I'm still working on, and that enough people believed in me to contribute to me every month and be a part of the club over at Patreon. There are so many people that have my back, but I'm still scared. I'm afraid of getting where I want to be on my own, without a team. I don't know how to critically listen to my album mixes because I don't have the language around what I wish I was hearing. I'm afraid if my musical dreams are always in MY hands then they'll be as scattered and unfocused as my brain is. I'm afraid there's so much that I can do that even a day of not taking a step forward means I don't have what it takes. I'm afraid people with money to pay for high-dollar publicists and videographers and social media experts and producers will hare-past me while I'm tortoise-ing along, trying to figure this out. I need help. 

Basically I'm scared to care too much. Life is so much easier when there aren't stakes. I'm happy where I am, but I don't want to be here forever. I think that's ok. If I were a better guitar player, singer, songwriter, businessperson, maybe then.... That's the funny push-and-pull of satisfaction and ambition. I don't want to rest on my laurels, but I don't want to be ungrateful for what I have, and think "I'll be happy when."  I have an amazing life and people that support me, but funny how that "I have to do this all alone" feeling can still be so prominent. Anyway, rant over. Thanks for listening. 

 

6 comments

  • J.J. Fraser
    J.J. Fraser Golden
    It's always a pleasure to listen to you, and now a privilege to receive your sharing of some low times. It feels a little surprising, contrasted with your smile and bubbly persona, but it actually computes because obviously, you're a sensitive artist. There are many of us who share and understand your feelings, so don't feel strange, much less guilty. Keep well and musical.

    It's always a pleasure to listen to you, and now a privilege to receive your sharing of some low times. It feels a little surprising, contrasted with your smile and bubbly persona, but it actually computes because obviously, you're a sensitive artist. There are many of us who share and understand your feelings, so don't feel strange, much less guilty. Keep well and musical.

  • karen Finch
    karen Finch home?
    wow, and yes! we can be just as afraid of success as we are of failure and right now it seems everyone's demons are popping up...I've had my own version of similar feelings and mini breakdowns at different times this last month...the need to feel supported in a very tangible way,but having to be my own cheerleader for all my choices and actions. ...Luv ya, YOU are doing GREAT!!

    wow, and yes! we can be just as afraid of success as we are of failure and right now it seems everyone's demons are popping up...I've had my own version of similar feelings and mini breakdowns at different times this last month...the need to feel supported in a very tangible way,but having to be my own cheerleader for all my choices and actions. ...Luv ya, YOU are doing GREAT!!

  • Ted Lazo
    Ted Lazo Paris (the one in France)
    When anyone asks me how I am I always tell them “I am great, life is wonderful”. This is true and false at the same time. But it helps me to keep going forward, to believe that I’m doing the right thing, and also help others maybe feel a little bit better about themselves. Am I know where I would only want to be? No, but I’m slowly trying to get there. Good luck!

    When anyone asks me how I am I always tell them “I am great, life is wonderful”. This is true and false at the same time. But it helps me to keep going forward, to believe that I’m doing the right thing, and also help others maybe feel a little bit better about themselves. Am I know where I would only want to be? No, but I’m slowly trying to get there. Good luck!

  • Howard
    Howard Kansas City
    The trials and turmoil you're experiencing is normal. We all experience it. It does't matter what the line of endeavor. No one is immune. Knowing that everyone around you has felt or is feeling exactly the same emotions, don't hesitate to reach out. I decent person will share with you the ways they pushed through to the next level. And, don't be surprised when you learn that it's not a one-time event. You'll experience the same emotions and struggles just before every breakthrough.

    The trials and turmoil you're experiencing is normal. We all experience it. It does't matter what the line of endeavor. No one is immune. Knowing that everyone around you has felt or is feeling exactly the same emotions, don't hesitate to reach out. I decent person will share with you the ways they pushed through to the next level. And, don't be surprised when you learn that it's not a one-time event. You'll experience the same emotions and struggles just before every breakthrough.

  • Deborah Goss
    Deborah Goss Lexington MA
    Hello Shanna, Heard you on Dan & Faith's Songwriter's Circle on Wed. Such wonderful songs and singing - I sure wish you the best in getting however far you want to go in the 'biz'. I guess it's all about writing a 'hit' and then having the stamina to keep going, especially if you get famous. I'm equally happy to see and hear the fantastic journeypeople who just miss the kind of fame that becomes intrusive on living a happy life. Being a 'star' on the 'road' is taxing on body and soul I'm sure - but they're my heroes. I've never had much physical stamina, and only in my 40's did I find a musical path that made sense and it was compromised by family responsibilities, my own immaturity, and a musical partner even older than myself -- and both of us had injuries to contend with. Now, in my early 70's I've feel like I've come alive with ideas and courage just as other faculties are clearly compromised and the pandemic is limiting collaborations. Ackkk! Couldn't you just scream? Yes. I'm sure. I'd love to be on your New England mailing list. \Looks like you'll be around (CT?) in Fall 2021. Hope you'll make it a real NE tour and get to Boston/Cambridge area. Go for a gig at Passim in Cambridge and when you're here, if things are back to semi-normal, there are tons of possibilities for house concerts. open mike features (John Ferullo runs one) and really good cafe and coffeehouse gigs in the vicinity to fill-in between major venues. Audiences are pretty generous. Maybe you've been here and know that already. The singer/songwriter community here is incredibly welcoming and talented. I'm constantly blown away by the dear people who are also great writers or performers or both, and also so many who may not be great, but occasionally hit one or two out of the park. ...I do go on! Anyway, keep on keeping on and stay well! - Deborah

    Hello Shanna,
    Heard you on Dan & Faith's Songwriter's Circle on Wed. Such wonderful songs and singing - I sure wish you the best in getting however far you want to go in the 'biz'. I guess it's all about writing a 'hit' and then having the stamina to keep going, especially if you get famous. I'm equally happy to see and hear the fantastic journeypeople who just miss the kind of fame that becomes intrusive on living a happy life. Being a 'star' on the 'road' is taxing on body and soul I'm sure - but they're my heroes. I've never had much physical stamina, and only in my 40's did I find a musical path that made sense and it was compromised by family responsibilities, my own immaturity, and a musical partner even older than myself -- and both of us had injuries to contend with. Now, in my early 70's I've feel like I've come alive with ideas and courage just as other faculties are clearly compromised and the pandemic is limiting collaborations. Ackkk! Couldn't you just scream? Yes. I'm sure.
    I'd love to be on your New England mailing list. \Looks like you'll be around (CT?) in Fall 2021. Hope you'll make it a real NE tour and get to Boston/Cambridge area. Go for a gig at Passim in Cambridge and when you're here, if things are back to semi-normal, there are tons of possibilities for house concerts. open mike features (John Ferullo runs one) and really good cafe and coffeehouse gigs in the vicinity to fill-in between major venues. Audiences are pretty generous. Maybe you've been here and know that already. The singer/songwriter community here is incredibly welcoming and talented. I'm constantly blown away by the dear people who are also great writers or performers or both, and also so many who may not be great, but occasionally hit one or two out of the park. ...I do go on! Anyway, keep on keeping on and stay well!
    - Deborah

  • Steven Mcfadden
    Steven Mcfadden
    Singers are those people who used to amuse people who the talent of their voice. According to the essaywriter.org site, They have such a type of natural ability in their voice that they can calm down the anger as well. Singing is not about passion it is something that is God gifted. You can not become a singer by passion only.

    Singers are those people who used to amuse people who the talent of their voice. According to the essaywriter.org site, They have such a type of natural ability in their voice that they can calm down the anger as well. Singing is not about passion it is something that is God gifted. You can not become a singer by passion only.

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