I’ve lost track of how many times I cried on my Nashville kitchen floor this year. Mostly because I just wasn’t happy there anymore and didn’t know what to do.
If I’m being completely honest (which is something I pride myself upon doing), I was unhappy for a large chunk of my second half living in BNA. I wasn’t thriving in the ways I envisioned. And because I was married to my writing career for nearly a decade (& am still in holy matrimony with it), I had little to no love life. My weeks, days, hours, minutes, seconds were dedicated to my career. And while I was (& still am) in love with creating music, I was no longer in love with the music industry. The increasing traffic inevitably slowed me down enough to the point I could no longer escape from confronting what I didn’t want to say out loud — after seven years, I needed to break up with music city.
But what did this even look like? And what would it mean for my music?
Well, it looked like putting my Nashville townhouse on the market for rent (which took way longer to fill & cost way more than I planned) and it looked like quitting five jobs and throwing my belongings + a decade’s worth of building my business into a moving truck. It looked like crossing state lines and pulling that moving truck into the driveway of my childhood home. And it looked like basically being a stay-at-home cat mom for a few months. ;)
It also looked like a tug of war between ego + inferiority — my ego winning the war when it came to feeling entitled in deserving a greater return on the investments I put into my music career, and my inferiority taking charge when facing the decision to temporarily move back into the home I grew up in .. as an adult.
I’m wired to enjoy doing a zillion things at once. Honestly, I’m great at being busy. So for me to envision moving home for an unknown amount of time (with my only income being from one freelance job + some music placements) didn’t play out very well in my mind. In fact, I wrestled so much with this idea that it spiraled into me crying on my parents’ kitchen floor. (I don't know what it is with me and kitchen floors and falling into tears on them .. perhaps it’s symbolic of a hunger I desperately want to satisfy but can’t find in the refrigerator.)
One month turned into two and two into three.
To keep my bank account as steady as possible meant I had to severely limit my spending (more than I already do .. truly I am the most frugal person that I know. Ask me the financial details of any travel adventure I’ve ever gone on, and I will happily tell you how cheap I am. ;) Traveling on a budget has actually become a game to me. And it’s a game I frequently win at. But that’s a conversation for a different time + a different blog.) Basically I’ve spent the majority of the last 90+ days working from my parents’ living room and not allowing myself to spend more than $20/week on ANYTHING considered a luxury item or luxury experience. (One wk I did splurge. I went a little mad and bought two sweaters from Kohl’s. I’m such a rebel.)
More than ninety whole days .. of creating music from Wisconsin, editing my novel - Sky High - from Wisconsin, freelancing from Wisconsin .. and interviewing. But SELECTIVELY interviewing. When I left Nashville, I knew two things: I wanted my next career move to be in a big city + I had to be a paid full-time writer. Anything else wasn’t the right path, I decided.
I fought with allowing myself to acknowledge this as a resting period. My parents so graciously opened their home to me (an offer I refused so many times over the last two years!) and they pleaded with me to take a rest. Seriously though, I don’t know how to rest well or to wait well. Even after all of this, I can’t say I’m good at either of those concepts. I cannot sit still no matter how hard I try to make myself. Even if it looks like I’m sitting still, my mind is making vision boards. Call me cliché, but I live with the mindset of living each day to its fullest because none of us know how much time we’re promised. I thrive on seizing opportunities thrown my way, knowing that tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us. And to be in the stage of my early thirties and live with my parents for a temporary time period screamed failure to me. And failure (or being perceived as a failure) is my greatest fear.
But here’s what I learned:
My mom + dad (who just so happen to be my two favorite ppl on the planet, btw) offered me my childhood bedroom while I figure out what’s next. And instead of initially seeing this as a blessing, I saw it as me sucking at life .. and I was severely overthinking about what this would look like to society. (GROSS. I loathe admitting that I even cared about that!)
But you guys ..
I got to spend my mom’s birthday with her and my dad. For the first time in seven years, I didn’t have to fly in or succumb to only being able to give a birthday phone call. I got to be here. I got to watch movies with my mom and dad and have deep, meaningful conversations with them. I got to go to Wine & Harvest Festival in Cedarburg. I got to run a zillion miles through the small town I grew up in. I got to fake-watch Packer games with my parents and brother and pretend I knew what was happening (usually this looks like me staring at the TV intensely .. but rly I’m just creating more vision boards. 🤷🏼♀️). I got to watch snow fall from my childhood bedroom window and have my parents’ kitty, Millie, wake me up every single morning at 7:08 by pawing at my door. I got to take walks with my dad and talk about life. I got to see friends I haven’t seen in years and grow our friendships to become even stronger than they ever were. I got to paint pumpkins with my best friend while we drank my parents liquor when they were out of town. (They knew .. but there is something so high school rebellious about writing that sentence out that I just had to.) I got to Christmas shop with my brother (which has NEVER happened!) I got to watch countless amounts of Hallmark movies with my mom and stay up late while she fell asleep next to me on the couch. I played Code Names and Spot It with my family (& kicked butt, btw) and had fires in the fireplace. We watched Home Alone Two (because it's so much better than the first one!) And I wrapped gifts with my mom and spontaneously went out with her for Culver's ice cream and cheese curds. I lost track of how many times my parents and I ate Chocolate Factory subs (which are still by far the best.) And I received more film & TV placements for my music since leaving Nashville than I ever did while I was there. (One of the placements being my first ever Hallmark Christmas movie placement! On a movie called A Homecoming for the Holidays.)
I also got to visit Nashville and realize how right it felt to be a visitor and not a resident.
I avoided all of that ^^^ for more than two years simply because I didn’t want to be in my late twenties or early thirties living at my parents’ house for a bit. Really, I needed to get over myself and accept the life raft thrown at me.
It’s. Okay. To. Need. Help.
And I am SO happy I finally stopped resisting. Because when I gave in, it was a trusting fall right into the arms of two ppl who love me more than I ever knew a person could love me.
And though it looked (to me) like a fall backwards, it was actually a layover (as my mom calls it .. hehe) on the route to my next destination. And for my story, I did have to go back (to where I came from) in order to move forward (to my next place).
To top off all of the above, I get to bake Christmas cookies with my mom this wk + I’ll get to be home for Christmas with my entire family next wk. And in three weeks .. I get to ring in the new year in a brand new city.
I’ve officially been offered a position as a full-time writer in the Windy City. Series premiere of Melissa Takes Chicago .. Season one, episode one .. January 2020.
Until then — Merry almost Christmas!
PS .. I want to share that Hallmark movie placement with you! Click here to retrieve my version of Jingle Bells or click the photo below .. hope you enjoy!