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.