honesty

The Aftermath (#31DaysofBlogging)

Hi friends,

Remember earlier this year when we asked you to rally with us against weight shaming to promote self-love and kindness? We posted a blog called “When Someone Calls You Huge” and it told an honest story about someone calling me (Kate) “huge” on a group text that the person didn’t know I was on. What you might not have noticed is that a few days after we posted the blog, we took it down. (We JUST re-posted it again yesterday after 7 months.) If you did read the blog (which you can now...HERE) you know that we made no mention of who this person was, what we were doing when this happened, etc. The entire point of the blog was kindness, forgiveness, no more weight shaming, and loving our awesome bodies! We encouraged people to not hold onto pant sizes or negative words and to be grateful for our ability to breathe, see, touch, smell, run, etc. 

We now are going to tell you what happened to us after we posted that blog. This is the next part of the story.

We were singing for a male artist at the time and what we didn’t tell you was that the person who called me “huge” was a crew-member who we were on tour with. Two days after posting the blog, we were asked to remove it from our website because it could “reflect poorly on the personal life of our employer.” Confused. Baffled. Bothered. We didn’t get it. How could a blog about my weight affect my employer? But, okay...fine. Because we had great respect for our employer AND because ironically the blog was about kindness, we took it down. 

Ten days after we took the blog down…we were abruptly fired.

No explanation. No warning. We received a 1 minute phone call telling us that all of a sudden “the organization is restructuring and no longer has a need for female singers.”  

Yet, one week later, they hired...you guessed it, a new female singer. 

Our original intent in writing the blog was to appeal to you (the reader) to encourage us all to stop the weight shaming, bullying, negative self-talk and to focus on better loving ourselves. 

But now, our message is getting an addition: To do all of the above AND to not be afraid to tell your story, even if it costs you something.

For us, it cost us our jobs. We had the rest of our year until November blocked off and in a moment--the entire year changed for us. We aren’t trying to badmouth anyone. We aren’t trying to start trouble. We’ve worked with and for some great men in this industry. This is not a post to bash men, it is simply to stand up as women, with women and for women to not let fear silence us from telling our stories, so that all of us together can make a change. 

This has been a difficult year for us. There are more details than we can even share here with you and we haven’t shared any of this publicly until now. It's been hard but we aren't going to let the difficulties define the year. We are always encouraging people to share their experiences honestly and openly, and we felt that if we didn’t share this, we wouldn’t be following our own advice. 

This is the amazing thing…the story is no longer about us or what has been the outcome of just our situation.  This is bigger than us. We have the chance to be a voice for women everywhere who are afraid to stand up and tell their stories in fear that it may cost them something. Our voices are all stronger when they are banded together.

We have something that we’d love for you to do for us: Be kind the next time you don’t want to be. Don’t let fear hold you back from telling your story. Show love. Forgive quickly. Love yourself. Stand up against bullying. Against weight-shaming. Against any kind of discrimination. If you need someone who will listen, leave a comment or email us. We are all in this together. Our voices all deserve to be heard.

You are beautiful and worthy of love,

Jill and Kate

IN it, Not THROUGH it.

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. 

Love,

Kate

It's Christmas! (31 Days-Day #25)

Who can believe that Christmas Day has arrived? Wow. The year has flown by. They say the older you get, the faster the time goes….yikes…we think they might be right.

We wanted to wish each of YOU (yes, you) the most wonderful, joy-filled Christmas! We hope that you are surrounded by loving friends and family and that you can take a moment to relax and breathe.

And, we know that sometimes holidays can be hard. You might want to throw a chair though a window if you hear "it's the most wonderful time of year" again. If that's you this Christmas…that's okay. If you are having a hard time…that's okay. You can be honest. You can be quiet. I (kate) would be lying if I said there weren't Christmases that I didn't cry my way through. One Christmas I was going through a breakup and literally sat and stared out the window, past the Christmas tree full of lights and wanted to bury my head in a pile of blankets. I cried and I cried. That's actually when I started the song "Don't Feel A Thing" that ended up on our Songs On The 17th Vol. 1 album. I think back then I tried keeping it all inside…not sure why, I just didn't want my problems to bum other people out. But, I think I've learned now being honest with pain is the best way to bring healing…and not only to yourself but to everyone. Now when I'm feeling something I really try to say it out loud and be honest. Because, I think that's ok.

Not meaning to be debbie downer. We hope and pray that this Christmas season you are joyous and life is AWESOME. But, if you're not…we want you to know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. We've said it once, we'll say it a thousand times…we are all in this together. Maybe we could all reach out today to someone? Send someone a text or blow their minds and CALL them. Write an email. Think of someone that might not have many people around them celebrating today. Tell someone that's having a hard time not to get over it but that you are getting in it with them. We think that would be an epic way to spread holiday cheer.

God gave us Jesus…Emmanual…"God With Us"…so that we wouldn't be alone.

We are SO thankful for each of you. Honestly, you don't know how much you mean to us.

Love, love, love.

Jill and Kate

PS. Merry Christmas to you. 3 free songs can be downloaded at: https://soundcloud.com/jill-and-kate