It's fascinating how I have to learn the same things over and over again sometimes. Reading my last entry from nearly eight months ago, I'm struck by how many of the same lessons have been present in the past year, again and again. Perhaps they will keep appearing in their various shades and forms until I am able to incorporate them as reflex. I hope so anyway. There is gold to be mined yet.
I write this post from my little room in a little house on a little street in East Nashville's Riverside Village. I dig almost everything about it except the fact that I feel like I'm waking up in Satan's underwear drawer every morning due to the heat and humidity. Who knew I was such a wimp? Maybe Satan's underwear drawer is a bit of a stretch but I often feel like I'm melting. I suppose all I can do is hope that the weather parallels my greater goals for purification and distillation.
Last year I came through Nashville for the first time while on a mini tour for The Reckoning EP. I had such a good time enjoying the city in autumn, seeing some incredible live music, eating delicious food, and meeting so many nice people. The experience swept me off my feet and watered a seed I've had somewhere within for many years to get myself here. Back when the thirteen-year-old version of myself had a Music Myspace, my Top 8 (oh yeah, remember that?) were all Nashville-based. It feels fitting to be here now in a lot of ways, and also so strange to be feeling around in the dark, looking for the texture of something without knowing its exact shape.
Around New Year's I had the idea to get here by the end of 2015, and chartered my sails thenceforth towards making it happen. We make plans and God laughs. Here's what happened shortly thereafter: I lost my job. I had my heart broken by two friends. I got a few heavy whacks from the universe. Friends, family, a creative residency, and some sort of whispering moved me onward and upward. In the midst of the chaos, and for reasons still very unclear to my better judgement, I decided it would be the perfect time to begin running so I started running for an hour three mornings a week before the world awoke. I gave myself eight weeks of commitment and a few times, for a few moments, I was able to slip into that underwater world they say comes with running once you stop wanting to die. Happy to report that by the end I looked like Charlize Theron. In "Monster."
The first six months of this year felt like training ground for a void into which I have since jumped. Each question demanded an answer: yes, still, yes. It was emotionally exhausting, it was physically demanding, and the resonance of my response was illuminating. I'm still unsure if this is "my time" to be here but I keep remembering Amy Poehler saying, "Great people do things before they're ready." And I want to be great. I want to show up for whatever it is that needs sustenance in my life, and be a resource and conduit for that vision, however blurry, until it becomes clear.
Six months and a budget met later, I found myself loading up my car with one of my best gals and putting myself behind the wheel. It seems bizarre that amidst many other things in my life that seemingly required much more courage, getting myself to try on Nashville for a few months produced so much fear. But I do think it's a courageous thing to move somewhere where you don't really know anyone and you can't buy alcohol for half of the weekend.*
I think I must have read Rainer Maria Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet eight or nine times in the last year. I've gifted it to those going through parallel journeys. I've quoted it ad nauseum to my roommates, my teachers ("I'm getting it! I'm trying to get it! I don't get it but I want to get it!"), and mostly to myself as I've stood in the shower at midnight and wondered how I will make it through another fifteen hour day of chasing toddlers around LACMA and making sure eight-year-olds learn the importance of please and thank you. It's been some kind of belly-flop towards grace.
Here I am. I'm breathing and sleeping and trying to write. I bought a ClassPass to help get my ya-yas out. I'm going to bars on my own and fighting the urge to nurse a single drink alone until an acceptable amount of time has passed and it's time to return. At least most of the time. It's been less than a week, but still. If you know anyone who I should befriend, reach out. If you live here and you want to walk through Shelby Park sometime when it's not as though we are swimming on feet, yes, let's.
More to come.
*Sidenote, a new friend told me about a discount liquor warehouse called Frugal MacDoogal and I will go on name alone.*