“All your dreams are on their way, see how they shine”

This is the last weekend of my 20s.

I spent much of my twenties being incredibly uncomfortable. I worked jobs I didn’t like just so I could live in the city and not have to move home. I sang with a band at venues that didn’t pay very well. I tried to date people and get the attention of people who weren’t invested in me.

I babysat and worked with kids (which was honestly the best thing I did post-college. Those kids made me smile and laugh and sometimes I felt like they made more sense than any of my peers).

I got a job at a dive bar. I drank heavily for a period of time. I would literally stumble home at night, lean over on the side walk, throw up on the concrete, and then continue home. I did not like my circumstances, even though they were circumstances that I had chosen. I complained about them for awhile, then a good friend said to me, “Do something about it. Change your circumstances.”

So I applied to grad school. In a different state. I got in. I turned it down and moved anyway. I still drank heavily and dated the wrong people. BUT! The service industry job I worked didn’t suck. I worked with people I liked being around. I got a job singing with a cover band that paid pretty well. I was a performing, paid musician! I had dreamed of being able to sing professionally my whole life, and I was doing it!

I actually DID go to grad school. I dropped out. After one semester. I surprisingly didn’t like it. I didn’t feel that the things I was learning would help me make more money, or make me better at anything I actually wanted to do.

And as many musicians do, I dated an alcoholic. I had to decide to leave three times before I really left. That relationship was the saddest, most tragic, life-shattering thing I’ve ever been a part. I could not sleep. I could not eat. I could not believe he could do the things he had done, I couldn’t believe that that was the love I thought I was worthy of, and I couldn’t believe that there are SO MANY PEOPLE WHO LIVE THEIR LIVES LIKE THAT.

I felt like I was floating in some sort of spiritual purgatory after leaving. I knew I was free to be happy, but I wasn’t entirely sure what that looked like. There was a weight I felt still attached to him, but I felt it was a scary, dangerous weight that would drown me if I looked back.

I subbed with different bands. I met the man I will marry next summer because I left that band and that relationship.

I got hired to teach kids music and aerial yoga. Literally, I got to teach kids how to fly.

I joined a different band that paid even better because I decided to leave the one I worked with him. I enjoyed the songs more. I enjoyed my work.

I met the woman who would introduce me to a stream of income I had no idea existed. I found people who were working toward something bigger than themselves. I found people who spent their time getting to know people and seeing if there was a way they could make their lives better, instead of help them ignore their problems, or create distractions from their goals.

I stopped working that business for awhile, and went to work on cruise ships. One day, there will be a long entry about that because even starting to think about it makes me think that it will take a boatload of words to even begin to describe the ins, outs, awesomeness, and draining things that goes into working that industry.

But I have revisited that business this summer, and it’s something I want to do for the rest of my life. There is a culture and a specific type of person that looks for ways to help multiple people find a purpose in life. And not only find purpose, but breathe life, and energy, and positivity into others, and to help people believe that we always have more to give, even when we hear “no, you can’t,”  “no I can’t,”  “no, that’s not real,” “no, I’m just not interested,” “no, what are you even doing?” over and over again.

MY ENTIRE TWENTIES WERE A “No, I can’t” “no, you can’t” “no, that’s not real” ERA. And I am graduating from that course, and moving. On. Up.

I am so. SO. SO, SO so so so so so grateful for everything that happened. People, jobs, friends, relationships were there as long as they were supposed to be. I’ve learned to let go of the heavy, and move toward the light. There was a lot- A LOT- of heavy in this decade of my life. And I know there will be more. But I’ve also learned to be more aware of it and identify that I don’t have to stay in things/places/jobs that make me feel heavy.

I can move through the discomfort, and grow because of it.

You can too. We are all worth more, and capable of more.

There is always light up ahead. You just have to look for it. And when you see it,

reach.

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All I Have to do is Dream. Dream, dream, dream

My beau and I are getting back on a cruise ship in three days. We’ve had 5 weeks off between contracts, which is long enough to get some rest and recharge, but not completely deplete our bank accounts.

I have mixed feelings about going back. This will be my second contract, which I know will be different from my first.

Things I am not looking forward to:

Wearing a nametag. Having to dress a certain way to get some fresh air. Not being able to cook. Not being able to go home at the end of the day and get space from people I may not feel connected to. Tiny, uncomfortable bed. Potential sea sickness

Things I am looking forward to:

Singing with boyfriend every day. Seeing new places and ports. Meeting new people. Seeing some people from the last contract. Having New Orleans as a home port. Cozumel. Being in warm places in the middle of winter. Having the ship rock me to sleep. Best sleep I’ve had in years was on the ship, even if the beds were tiny. Not having access to good wifi.

I know that last one is weird, but I am on my phone a LOT, like any modern human of 2018. And it takes me hours sometimes to start my day because of the wormhole the is clicking and scrolling.

Anyway, I wanted share my overall general experience of my first contract. It is hard to share this in person because it’s hard to narrow down exactly how working on a cruise ship will be for every person. Some people love it, some hate it. I swung back and forth on the spectrum:

The first half of our contract was rough for me because I didn’t know how to express myself without a band behind me. I didn’t know how to move my body, I didn’t know how to be free within the same songs that we performed every single day. We both would go through phases of feeling energetic and free and being bored and tired. I felt like I’d stepped out of a life that I had built and enjoyed: teaching and singing and yoga– to some weird corporate musicians-are-slaves subject to judgment and ratings world. And I had my person with me, but I didn’t want to admit to him that I wasn’t happy with the gig. I was with him, so I should have been happy right?

I was, and I wasn’t. Lots of growing pains happened.

I really missed singing with a band while I was gone. I can’t tell you how different it is to sing with another voice and guitar versus feeling the vibrations of drums and bass and horns. But there is a different energy and creativity that came up when I allowed. My voice strengthened on that contract.

An energy shift happened halfway through our contract. We figured out a way I could pull some leadership into our duo. Ship people left, new people came. And there was love and light in the newness. I accepted that I was where I was, and I had chosen to be there. What I had left would still be there when I got back to land.

Our very last night on the ship was one of the most fun nights I’ve ever experienced. Almost all of the music department was in the pub and we sang and performed our hearts out with the band, and with the other duo on board. Afterwards we drank and ate and laughed and ran around the crew deck putting stickers on our friends’ doors.

When my boyfriend and I signed off the ship the next day, we had been on that ship for 23 weeks. Five months. We had worked together, practiced together, ate every meal together, shared a cabin, and literally shared all of our ups and downs together. We were hungover, had gotten two hours of sleep, felt backed up if you know what I mean, and we had to wait in line at immigration for two hours. We were delirious and laughable.

Boyfriend told me on the bus as we rode to the airport to come home that day that he was proud of me for leading the band through a song I had struggled with when we had first started rehearsing. He also said that it wasn’t just the new people that gave us energy, but that we had raised the vibrations on the ship so things could be better. We gave people energy, and they gave it back. Energy is a cycle. Real love moves freely in both directions. We allowed ourselves to be open to the change.

When I came back to Austin, I noticed the things that had changed and things that had stayed the same. I felt grounded. I’m sad to leave, but I’m excited to come back and see what growth will happen in the next few months.

I’m working on raising the vibe. Always. And I’ve got a wonderful partner-in-musical crime.

 

Once Upon Another Time

Well hot damn, it’s been about a year since I’ve written in this thing.

I used to write a lot in my online journal. I had a xanga from the time I was about 14 until I was 24. My xanga helped me through high school, college, and then my years in San Francisco. Xanga shut down right after I got to Austin. So I got this here wordpress, and I just… missed the formatting of xanga. Figures. I guess you could say I miss when people had landlines and dialup too.

Anyways, I’m going to turn 30 this year. THIRTY! It’s time I start throwing some knowledge down! Or at least, tell stories. A lot has happened since the last time I wrote. And I simply miss the cathartic and therapeutic act of writing. I’ve been writing tons in my personal journal. Actually, last night I drank a bottle of wine and there’s now a page of barely-legible rambling in it.

But hey, I filed my taxes last night! After driving 3 hours from Austin to Dallas. I deserved that bottle of wine! I then watched a movie, read a Cheryl Strayed Dear Sugar advice column out loud to my boyfriend and cried over it because it was so damn beautiful, then I read a chapter of a David Levithan book I’ve had for a long time but haven’t gotten to yet. Oh yeah, I also attempted to register with the Yoga Alliance now that I have my 200 hour teaching certificate, but was too drunk to figure that out. For a night in, it was very eventful.

Which brings me to this morning: I laid in bed with the aches that accompany one who consumes an entire bottle of white wine paired with Cheez-its at 3AM and who has also started her lady time. I remembered the events of the evening (I am definitely not in my early twenties anymore) and I searched for a tax return from a few years ago, just to compare how much I’ve grown.. financially. (It hasn’t changed much to be honest, but my passion for what I do has grown the older I’ve gotten and become more selective about my work, and the amount of hours under stress has lessened). But of course, I typed in my mom’s email address (because duh, she used to do my taxes), and I found a few pieces of writing I’d done– from helping her with essays she took in college, to an angry letter I had written to a boss in my early twenties and then forwarded to her, to a xanga entry I had written about my parents half a decade ago.

I’m going to start sharing them here over the next few days before I leave. And then, something I want to do is share an entry a week (or at least be-weekly) while I’m on my next cruise ship. Because life happens on cruise ships. It’s a very different life, but one that should be recorded because it’s really hard to describe it once it’s in the past.

I have a good friend who recently started rewriting in her wordpress after a hiatus, so I’m following her lead. You should follow her too. She’s insightful and fabulous and travels everywhere in the world.

I also found a link that led to Cheryl Strayed’s original Dear Sugar column on therumpus, before there was ever a podcast, so I’ve been reading that a lot this week. My relationship with her writing has changed and grown as I’ve gotten older. It’s always full of love and adoration, but different subjects strike me differently.

I love that particular entry from Dear Sugar titled “Tiny, Beautiful Things.” The part that used to get me was the part about the balloons. I thought it was so beautiful. But as I read it out loud to my boyfriend last night, the section that started my waterworks was,

“You cannot convince people to love you. This is an absolute rule. No one will ever give you love because you want him or her to give it. Real love moves freely in both directions. Don’t waste your time on anything else.”

I have my one true love now. He is realer and freer than anyone I’ve ever known. A story on him to come soon.

I am all over the place with this entry, but it’s my first one in a long time. I’m getting the kinks out.

Please be patient with me as I get my shit together, because I will blow your mind, I promise you =)

What it all comes down to, is that everything’s gonna be fine, fine, fine

Well, it’s almost 4 in the morning on a Tuesday night/Wednesday morning.

I just got home under an hour ago from a gig in San Antonio with my band. I could’ve been home by 2 AM, but, alas, we had terrible luck as the band rode into the Walmart parking lot, which is where we usually leave our cars when we have out of town gigs and then we ride in a van/rig together.

Walmart had decided on this beautiful evening to redo their black top surface. And in order to do that, they towed ALL of our cars to a location about 15 miles north of where they were parked.

Many bands I’ve played with will park at this particular Walmart– it’s right off the freeway, it’s usually near a lot where rented vans/rigs are stored. Walmart is open 24/7, so generally as long as we park our cars in a scattered manner, we generally don’t worry about getting towed.

It’s been a night. I’m going to bed. Other things have happened that I’d like to share, things that are worth diving into and probably have more impact on my life than getting towed tonight, but it feels right. So I decided to not delay it for once =)

 

 

Sweet like candy in my veins

Two nights ago, I went on a date to a vegetarian restaurant with the love of my life.

Yesterday, I had 5 of My Own Music Students play and/or sing in a recital.

Last night, I performed a full show at a private party with the band I’m in, a band that has a following.

Today, I practiced yoga, and then went to watch someone in my upline promote to a position that brings her time, money, and freedom for helping other people, in a company where personal and financial growth is not limited.

Tomorrow is the last day of my first semester of teaching aerial yoga to elementary -aged students. They are performing a routine we’ve been working on all semester.

Is this real life?

I never would have dreamed that this would be my life. I didn’t even know most of these things were things to dream for, or to want. But they’ve all happened and they make my life so full and I feel grateful and I feel love.

Christmastime is Here (Alternate title: Reflections from Phoenix Sky Harbor airport)

We’re entering the last phase of the year: the Holidays.

I spent last weekend filling in with my old band, The New Waves, doing 3 nights in 3 different cities. It was such an awesome experience to meet the new members and see how much better the guys that were there when I left, when they were “new,” have gotten So. Much. Better. I am also grateful that filling in is an option that I have when Rotel doesn’t have gigs. Band politics are a strange thing.

I’m really grateful for all of my experiences. The first few months of 2016 were so hard for me. I didn’t feel connected to myself, or the people I love the most. I learned what alcoholism is really like to live with. That was honestly one of the hardest periods of my life. What I found most difficult was separating the person I loved from the drunk who did the things that hurt me. It’s something I’m still processing, though it doesn’t consume my life like it did back then. It’s a memory of feelings that comes up at times.

But I was able to separate myself from that person, and from those feelings. And I’ve latched onto much more positive people and vibes and experiences.

I grew up so much this year. And it’s not over!!! There’s still another 5 or 6 weeks of experiences to absorb!

I spent Thanksgiving in Phoenix with my Uncle, and my dad was able to come have Thanksgiving dinner with us yesterday. It was a really good week. I don’t think I’ve ever just spent one on one time with my uncle. There is alignment there. And he actually told me that I’m one of the coolest people he knows. That’s a really cool thing to hear from someone you love.

My boyfriend told me the same thing over the weekend, after he saw me sing with The New Waves. I am so grateful and so inspired to just keep doing the things I love and be around people that I love.

My amazing boyfriend also brought up an opportunity/experience that he wants to take on with me, and it made me feel excitement and fear. More on that to come later. I’m letting it percolate for now.

When I get back to Austin in a few hours, one of my college roommates, who has been traveling the country by herself, is going to pick me up and we’re going to hang out this weekend, eat sushi, do some yoga, go be around water and go bouldering. Then I’m going to join her for a brief leg of her trip as we head to Denver to visit our wonderful college friend who is in med school.

I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am! These are some of my favorite people: they are beautiful and hard-working and full of spirit and love. I am so very excited.

Here is to love, and allowing light come to you during the holiday season.

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery/ None but ourselves can free our mind

I have always shied away from talking about politics. My father and I don’t share the same political views, and I’m someone who does not enjoy arguing with my parents, especially since they live so far away. I think that time spent in communication with them should be spent in a loving space.

I’m observant, and try to listen to all sides, but being the soothing and peace-making person I am, I shut out arguing. It’s not something that I do well. I like when people get along. I work with children, and I think the whole “be kind and genuine thing” helps me a lot in my particular field of work.

One of the owners of the kids yoga studio I work at sent out a text to all of her employees this morning. She said that she woke up to her 9 year old daughter saying, “Trump won. There’s terror in the world.” I responded with, “We get to keep spreading love and light. We get to choose not to let ourselves sink. There’s a lot of dark, murky water around us but we only sink if we let the darkness in. Stay afloat and spread love.”

Then I forced myself to get out of bed and drove myself to teach a music class, and I got to do the very thing I had just preached on. Someone at work said she was in a great mood.  She had gone to bed worried that she’d wake up with Hillary as our next president. This was, of course, preceded by “I’m not political, but…” And I bit my tongue. I didn’t feel anger toward her, just confusion. I swore I didn’t know anyone in Austin who was for Trump. Until this morning, and I realized I saw this person often and I genuinely like this person.

I went in and taught my class. I danced around and played drums and read books to a bunch of 4 year olds, and then we ended class by coloring pictures while listening to “Redemption Song.” After class, the same woman who told me how happy she was that Trump was president also told me that part of the reason she was in a good mood was because she knew she was going to get to see me.

Which proves my point even more: We are human first. Where we each stand politically is such a small part of our identities. It is rarely something that we talk about on a day to day basis, at least in my world. I know if someone prefers coffee or tea, beer or wine, what their favorite color is, their favorite place to travel– before I ever find out where they stand politically.

Isn’t it funny that Thanksgiving is in two weeks? It’s such a funny contrast– or, right now, it actually feels more like a test. I’ll be spending Thanksgiving with my Uncle, who lives in Arizona, and my dad, who lives in Florida. I do recall Thanksgivings past, in which my dad and uncle got into it about politics and I would immediately remove myself from the table, refill my glass of sangria, and go find a book to stare at while continuing to listen. I know my uncle and I agree. And I know my dad supports Trump.

But what’s more important than that is that I get to spend Thanksgiving with them. And you know what else? My dad is a great dad. He supports me and my music and he has always just shown me support and love. A lot of fear is coming up in me that Thanksgiving will be spent in a huge argument about the election. I’m probably right. But my dad is not Trump. He just sees something in Trump that I don’t. My love for my dad has to go beyond my fear of what his opinion is. Otherwise Trump wins again.

I have so much fear. Not just about Thanksgiving. I think the past few days, most of us have been glued to our TV’s, computers, phones. Per usual, many of us can’t stop scrolling through social media. But it is gushing with words of hate and fear. Social media amplifies what we already fear.

GO DO SOMETHING. I have felt paralyzed while staring at my phone over the last few days, and while watching the election last night on my laptop, and my stomach keeps turning, but scrolling through facebook is NOT helping. Get off social media. Yes, it’s a place for us to express ourselves. But it’s also very saturated with negativity right now.

Children are listening. They’re watching us– all of us, those who won and those who feel defeated. They will learn how to react to things from us. If they see us crying and staying in bed or putting words of anger malice out, that is what they’re going to do. We’re only going to breed more hate, and nothing will change. He will have won, in more ways than he already has.

Can I just point out that it’s awesome that we had a woman RUN for president, and that she has so many supporters? Especially considering this old gem:

barkhorn_womenvoters1

Yes, this is 100 years ago. But it was also in America. We have come so far. We really have.

Nothing about this situation is permanent. Nothing ever is.

Here’s the cheese. You ready?

It starts with us. It literally starts with you and me and the people we spend our time with, and how we treat them. If you want the world to change, don’t leave it up to our leaders. Lead yourself toward greatness. Be the best you in your given circumstances.

Be a light for others. Being sad or angry about someone or something doesn’t change the fact that it happened, that it exists. Be brave, move forward. Show the people around you how to act like the bad ass civilized adult you truly are.

Act with love, not fear.