You know when you’re running from something and it’s just everywhere? You can’t be in a conversation without it coming up. Well, recently there has been a central theme running through my conversations with people. I think I am so quick to identify it in other people because I’m 99.9 percent sure it means it’s most true in my life right now too.
Here’s the thought:
It’s important to tell your story when you’re IN it and not THROUGH it.
In conversations, I keep recognizing similarities in the people that are honest in the midst of their stories...they are being so brave in telling their story while they don’t know how the ending will turn out. They don’t have it all wrapped up neatly in a bow, BUT they are being honest in sharing where they are in their journey NOW. That takes courage.
I couldn’t fall asleep the other night and I just kept repeating the line in my head: Your story matters NOW. Now. Not in 5 years when you’re through it and can look back and say, “Oh yeah, that was hard, but look how shiny and nice things are now!”
No, I think there is so much power in telling the story when you are IN it and not THROUGH it.
I have seen it everywhere. I was recently talking with newly adoptive parents. I asked how things were going and they answered with such honesty. They said it’s been harder than they imagined. There have been moments of joy, awkwardness, sadness, loneliness, love, excitement, breakthrough, hope, etc. They spoke so openly about how it’s been so great and yet so hard. I was thankful that they weren’t saving this part of the story for 20 years down the road when their kids are graduating from school and they briefly mention that in the beginning it was hard. Why? Because someone needs to hear their story right now. While they are IN it and not THROUGH it. I need to know that if I adopt some day, those moments are all normal and to be expected.
I have friends who are a married couple and they are amazingly honest. We had a conversation recently in which they shared that they are going through a tough spot. That marriage was hard right now. I was so happy to hear that. No, not happy to hear that things were hard, but happy that they were being real. It takes honesty and bravery to tell your story when you’re right in the midst of it. They aren’t celebrating their 50th anniversary and choosing then to say, “Yeah there were some hard years in there.” They are choosing to say, in the moment, “This is hard. We’re not sure how we’re going to make it through. But we’re getting up each day and trying.” I hope that when I get married, my husband and I can be this brave.
YES. We need more people like this. You know why? Because maybe you’re reading this right now and are in a similar situation and need to know that someone else is in it too. We are truly all in this together and if we can start talking about the hard stuff when we’re IN it, we will ALL benefit. Most times, the worst part is that we think we’re in it alone and when we think we’re alone, we think we’re a lost cause. But here’s the thing...we all have such similarities that if we started talking about them, we could start cutting out the scariest part.
I think I’ve been seeing this trend in everyone and it is hitting me so hard because I am really needing to be honest in my own story. I am avoiding sharing where I’m at right now because I don’t want to acknowledge that I am in the middle and I don’t know the ending. I’d like to have the ending of the story figured out so that I can point to that instead of my current situation which is surrounded by a bunch of unknowns, uncertainties, and possible failures.
The last few months have been rough...rougher than I thought they would be. More uncertain than I thought they would be. For many reasons, I can’t share all the details, but it has been hard.
A lot of the uncertainty and struggle has been in being “independent artists.” Although I love the title, it can also generally mean being independent of help. Jill and I are trying to pull off this whole business and although it’s what we both love, the last few months have been scary and exhausting. “Making it” in the music industry is a challenge and even though we’ve had the opportunity to work with some big-name artists, it’s a different ball game establishing our own brand and company.
When we tour, we generally lose money. And with streaming services, it’s been hard to make a profit or even break-even from recordings. This is not to say that we don’t love either...we do. We love touring. We like the idea of streaming services. We love being able to share our songs with whoever will listen. It’s just changed the game for us and we’re trying to figure out how to navigate it and keep our heads above water. We got a check from our digital distributor recently and got paid 0.01 cent from Tidal Music. HAHAHA! Yeah. This isn’t to complain or say “Woe is me”...but it is meant to share our story in case other artists are feeling the same way.
Anyway, I say all of this because there has been a lot of doubt and fear running amok in my head and heart. Is it too crazy chasing “the dream?” Should we just quit and get normal jobs? Ughhh. I (we) are definitely IN it and not THROUGH it. Do I know the ending to the story? No. Am I trying to daily be thankful for the process? Yes.
I was writing a song the other day and wrote these lyrics:
I am learning to wait in the wanting
I am learning to not break in the bending
I am trying to rest in not knowing the ending...
So, here I am. In the middle. Definitely IN it. In the unknown. But I am sharing because maybe you’re there too? Maybe you can find hope to share your scary mid-way point story. IN it and not THROUGH it.
And obviously...there is power in being THROUGH it too :) Celebrate. Share. That will be helpful for people too...I just don’t want to believe the lie that you have to have it all figured out to share your story.
Be brave. Tell your story IN it. Your story matters NOW.