Faith. That is the word of the day. According to Webser:
Date: 13th century
1 a : allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty b (1) : fidelity to one’s promises (2) : sincerity of intentions
2 a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) : complete trust
3 : something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs
synonyms see belief
— on faith : without question
As I count down each day until my album release, I am consumed with the idea of faith. What ever you might think this process might feel like for me, I can guarantee you it feels somewhat different. I am embarking on a new chapter in my life…..solo. Being alone on a journey has its pluses and minuses. On one hand, being solo means I have 100% freedom to do what I want to do, without having to “coordinate” with another person. I don’t need to get any “buy in”, “permission”, “approval”, “agreement”, and I don’t have to ensure my actions don’t impact someone else negatively. On the other hand, I also don’t have a direct support system next to me. No fall back, no safe place to land, no safety net, no emotional support. There is no-one to directly support me in the excitement and the happiness nor the days I am like a deer in headlights.
Now, I do have close friends I call, shreeking with joy and anticipation, and my family humors me, but there is no one person with me on this journey. It’s just me…and my faith. It reminds me of the episode on Sex and the City when the character Miranda Hobbs is purchasing her first apartment in New York City and the realtors kept asking her if there was another buyer, a spouse, a partner and how could she afford this all by herself, how could she take on this responsibility all by herself, and she kept saying..”it’s just me.”
It also causes me to reflect on the years in my life where there was someone with me, and it was not “just me.” I remember distinctly how it felt to pursue my music without the support of my “other” half. In my early 20s, I have different men I dated and/or was engaged to, none of whom were musical. None of which understood anything about music or songwriting or what I was trying to do….making those people incompatible with my deeper self…of course, I did not realize that at the time. I just keep plugging along, attending my songwriting and music events…solo. Thinking that this is just the way it was for me…go it alone. The fellow songwriters and artists I met during the music events become my support group and musical family, providing what I was unable to find at home. In an ironic twist, I got so involved in the music industry, through volunteering with music organizations, I became a leader and the one encouraging others to follow their dreams…and helping learn the steps to making money making music. By encouraging them, I was actually encouraging myself.
I remember suggesting to one of my “other halves” that we move to Nashville, TN (living in Atlanta, GA at the time.) so I could be closer to the music industry. Mr. Other Half said, “why would I move there..there is nothing for me in Nashville, and my job is here in Atlanta.” Ah, yes. the sweet words of support spewing out from Mr. OH. I can remember finally dragging said OH to one of the open mics I was performing at in Atlanta, and of course I was last on the list. He brought a friend of his who was equally not “into” the original music scene. They just did not get it. Finally the following words were said to me by Mr. OH, “I’m bored, when are you going to sing.” To which I replied,” I’m not sure, I’m toward the back of the list. Why don’t you just leave.” And, Mr. OH and fried did leave.
So, sure, I was not officially solo, but I might as well have been. This person was with me, but did not understand me or support this ambition in me. So, I had to carry on…solo.
Now, after several men in this category of “non-musical” partner, it is no wonder I married a musician. I had finally found someone who “got it”, who understood what I was trying to do and was also writing and recording their own original music and performing. Now, this was bliss….but not for long. The core of this person was incompatible with me, and the music turned out to be the world’s greatest distraction from our real issues until I could finally see the strobe light and truly hear that our music together was off-key! When the I finally realized I had to leave, I did leave; packing all my most important possessions….my self-respect, my pride, my strength, and my dreams.
So, here I was…solo again. This time, however, I vowed to stay that way. I realized I was too easily led away from my dreams by others and that it was just going to be easier to avoid romantic partnerships in order to focus on my music. So i did. Going solo. Getting focused. Getting knowledge. Gaining courage and information. And, years later, finally I am seeing it all come together. Totally worth it…but it does cost. And I willingly paid.
One of the stories I will never get out of my head, was one during my married years. My husband at the time, had a band that was essentially a trio. The two of us and one guitar player. The guitar player was a working professional, with an important, professional day job who loved music and had dreams of being in a band in his youth. He was interested in joining our band. Now, this guitar player had a family..a wife and a son. They were not musical, but his family humored him as he set out to be part of this band. As is the case with bands, we rehearsed…a lot. Which meant, we all had to get together and that meant 99% of the time, the guitar player came to where we lived and many times during the week, after work. And, anyone who knows anything about Atlanta knows how geographically spread out it is. This makes getting places a real effort. In another phase we expanded the band to work with some other musicians and we went to their house, in yet another far off part of Atlanta. Now, the guitar player, when he joined the band, was entirely clean shaven. Over the months of rehearsing, writing, recording and performing, he started to grow his hair and a beard – eventually creating his own ponytail. As the tension grew at his home, from him spending so much time away on rehearsing on what was “of course” going to prove a “loosing endeavor”, he was told to quit. Every day/night he was with the band, he was not with his family. “You have a choice..your music or your family, I’m over it.” I was told the wife said to the guitar player. So, of course, like any man who loves his family, he chose them over the band. The day he came to our home to tell us he was leaving, he was…..clean shaven and had cut all his hair back off. Symboilic. I’ll never forget it. He had cut off his dreams and his ability to find a way to be both husband/father and guitar player in a working band.
I felt so bad for this man. Having to choose. No one should have to choose. You have to find a way to incorporate your dreams into your real life. Otherwise, you are just miserable. I understood why he did what he did. But, I was never going to let go of my dream. I would find a way to incorporate what I love into my real life. And I did find away.
So, the point I hope I am making is that behind the scenes, my life is one filled with faith, above all. But, I am a risk taker. And, not averse to change. Not afraid to take off to another country. Not afraid to see what it really takes to live my dream. I have no idea what this is like. But, what I do know, is I take it very seriously.
I shut down my apartment in New York City. I sold most of my belongings and gave the rest to charity. I store my most precious keepsakes and I am staying with a close friend in The Hampton’s until it is time to head to London to promote my album. It is a lot of change for one person….and it is a real test as to how serious I am about my music career. I like what I have found out about myself so far.