Do what you love

I wanted to repost these thoughts I wrote a few months ago:

My friend captured this photo of me last night at a performance and for some reason, something about it really struck me and evoked some emotions that I really want to express, so bear with me a minute.

When I look at this photo of me, it's different than a lot of photos of me I’ve seen over the last few years. Here, I see a genuinely happy, beaming smile. I haven’t seen that in myself in a while, so it caught me off guard. If I am going to be completely honest, (which I am) I have to say the last few years have been super rough for me. There have been broken relationships, hurt and frustration, anger and anxiety, feelings of hopelessness, resentment at having to start over, battles against low self-esteem, and an overwhelming sense of feeling "stuck.” Not all the time of course and there have definitely been great things intertwined with the bad, but overall, these are all hurdles I have been fighting within myself for a long time now.

All that to say, seeing this photo today me realize how important it is to do what you love no matter what. To diligently pursue your dreams and what brings you happiness. It shows me how much true joy playing music really does bring me.

Are there people out there way more talented than me? You can count on it! Is it a risk to put myself out there for people to critique? Yes! Is being an independent artist hard? Yes! Will I ever be satisfied with projects I put out there? Probably not. Will I ever "make it”? Again, probably not. But am I okay with that? Yes, I really am. One lesson I’ve learned over the past several years is that I can’t do something with the expectation that I’ll get something in return for it…whatever that “something” is. And because I tend to be a perfectionist, my performances and songs will never be as good as I want them to be. But if I wait for things to be perfect, nothing will ever happen and I’ll never do it.

So, I have to do it simply because it’s something I love, because it makes me happy, because it energizes me, and because it has the potential to benefit others around me in some way. I don’t play music because I think I’m awesome at it or because I think I have an amazing voice. And I don’t have an unrealistic expectation of what will become of my efforts—I do it because I have something to say and it brings me joy.

And sometimes, if I’m really, really lucky, someone listens and finds joy in it too. If you are that someone, thank you. ❤️