Change Pt. I: Where I'm Going/Where I've Been

As I set out on this new journey of a blog, I do so with a theme in mind for a two part series all about change. Change is a notion that intrigues me. Everyone goes through it in this crazy life, but we all handle it so differently. Change happens in so many different forms, and often times change can happen without us truly knowing it's happening until its already taken place. 

I try my best to live a life that is reflected upon love and respect to my fellow man and those I love, but I am so beautifully flawed. I am human, and I fail all. the. time. It stings a bit when you say that out loud or type it, but it also provides a certain feeling of freedom from human regulations. I had a conversation recently with a friend where I was asked, "where are you going in life?" We'll get to that, but for now I am here to tell you the opposite. I want to share where i've been. The change brought about life lessons and a story that I hope can encourage others. Here's to vulnerability, healing, and a crazy twisted sense of thankfulness for life lessons and provision.

Music has always been an interracial part of my life for as long as I can remember. On my previous blog years ago, I remember sharing a story of riding in my dad's old car in our tiny coastal Texas town, passing the chemical plants and being enthralled by the sounds of Graham Nash, Jackson Browne, and James Taylor. The story leading to the now is a familiar one to many of you, so I won't dive into that again. If you haven't heard it, i'd be happy to share it with you someday over a cup of tea or an ice cold beer. So for the sake of advancement, we'll pick it up in Chicago, post graduate school when the itch came back to chase my dream. After much thought, prayer, and discussion with my family, my close friends and mentors, and of course Elise, I decided to take a jump and get back into the industry full-time. I have never been one to shy away from a challenge and a new destination. I went to London on a whim and I moved to Chicago without ever stepping foot in the city prior. I thrive on new adventure and opportunity. The nomad lifestyle has always intrigued me. The adventure I felt like was leading me to Nashville.

As I set forth on my journey, I connected with friends who were in the know/connected to the Nashville music scene. All the while, I was struggling deep down. I remember driving a uhaul from Chicago back to my mom's house in Oklahoma City and pondering everything. I remember unpacking boxes and then packing again, to transition my life from 20 boxes, a guitar, and a closet full of clothes to 5 boxes and some essential clothes. I was caught between a feeling of excitement and struggle, thinking "did I make the right decision? Is this really what is planned for my life?" I made the move, kissed the girlfriend goodbye and possibly cried a tear or two to have to leave her (again) and start distance (again). I took up residence in a place with two guys on the south side of Nashville (shout out to Mikky), and begin to feel the pressures of life. The change was a lot harder than I had imagined in my head months earlier. I became fickle at times, flip flopping between a fear of failure and solitude and a sense of optimism and hope.  I struggled with pride and with the process. Little did I know these little battles were preparing me for a change that I never could have seen coming.

Long and short... I ended up taking a marketing job with a very prominent record label. Out of respect for them, I won't dive into the nitty gritty, but my time there was not the change that I had envisioned. From the second I started, my morals and my wisdom were challenged in numerous different ways. I tried my best to deal with it and to be a sense of light in a darkened world, but it was difficult. I was seeing my personal life take a drastic hit. I wasn't acting like the same happy-go-lucky guy i've been my entire life. I found myself wrestling with the thought of what to do. Do I learn to live with it, give it time, and maybe arc my morals a bit and for the sake of the dream? Or do I bid adieu to the fantasy for the time being and walk away proud of the decision i've made, knowing that it would put me back at square one? The funny thing is, the original plan for change had changed

It had been some time since I stepped foot inside a church, but for some reason I felt the calling to get up one Sunday and go to some random church in downtown Nashville. I'm a believer and i'm someone who would consider themselves a non-conforming Christian, a advocate for a personal relationship over unified bulletpoint terms that separate you from someone else. However, on this day, the pastor share a sermon about detours. He talked about pivotal circumstances as faith catalysts, and how the hard times, the detours are a driver for growth, among obvious other attributes like teaching, disciple, and relationships to name a few. We looked at the story of Joseph in Genesis and the detours in his life, starting with being sold into slavery by his brothers, to being seduced and falsely accused of rape and tossed into prison. And that is just the start of it. Joseph is literally living a life of constant detours. If you're a reader and a seeker of stories, I encourage you to start with Genesis 37 and read all about Joseph, it's such a powerful lesson. It was like I was living in a parallel universe to Joseph (in a much more minor way) and for the first time during this process I was cognizant of detours. Maybe it didn't start out that way, as a detour, but somewhere along the road my eyes were being open to a message and a lesson. And it was up to me on how I was going to respond, how I was going to let change influence me. 

I remember talking with a friend one night shortly after and pouring my heart out to him, and I remember the look on his face so vividly and how he just reiterated a saying to me that rang volumes: 

"We are more than conquerors." 

As the week continued , I sought refuge in that daily. I told myself this line so many times it branded itself on my heart. I shared my fear with those closest to me, and through that I felt a since of alienation from some who just didn't understand the moral and personal struggle I was up against. And to be fair, I completely understand where that came from. Unless you were in the situation and knowing the in's and out's of it, it's hard to sympathize with. Thankfully, I was not seeking sympathy or any sort of empathy, merely support and love. 

The following week, after one final straw at the office, I parted ways with the label. I was scared to death to do it, but I knew deep down that something else would be there for me. I knew that in my heart of hearts, it was the right thing to do. I was no longer prideful and any sense of fickleness I had struggled with before had vanished. The change I bargained for early on in the journey was not the endgame. It was merely a chance to learn a life lesson, and an opportunity for me to listen and be a student. Three days later, I was offered an amazing opportunity back home in Dallas. Is it music? No. But is it a chance to adapt to change? Certainly. I'm now surrounded by my biggest support system, my family, and i'm in the same town (literally 8 minutes away!) as Elise, for the first time in 6 years. Damn!

Maybe someday I will get another chance to chase my dream of the music industry. If so, i'll be happy and ready to take it. Until that day when I know, "The timing is right... now is time for that change", I will continue to be grateful for the life lesson in change.

So... where am I going? Quite simple: Where life takes me.