Chewed up. Spit out.
If you’re spit out, it most likely means you’ve been drowning in something and it finally knocked you out. Thank God for all of the people who’ve given me mouth-to-mouth. And no I don’t mean I’ve had a lot of people’s mouths on mine lately (truly only one .. and that was amazing while it lasted – but that’s besides the point. Although it definitely was a Sleeping-Beauty-holy-sh*t-he-kissed-me-awake scenario.)
What I mean is the amount of people who’ve showed up and stayed by my side in these many drowning moments over the last few years where I lost sight of myself.
I hadn’t realized just how much sight of the shore I’d lost until a few hours ago when my BFF texted, “OMG! You’re back!”
And I was like, “Whaaaaa??”
And she replied, “Your spark! It’s back! It disappears sometimes and I hate seeing you not 100%.”
I love her.
Truthfully, I’ve been in the process of being spit out for a while. You know how much it hurts to send a text and get no reply? Or to pour your heart out to somebody and get a one-word response? Imagine having that happen hundreds of times.
Behind-the-scenes/what nobody wants to see on Instagram –
Me sitting in a coffee shop, sending my music off to a countless amount of people. For hours.
Cue the crickets.
Hit refresh. No replies.
Wake up. Check analytics to see who’s listened to the songs from the emails sent. Zero plays.
People are busy. I get it. But everybody just wants to be heard. And in these scenarios, I might as well have sang to my walls (which I actually do a lot) because I would have received the same response – silence.
So on a random Monday morning when this epic reply from Disney came to my inbox telling me how much they loved my project and wanted to meet me, my mind soared to Magic Kingdom. And in this fantasy, I was bypassing all the lines. I had my golden-ticket fast pass. The wait was over. Finally.
The programmer wanted to meet me. Me.
Me me me me me!!! He invited me to come to Los Angeles and perform at the Radio Disney offices. In Burbank. He said we would discuss my project and how they could help support it.
Me. My music. Disney. The city of angels. Ducks were aligned and the stars were in a row. Or something like that.
So I scraped the ground and came up with a few hundred dollars to make the cross-country trip, rent a car, get a hotel. I confirmed my meeting. The biggest meeting of my music career so far. I knew my songs being aired from a station with that amount of listeners could be game changing for my career.
The night before my meeting, I was sick. Super sick. I probably made myself sick because nerves have a way of doing that. One of my best friends accompanied me on the trip. Thank Jesus for her not only being there as my co-pilot on the 405 blasting Selena Gomez – but for also being the shoulder to catch the millions of tears that would end up flooding my face.
The morning of the big day, the man’s assistant to his assistant informed me that he got pulled away to a meeting in Hollywood. For something more important. Those weren’t her exact words. She never said the “something more important” part. But my mind played those words on repeat to fill in the awkward silence before I was able to speak.
I, in my desperate attempt to not sound desperate, did my best to keep calm. I asked if we could move the meeting to another time while I was still in town.
I don’t come from money. I do come from a tremendous amount of wealth in the form of love, support, heart, and guidance. But trust me when I say that my bank account felt those hundreds of dollars I’d spent to get to LA. It would be like a 300-pound person losing half her weight – significantly noticeable.
The assistant to the assistant told me I could meet with the assistant. (Yeah, I had to read that twice too.)
The assistant didn’t even know who I was. She’d never heard any of my project. And she texted for the entire duration of our 20-minute meeting.
Let’s recap –
I flew all the way from Nashville to LA per an invitation to come to the Disney offices. And now this girl couldn’t even pull herself together enough to make eye contact and be a human to me for 20 minutes?
Looking back, I honestly should’ve went and auditioned for some acting part that day because as I left Disney, I played it off like I was perfectly fine. I snapped selfies with Disney signs in the hallways. And I posted them on Insta, trying so hard to resurface those initial feelings of excitement I had when I received that golden-ticket email.
LA had an earthquake that day. But only I felt it.
I barely made it to the parking garage before breaking down into hyperventilating sobs. I called my beautiful family. They listened through every sob, trying to make out my words but really they didn’t even need to know what I was saying to know that in that moment, I was dead.
I was spit out.
And since then, I have embarrassingly had many more episodes similar to the parking garage one. I lost my sense of self worth entirely. I deemed myself as un-special, which is so silly because everybody is special. Whether some person could meet with me does not validate my significance.
The reason I am sharing this vulnerable story is because I held onto many of my songs for so long after that experience. I made myself believe that putting my music out by myself, without a bigger platform, would never ever be enough. But guess what? It is.
I love recording and writing and singing and connecting to people. And my love for all of that is enough.
And since that meeting with the assistant to the assistant to the assistant of whatever, I pride myself on making eye contact. Because everybody matters. Everybody has a gift – and that was me trying to share mine with somebody who did not care to receive it.
Had I not been spit out, I would still be making music the ultimate thing in my life. The measure of my significance .. wasting hours being down and out over obnoxious, trivial things like the number of likes I get on social media. Absurd.
Aside from music, I work two other jobs and today, I was offered a third position as a Freelance Content Writer. When asked what my rate is, I nervously gave my number. Less than 24 hours later, the response was, “Rule #1 – don’t sell yourself short” with an offer for way more than I asked.
Starting next week, I am getting paid for my words. My art. Me. Because just like L’Oreal said – I’m worth it. And so are you.
So if you are drowning trying to “make it” in your “ultimate thing” – I pray you get spit out too because there is so much more to see than the tiny tunnel your vision is too obsessed with. Peripheral vision is worth glancing at too. And sometimes it can lead you to greater people, in greater directions, and to greater places than your mind can make up.