I’ve never been one for superstitions, except when it came to the 5th of July. Two months shy of my eighth birthday, a bank called Penn Square would forever etch its name in the pages of my family’s history. Our lives would never be the same. Maybe you’re not familiar with Penn Square. Feel free to Google it. If you’re from Oklahoma and above a certain age, maybe your family was changed forever, too. We spent our summers on a lake in Northeastern Oklahoma. That July 5th morning, we awoke in a post firework haze, loaded onto the boat to go swim, ski, and play. I’ve never asked my Dad if he knew what was coming.
#TruthBooking: I cannot even fathom how it has felt to live as an American person of color or a person of Jewish faith this weekend, much more in this lifetime. I will never know what it feels like to watch hate-filled people freely marching in the streets of this nation- and to know without question that hate is directed at me. I grieve deeply considering the trauma one must experience as those images and realities wash over and sink into the psyches of the people being targeted with that hatred. If I'm honest, I know there are ways in which I have been complicit in my comfortable bubble and have benefitted from a system that champions the privilege that comes with the pigment of my skin and the place I choose to worship. Something has to change and tonight I know starts with me...
#Truthbooking: I didn’t expect to take so long formulating my thoughts. That really caught me off guard. For someone who processes most readily via words, either spoken or pen-to-page, to be rendered speechless is a fairly rare occurrence. Three weeks ago tonight I took to my favorite of stages for the first of two live-recording shows. I was so nervous that first night. Taking visible deep breaths, trying to regulate my heart beat, to come down into my body and settle in to my shoes, into my story.
My childhood voice teacher and mentor often spoke to me about turning my nervous energy into excitement. Little did I know, his words ring in my head all these decades later, he’s still teaching me to reframe my emotions and harness them for good use:
“You’ve got this, K.C. Breathe. Trust yourself. Trust the work you’ve put in and then let yourself go. Stay loose. Trust what will happen when you open your mouth. You’ve done the work. Now do your thing.” I found myself reciting his words in my head that first night. Calming myself. It’s fascinating how we go back to the beginning without even trying. How while we’re in a defining moment we go back to the moments that first showed us the way, first formed us.
I did something truly terrifying yesterday. I walked into a photo session with zero make-up on, sat down, and proceeded to let Kriea Arie capture me, the real me. My last artist photo shoot was in 2011, and I had my first baby in 2012. My promo photos needed significantly more than a refresher, but I've been paralyzed by fear. The post-baby me isn't sexy, thin, or remotely put together. The stress from the past few years has left me feeling aged and frazzled, not current or cool or pretty. Most days I feel successful if I get to shower, wear something besides my go to mom wear, and my hair isn't in a messy bun.
Despite all this external insecurity, there's a revolution going on in my insides. In my personal life, I am standing in my story and claiming it more than ever before. I feel things shifting, for the good, and I can hear my brave, truest self rising in song. In my most triumphant moments, I know I belong here, that I matter, and that it's okay for me to take up space. These tiny glimpses are big, big shifts for me...
I've been making a map of my heart ❤️ Exploring new corners, looking at well worn paths with fresh eyes. I'm learning that I get to choose who I am, and it starts with my heart, so I'm mining what's in there. Giving myself permission to have wings, even the parts I've called broken for so long. Sometimes knowing who you are is in the little things, like a new pair of shoes that remind you the world is at your feet. Get moving.
I got to spend the last two days writing songs with my dear friend Daniel Walker. What a joy. Nothing in my life reminds me of who I truly am more than letting songs find a voice. There aren't a lot of arenas where I'm sure of myself, but writing is a coming home. This motherhood adventure is beautiful and terrifying and more than language can hold and I wouldn't trade it for anything. At the same time, it's hard to feel fully present in my craft these days, to live up into the person I am outside of Mama. This week I got to take that part of me and live in her skin again for awhile, and it felt great. In related news, I am ecstatic about my next studio record. Can't happen soon enough!
Hi there. This is important, so lean in a bit, okay? If you die, people will miss you. You might even be blown away by the turnout at your service and the way people saw you, how you impacted their lives, played an integral part in their stories. We all have demons, ghosts, skeletons that haunt us, and some of us struggle more than others. As someone who has served my time in a treatment center, I know how hard addiction can be to break free from. There is no shame in asking for help when you need it. Whether you believe me or not, YOUR LIFE IS WORTH FIGHTING FOR. And given the chance, people will fight for you and alongside of you, but only if you let them. You are loved. Your life matters. You are not alone.
In my world, today I'm grateful for a chat with a friend. We took a look together at some hard places of the heart. She said a couple things that opened my eyes in new ways, and they are resonating in my spirit still. I needed that connection today, to feel seen and heard and challenged to look from a different perspective.
Driving home from dropping Bea off at school, this Mary Chapin Carpenter song shuffled on, and it could not have been more timely:
If the past’s another country, I’m at the border with my papers
Where is your heart if not inside you
where is home or are you lost
where is love if not beside you
I had no answers but they let me cross
Today I'm grateful for dear friends and music that moves me. How about you? What are you grateful for today?
Marching today was a very emotional experience. I'm so grateful and proud to live in a country where we have the right to peacefully gather and raise our voices. Learning to use my voice has not come easily for me. I fought to get here, to live in my skin, to believe it's okay to take up space, to speak up for myself. Let's be real, I'm still fighting those ghosts. Today I linked arms with one of my dearest confidants and we sang Woody's words as we walked.... This land is your land, this land is my land.... I broke down in near ugly cry twice.
The first time was upon arriving. I felt a surge of safety, of knowing that those gathered share my hope of protecting girls and women from the lifelong suffering of sexual abuse. I'm not sure I can explain it better, but as a survivor, the feeling that you are safe and heard, understood, seen and cared for... well, those feelings are few and far between. I was overcome. And today I had the courage to raise my voice for myself, and those like me. I felt valued. Today I marched so my daughter won't have to be a statistic like me.
The second moment where I was overcome with tears was due to the enormous weight of grief I feel for the divisions among us as citizens. I know you all likely tire of hearing me speak of kindness. But I quite honestly cannot and will not stop. Amidst friendships and families, on both sides we are losing sight of the people, the hearts, the stories, the lives, the WORTH of the humans around us. If we call ourselves people of kindness, we must show it without prejudice. No making fun of people who think or vote differently than us. There is no room for that. If we call ourselves people of Love, we must rise above the temptation to return hate with hate. It starts with each one of us. I can't really iterate the deepness of my grief over this. Today I marched for kindness, for all of us. I'm so very grateful I could take part in the gathering.