Keep singing.

I’m very lucky to be a part of a group of friends who call ourselves “singers.” Some of us did it all throughout college just for fun and some of us want to teach others the joy we’ve found in it and some of us love nothing more than performing for a crowd. Either way, singing is the glue, a sort of lifeblood, that always connects us underneath. We have this common passion for music that’s made all of us, in some way or another, want to pursue this in our lives.

And that being said, we usually don’t talk about it. And I guess that’s why I’m writing this – because we never feel the need to mention this burning thing inside all of us. Sure, we talk about music, just not often our own journeys with it. And I’m not saying that should or should not change, I just want to say the things we’ve maybe all assumed each other knows. I want to say it especially from me, because I encourage people far less than I should. And that’s this:

Keep singing.

There’s always the random old guy that comes to the show and finds a group of performers afterward and says, “That was great, you kids! Keep singing!” And if you’re like me you never take those compliments to heart. And if the choice ever comes, do I keep singing?, you probably won’t think back to the random old guy in order to make your decision. I’m hoping my opinion carries a little more weight than his. I’m hoping that we, as friends, are never the reason that one of us doubts this thing we all love so much. So I’ll say it again:

Keep singing.

Keep writing, keep doing whatever it is you want and makes you happy. Because chances are, there are people somewhere ANYWHERE trying to tell you that who you are and what you are doing isn’t good enough. I’ve learned that sometimes there really are people telling me that and others it’s my own insecurities realized in the supposed opinion of someone else. Learn to decipher which is which, and then DON’T LISTEN TO ANY OF THAT NOISE. What you’re doing is worth it simply because you love it and for no other reason, and there are times we have to fight for it.

Maybe you’re in school right now and you’re singing ALL THE TIME and it’s great. (I would want to be back at school for no other reason than that) But I remember sometimes I got lost in all the corners of nit-picking and who’s better. Developing your craft is so important, as well as learning correct technique. Competition, even, can inspire us to be better. But just remember there’s a whole another world, city, Belmont University, even, out there, and to come out for some air and some perspective once in a while. Remember that you love to sing, and that’s why you’re doing this. If you’re doing the best you can the hardest you can, there’s no qualms.

Maybe you’re currently like me in that you’re out of school and your daily activities don’t require you to sing. This is the first time in my life when I have not had a set time (by school, mostly) out of six days of the week strictly dedicated to singing. I’m finding I have to make myself sing. I have to set aside time for it by my own volition now. But guys, it’s always so worth it. Because it’s this thing that makes me so happy. And because it’s this thing I love, not because it’s worth money or it’s perfect or will be a big hit or is better than someone else’s, singing automatically has value, even if it’s just for me.

Maybe you’ve already come or will come to a point in your life where you decide to find other means of supporting yourself and they don’t involve music. Keep singing. In your house, your car, as much as you want, just because it brings you joy. Just because you’re not doing something professionally doesn’t mean it can’t be worth it for yourself or somebody else.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I love you guys and I’ve seen the looks on all of your faces when you sing. I know it brings you absurd amounts of happiness. And I would hate to find that one of us had come to think of music as an unworthy pursuit. I’m finding the thing that speaks loudest of friendship is showing up, being there, when you weren’t sure who would come. I know all of us, though we may never say it, are human beings and want support and encouragement for the things we love. That being said, don’t sing for me or for your parents or teachers or OG Wing Night or the whole wide world. Keep singing for yourself just because you love it and it’s dear to you.

Snowed In

I think the universe gives us little gifts all the time to help us be where we are.

They look like a lack of progress, a slowing of pace, a void of punctuality.

I think the universe knows that if we were never given these gifts, we would just keep running and running, unconscious to the little things happening around us. And it has to interfere to keep us sane, keep us present.

The other day I went to my car dealer for its regular oil change. That meant sitting in the waiting room for around an hour, but I was prepared. I had a book, a journal, and my phone, of course. But when I sat down, I realized I had left my phone at home. Dreams of browsing Pinterest and Instagram flew out the window. And so I sat, watching the early morning traffic pass by on Broadway through the dealership window.

But then it began to snow! Tiny flakes, swirling around in the February wind. I watched how the wind blew them this way and that, sometimes sparsely, other times like large schools of fish swimming in the sea. And then I took out my journal to write about the things I was seeing. I took out my latest read, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig, and read about the wonderful things you notice when you don’t observe the world from cars and planes, when you’re actually a part of it all.

And I realized I never would have seen and felt these beautiful, magical things that morning if I would have remembered my phone. Yes, I was holding all the same cards. But I would have still reached for my phone, distracted myself with it, just because it was there and for no other reason, really. What first appeared to be an inconvenience was the gift of added beauty and opportune mindfulness to begin my day and finish my week. And then I get the pleasure of being filled with gratitude for these hidden blessings.

Today, all of Nashville is snowed and iced in. People who normally work 9-5 jobs are at home with their kids. And we all get to surrender to the weather and just slow down for a day. There’s no use resisting what’s already happened. We might as well surrender to these moments and be thankful for the chance to just sit and breathe and watch the snowflakes fall.