One week ago I volunteered for a second year at Girls Rock Camp. Girls Rock Camp is a week long program with the mission of empowering young female talent. Led by a strong group of female artists like myself, voluntarily it is our job to instill confidence, and provide guidance to young girls interested in pursuing a future enriched by music. Throughout the course of the week I led and instructed vocal lessons, songwriting and music business workshops to the children. The children put together bands, construct an original song, create merchandise and show flyers leading up to their showcase at the end of the week, which they perform in front of an auditorium full of encouragers. It is such an incredible program, and I feel very honored to take part in it. Girls Rock Camp tugs on my heart strings in a way that nothing else does. It provided me with the sense of pride and positivity that I needed in order to know that I am appreciated, valued, and capable of having an impact on someone that is beyond destructive. Last year, the end of Girls Rock camp was the beginning of my journey abroad down south; my first lengthy tour baring musical significance, self realization, and the need for change. Ultimately, it was the trip that led me to my decision and to where I stand today.
Exhausted from a week of volunteering, shows, events and travels; Sunday I effortlessly slept to nearly one in the afternoon. Later that evening, I returned back to my former house to move more belongings, to find myself greeted and confronted with the eleven and a half years of my life that I've chosen to walk away from. I can't help but think about how different the holidays will be this year.
Later that evening, I met a friend to go see the brand new James Brown movie, to find myself walking out feeling inspired, impressed, and motivated to continue my life long hustle in the music business. As we're discussing the movie on the way back home, I soon found myself caught in the distraction of radio commercial for Charisma Jewelers in the background. My reaction to the commercial "I freaking hate this commercial" generates a chuckle and a "How come?" from my friend.
I thought to myself for a minute. When did i become so jaded? Why do I so passionately detest this commercial? Is it all just a sales pitch for a promise that has no guarantee? Look at me, what am I, what have I become? What is IT that I even want? For soo many years, I had the answers to all my own questions, but now it seems like I'm lost in this hollow shell, clueless, just getting by going through the motions of my daily routines.
Every so often, life will present us with challenges which will raise a number of questions, leaving the biggest question "Who am I, and what is my purpose?" Since I was a toddler I've always known my path in life would be artistically driven. Up until my early to mid twenties, I ran my life according to tradition, living up to what's acceptable by society's standards. I excelled in school, I graduated college on time, I moved out on my own, I got married, together we purchased a beautiful house in a beautiful neighborhood, my husband had a great career, I had a budding career, and we shared two beautiful dogs. We broke the pattern of tradition by not having children of our own, which now, given our circumstances, has proven to be God sent.
On the surface, I had everything. Internally, I felt hollow. Now don't get me wrong, it's nice to have nice things, and I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to even know what it was like to have lived a such a life. However, what works for most, I've found to not work for me. I've come to the realization, that my personal fulfillment doesn't derive from tradition. "Less" in many ways means "more" to me.
What is important to me is how all those things on the surface translate to the love that's comprised inside. Was I miserable? No. Was I happy? No. Do I feel I deserve more? Yes. Do I feel I have much more to give than my current situation allowed me to give? Yes. So THERE it is. Sure I could settle for all the things on the surface, but for what? Settle because I worried about breaking someone's heart, or settle because I worried I'd have to start all over, or remain out of comfort because after all "it could be worse." Then what? Have kids? Sounds reasonable.
TRADITION vs. COMFORT
Tradition comes in various forms. The formality of tradition is what I find to be disturbing. Living in a free country we still are subjected to certain degrees of restraint according to what is accepted by society's standards. Congress is a perfect example which our own people are divided based on power, morality and stature. Under the same sky we breathe, institutionalized by elected officials who's morality and hypocrisy delegates the standards in which we're expected to abide by.
No question times are changing and that we've evolved, but many of these same expectations still remain.
What is important to me, never has been what is on the surface. I don't want to lead a life based on an illusion of happiness. I want a life enriched with passion, creativity, travel, experience, love and friendship. That is the fulfillment which I am seeking, and I'd love to share that with someone who is seeking the same. It's like being in a desert and having a mirage of a castle where you are pampered to all things luxurious, just to find that it'll disintegrate within one touch.
In the desert I stand with dust in my face, beads of sweat pouring down my body, thirsty and unsure which way to lead a trail of footprints. I've traded in everything for nothing, but my will to survive remains.