I had a weak moment recently. One that brought me to tears. One that caused me to question my faith, my purpose, my decisions, and everything I've ever chosen to believe in. I lost complete faith in myself. I decided I needed to sacrifice something! Immediately, I thought of throwing music under the bus.
When I think of sacrifice, I think of giving up something that you love to obtain something that you need. That's why music came to mind. Of all of the things I've ever given up (meat, alcohol, cheese, comfort) I've never given up music. I've held onto it because it's what I believe in. It's something that's always been with me, since I was young, and it's something I've always felt connected with.
So now, 20 years into this music dream, I began to think, to live the life I want to live, it seems the only thing I have left to give up is music.
To be really honest, there are things that this lifestyle does not afford me. Although many people believe this life is glamorous, it's far from it!
A friend of mine recently told me, "Comparison is the thief of Joy". I'd heard that quote before, and although I didn't want to hear it at the time, he was 100% right.
Here I am watching my peers travel the world, taking vacations more than once a year, even for small National trips, saving up to invest in businesses, or new cars, or just building a savings fund. Most recently a peer of mine bought a house, wow. I'm watching folks maneuver so freely with their money while I sit and calculate every move and decide if I can even afford that doughnut I've been craving.
Talk about stealing my joy.
I have this friend that I constantly complain to about where my life really is despite where people believe it is. All they see are the social media posts, and the fact that I'm in California every other month. They don't know how much those trips set me back financially, physically, and spiritually every single time (I write as this chest cough sits deep in my lungs).
And even though I've been blessed with the opportunity to be home as much as I have been, people don't know how much of that time is spent in waking moments working on the same project I've been pushing for the last 3 years. I hardly see family, and unless you're coming to my house to see me, I'm really not seeing friends either.
Anyway, back to this friend. She always says, "Gem, I really think you should consider sacrificing and get a full time job". Naturally when I was considering sacrifice, I thought maybe that's what I should do. Then I think back to the last full-time job I had and how I constantly was penalized for leaving to pursue music. I think to myself, "yea, that's not gonna work".
After a week of tears, insecurities, and bluntly just being fed up with myself, disgusted at this 28 year old who don't really got her shit together, I finally took an honest look at what I have sacrificed.
Comfort, vanity, peace of mind, financial stability, security in myself, all of these things I have sacrificed for purpose.
I realize now that the thing that I can do to ensure this sacrifice is not in vain is to focus my energy. Focus my energy so damn hard that I can live the life I want and continue to pursue my music fully. That means taking this little bit of free-time I have and applying it to another job that's flexible for a short period of time, stacking some money, and keeping my goal at the center of my focus. It means sacrificing the time that I left for myself to be social. It might even mean sacrificing some of this extra sleep I like to grab midday. I don't know what it looks like yet, but I plan to explore those options this week.
What I do know is this; I am not new to sacrifice. I've been doing that. It just looks different than the norm.
I'll leave you with this, my good friends at Stoop 55 asked me, "How far have you gone for your passion?" This is what I said.
"I have left the security of home, a city and state where I was 'established', a career in education, free health insurance and a steady paycheck for my passion. I've left family and friends to be in a city that cultivates artists and opportunity. I've given up everything that ever made me feel fly, or beautiful in the eyes of society. I've given up rest. How far have I gone for my passion? I've gone to the point of absolutely no comfort at all for this, and I'll continue to go as far as it take me until I've made the impact I was designed to make."
I stand by that.