I spent my twenties touring up and down the east coast and sharing the stage with artists like Martina McBride, Aaron Tippin and many others. I’d write and perform original music for my management deal and then sit in with pop and rock bands to help pay the bills and my college expenses (party funds).
On the outside it may have appeared that I had my act together. But what I hid in a bottle was that I carried a lot of shame and anxiety with me all the time from my childhood.
I drank …alot. I loved the specialness that alcohol gave everything. I loved the party scene at university. I loved the pretty glasses and the unwinding of my mind that came from them.
When I married my college professor who drank like I did, at the age of 24, I had no clue the fire pit that I was really jumping into. It was a violent and crazy union and I used alcohol as a crutch for all of it.
Fast forward ten years of abuse, chaos, anxiety and addiction …and I reached the end of the road. But I wanted to live and I knew I had to make a change fast.
So, I left the marriage and I put down the bottle.
I was living in Nashville and needed to come home to Virginia to my family for a while to gather my strength. I can tell you that by that time, I had to fly my mom down to Nashville to drive me back to Virginia because of the anxiety and panic attacks.
At the time, a well known Grammy winning producer that I was working with, offered to pick my mom up at the airport because he knew I could no longer drive with steady hands. I let him.
I was so embarrassed but I let him and I never forgot that small act of kindness from someone I admired so much.
My healing process would take a while …longer than I may have liked but music was still waiting for me to pick her back up right off the start. I started doing shows again, jingles, voice-overs etc…yet I was stuck on the writing.
It was after my daughter was born, when I decided to finally follow my heart. I wrote my first album. Somehow, having her gave me the courage to actually write again.
People actually liked the album and bought it for themselves and for their friends at my shows! I was sort of shocked to know that something I contributed to makes you feel something…again.
The second move I made was to start my own media business. I wanted to be free to design my own days doing creative work and most importantly to me, I wanted to be there for my daughter. Now I have 2 businesses.
I’m so glad I did not give up and throw my laptop out the window every time I felt like it. I am so glad I did not give up on being an artist, just as I am.
This I know…Music pulls the strings of your heart and head and makes sense out of chaos. I am my music but this time with a strength and confidence as a woman in her forties and forged by hard things can do.
Thanks for having me back.
and to you… I say this:
Life is precious and brief.
Go… DO YOUR THING NOW.
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