Raw. Vulnerable. True. Here.

Raw. Vulnerable. True. Here.

 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...

Map of My Heart

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.

Writing Days

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!

You

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.

What are you grateful for today?

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?

March

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.

1-20-17

Hi. I want you to know that you are loved. That your life matters. That you're not alone. No matter how this day feels to you, I believe all those things are true. I hope we will all move forward in kindness towards one another, with compassion and empathy, with our ears open to hear the hearts around us, the pain among us and the hope too. My old 12 step sponsor used to say, the reason we have two ears and one mouth is because we should listen more than we speak. Each of you deserve good things, and your feelings are important. If no one else tells you today, you are worthy of love and kindness. ❤️

All Will Be Well

Someone in the house across the street died this morning. I watched as they wheeled them out on the stretcher, cold and covered up with a blue blanket in the freezing rain. Like you see on TV, but this was real life. The kids played at my feet, unaware and oblivious to truths such as death and sorrow. They are full of beginnings, life, and wonder, as it should be.

I'm feeling rather down tonight. Lots of big feelings I'm not sure where to put or how to process. Again, this is real life. Or so I'm learning. Again. I made soup and we broke bread, just the four of us. The routine of life with tiny humans teeters between well-worn path and mind-numbing rut, but tonight it felt like we were right in the pocket, the rhythm felt nice and full of comfort.

Tonight, putting Beatrice to bed, I lay down next to her and sang our songs. She struggled to settle, so I stayed a little while longer than usual. Out of nowhere she reached for my hand to hold, settled it against her chest and said, "Sure do love being with you, Mama."

And just like that, I remember all will be well. Come what may, all will be well.

1-1-2017

2016 was a beating that rarely took a breather. Many have wished us a brighter yet mercifully duller 2017. We would welcome such a thing, if it exists. Last night we gathered friends in our home. We ate and laughed, listened and drank, and toasted a dear friend's birthday.

A few of us talked late into the morning of what we're looking forward to in 2017. On my turn, I rambled on a bit. These days I feel mostly undone, rarely at home in myself or clear. Trauma does that. To be honest, there's a whole lot of wreckage in my life from the past few years. Physical, emotional, spiritual, mental, relational. I hope 2017 yields a path to healing. I hope 2017 yields. Mercy. Uncle. Lets us up for air. I hope. A part of me still believes that hope does not disappoint. That it all gets shaken up for some purpose of good. Even if it's being the storyteller, the truthbooker, the one who lives to tell and pass on hope. And I'm still standing.

When asked, "What are you looking forward to?", the clearest thing for me was..