Going to therapy was a major turning point in my life. In late 2015 was still in the wake of a major breakup that came as I was starting my career in marketing. I didn’t know my worth, what I wanted to do with my life, who I wanted to impact.. I had no direction at all. I had just turned 23 and was fresh out of college. I was working my first real job 8am-5pm, Monday through Friday, earning a great salary and living with my parents. I didn’t have a fraction of the responsibilities I’m accustomed to now, and I had a good social life and started diving deep into the local music scene. On the outside, I was doing all of the things you're supposed to do as a young adult. But inside, I felt like I was drowning. I wasn’t truly happy, even though life wasn’t bad. It was one of the most confusing feelings ever, and finally after letting myself suffer for months I sought out a therapist to just talk about what was crowding up my head so much.
The first session we had, I must have cried the entire time. He asked how life was going and I couldn’t explain anything without sobbing. But it felt good to just talk about it, and dump out all of the heavy emotional baggage I had been carrying around. I talked about my self destructive habits, about how I wanted to quit smoking cigarettes but couldn’t, about how amazing my family is and how I just wanted to feel like I fit in somewhere in life.
Most of my life I’ve felt like a loner. I could get along with anybody, but I didn’t feel like I had anyone outside of my family who really understood me. I’ve always been introspective, even since I was little, but somewhere down the line all of my me-time became sad and lonely. I compared my path to others, I acted against my true self to try and fit in places I didn’t. And it started to make me feel like I had lost who I was.
Therapy helped me sort out what was authentic and what wasn’t. I learned how to return to being the most genuine version of myself I could be. The version I knew I could be - not the one who was hurting herself and holding herself back by not taking care of herself. I had to realize my own value and respect myself above everything. I set boundaries, I set goals, I became inspired to help people.
I went to therapy for about three months in early 2016. Not long after that I went from being employed full-time in an uninspiring job that left me with little personal time, to becoming self-employed and financially unstable (at first) yet emotionally happy. I moved into my first house with some beautiful friends and while it wasn’t easy, I was thriving. I kind of flipped from where I started, I was truly happy although life was overwhelmingly stressful. But my sense of self empowerment grew and I learned how to be more responsible and earn every dollar I needed. I was feeling like my life was great on my own, I had a sense of being a part of something bigger than myself that mattered. By the beginning of 2018 I knew my path, my purpose and my worth. Not long after that, I found a life partner that loved me for who I am and only wanted to help me succeed along the path I had found. It was the biggest gift ever after trying to do everything on my own for so long.
We still have a long way to grow, but we are both happy and healthy, living together in our own house, and have two little fur balls that make us feel like the most perfect family. My lifestyle continues to improve as I make more goals for myself, like eating less processed food, and avoiding added sugar and foods that don’t make me feel like my best self. I feel more energized to keep my body healthy and strong. I feel more focused in my work and my career. I feel like I’m the person I always knew I could be, and I know it started with that crucial moment of vulnerability with my therapist three and a half years ago
There are so many things we can do every day to take care of ourselves. Drinking plenty of water, breathing and stretching our bodies, smiling, spreading kindness to others.. even reading this post is a form of self therapy if it’s inspiring you or making you think in new ways. No one can escape the need for self care. It gives yourself a fighting chance when it comes to life's struggles, and makes your victories feel that much better. Check out this inspiring video from Be Interactive about how therapy should be as normal as exercise.
I’m so thankful for the Bassnectar Team + Community for taking care of each other, for making therapy more accessible, and for starting conversations that need to be had. And there are plenty more resources out there too - I just learned about a new project called Backline.care. It’s a free health & wellness resource for the music industry. Music is healing to so many but the lifestyle toll of traveling and touring and juggling life can be pretty damaging to artists, teams and crews. It’s amazing to see this resource emerge in an effort to combat that and provide tools for self care and places to go when it feels like it’s too much.
When it all comes down to it, you have to empower yourself to take care of yourself. You’re the only one with the power to change, and we all believe in you.
Atlanta has that all-inclusive, no boundaries, hustle mentality. It's the place where no one minds where you came from, as long as you know how to smile. There's no doubt this energy has been infused into every project to come out of the city. And I feel as if I were strolling down Boulevard myself when I listen to this mix of tracks - it's just pure love, real emotion and tight beats.
Days like this make me miss ATL like crazy, but lucky for me Big Boi, Killer Mike, Scales, Ployd, and Mighty High Coup can easy the homesickness in playlist form. Excited that I'll be back this weekend for a much anticipated show at Aisle 5! And I have plenty of posts drafted about my new home in Charlotte that I need to catch you up on. Until then.. enjoy The 404!
This is a very bittersweet post to write. I’m actually tearing up as I write it, but its a mix of incredibly happy tears, tears full of some of the best memories of my life, and tears that are mourning the end of a very profound era that shaped who I am. For the last 20 years I’ve lived in the Atlanta, GA area. I learned almost everything I know here. I met all of my best friends here. I started my career and built a network here. I met the love of my life here. Although, he’s not an ATL native - he lives 4 hours away in Charlotte, NC. A city that I’ve grown a new love for as I explored bits and pieces of it during the short time we've been in this long(ish) distance relationship. And now, I am excited to share that it is my future home too! I’ve decided after a lot of deep thought, some letting go, and oodles of daydreaming that this is the move I need to make. My happiness in Georgia is dwindling and its because half of my light is two states away. I can feel as the season of Fall approaches that there are big changes ahead, and healthy ones that I am internally yearning for. I often crave a change of environment. And this change is not easy but it’s very exciting and I am also crying at the thought of waking up next to my best friend every day.
There is nothing that will ever replace Atlanta as home for me. My family is still here, my siblings and my little niece and my puppy nephews, my parents who have always been there for me whenever I needed them. It’s going to be a big change no longer being 30 minutes from them. I told my mom on the phone the other day that I didn’t want to leave Georgia until they did and all she said was… ‘Why? Don't stay on our behalf..' I said I want to be there for them if they need help, and I love being able to pop in and just visit on a whim. They’ve relied on me a lot this year and I am so grateful that I have been able to be there for them because they have done the same for me my whole life. But my mom’s argument did not waiver. She knows how happy Brandon makes me, and how badly we want to begin our life together. I know they support my decision, and will definitely come visit us too. And theres no way I won’t be coming back to Atlanta on a monthly basis - any time a friend has a birthday or there’s a really good show or when I'm craving some Taqueria Tsunami. I don’t need much of an excuse to come back. And, I’m officially extending the invite to anyone reading this to come visit us in Charlotte once we move in to our new house!
I’ve decided (this morning actually) to move October 1st. So until then I will be soaking up all of my favorite things about Atlanta, spending time with those who mean the most to me, but also looking forward to spending Fall in Charlotte with Brandon and probably getting a pair of kittens as soon as humanly possible. We have a lot of goals that we want to achieve together, and some that I want to achieve on my own. Including blogging my way through this new adventure, brushing off my freelance skills and finally getting RJ Manifests up and running. In addition to finalizing my book and launching it! We also will help each other build a healthier lifestyle - more exercising and yoga and healthy cooking at home (send me your recipes please)! This new environment is going to catalyze the next phase of our life. A phase that will only make us stronger, lead to more opportunities, and make something more of our lives. This move will set us up for success, so Queen City here I come!
To all of my ATLiens, Atlanta friends and family.. everyone who has been a part of my experience here. Especially the ones who have stuck around for years, Thank You, from the bottom of my heart. I would not have fallen in love with this city if it wasn’t for the amazing people it attracts. Keep and eye out for details on a farewell party! You know I’m not leaving without one last celebration. Two promises: I will be back to visit and I’m only a FaceTime away. I love all of you so much, but Charlotte is pretty cool so come check it out and crash with us!
More to come…
All my love,
The shifting of seasons is one of my favorite experiences. Springtime is when everything becomes green and new life is all around, the world around us is shaking off the feelings of hibernation and stretching up to the endless sky. It's when all of the elements blend into synchronicity, infusing us with wild new energy and purpose. All the seeds planted long ago begin to sprout, even the ones you may have forgotten about.
At the end of March, I traveled up to Chicago for a 2-day family affair, the Bassnectar Spring Gathering. Traveling always brings me new perspective and rich experiences. But, there was a message during the show that resonated with me very deeply. It was an excerpt from the Duncan Trussell Family Hour podcast. Check it out below - it's worth every second.
This speech nails it. It's such a brilliant perspective, and the metaphor of spring perfectly reflected my soul and countless other bass heads. I get chills every time I relive that moment. But the part that left me dead in my tracks was the line that goes "you'll meet someone new, and realize that it's possible to fall in love again." It was as if everything I've been experiencing at the end of my winter was coming full circle. I recently fell for someone who's soul mirrors my own, and we traveled to work the show in Chicago together. We've both been in such disbelief at how real everything feels, and how undeniable our feelings are - even if we were both scared to explore them. But that 'glimmer of hope' was staring at us, and we knew. This is real. The birth of something incredible. And, the cherry on top of this speech was the backtracking of Bassnectar's remix of a Glitch Mob track called "Beauty of the Unhidden Heart." It was no coincidence that Brandon and I's relationship blossomed the morning their new album was announced, when we discovered we were both mega Glitch Mob fans. That level of serendipity is becoming more and more frequent ever since our souls met. I recapped more about Chicago in the Instagram below:
Back to the sprouting of seeds, I fully believe that in order for new cycles to emerge there must be some sort of maintenance beforehand. We need to declutter and let go of past habits. Resurface your neglected interests, give your hobbies a rebirth. For instance; yesterday I noticed a trail of ants in my room. At first I was annoyed and looked at it as a nuisance. And while I pretty much had to tear apart my room to get to the source, they led right to my arts and crafts box under my bed. Once I cleaned up the stickiness they had found, I realized I hadn't opened my craft box in a veryyyyy long time. So, I spent the next hour cleaning it out, inventorying my supplies, and becoming inspired by all of the things I had the tools to create. All of the seeds I needed to create new and beautiful things had been planted under my nose for months - yet the timing hadn't worked out for me to make anything of them. Well, that little seed I forgot I had planted has now sprouted out of the ground, invigorating me with the drive to create, and I'm now grateful for those ants leading me to a passion I once enjoyed but had forgotten.
I noticed this pattern about myself and I wonder if any of you also find yourself in this situation. I tend to gather, gather, gather... research more information, collect more supplies and resources, keeping notes of random thoughts and ideas for reference, storing things for later use like a squirrel collecting food for the winter. I got a laugh out of it actually, realizing my odd behavior (it also reminded me of this great blog about Underpants Gnomes).
But to get back to the point, now is the time to uncover your acorns. Now is when you decide which ones are worth acting on and which ones just became clutter. It's okay to let go of past ideas + projects, don't see it as a failure. Instead look at it as maximizing your energy. If you're anything like me, you have to prioritize your wild ideas and hone in on the ones that will be the most beneficial. What have you been pondering? What have you put off or felt uninspired about? Have there been signs leading you somewhere - such as the ants leading me to my passion for crafting? Remind yourself of the breadcrumbs you left in the past, of the thoughts and ideas you wanted to revisit, of the hobbies you put on the back burner. Take advantage of the longer days, and the sun's extended energy. Just MAKE something or DO something or PUBLISH something - ironically the situation also motivated me to create a blog post for the first time in 3 months. Oh how I have so many unpublished thoughts. I plan to comb through them and do a little spring cleaning of my own mind. After all, I need to make room for the new and exciting things I have ahead of me. Including a book that I have already begun writing - to be published later this year! That's the goal at least. The more people I tell, the more accountable I'll be to make it happen.
I'll leave you with this; don't hesitate. Let all of your hesitations, procrastination reflexes, and paralyzing anxiety or thoughts wash out of you. That was winter talking; spring is the time to emerge and make moves. And, if you need a soundtrack for your season, check out my RENEWAL playlist on Spotify!
Much love and endless gratitude,
HOW COULD THIS BE WRONG - THE GLITCH MOB
The long awaited return of the Glitch Mob has come to reality. This was the first single released off their upcoming album See Without Eyes (out May 4th!). The first drop is everything you could ever want from a GM song, deep penetrating bass with the overlayers of ethereal synthy magic. This track takes you on a journey. This song found me at a turning point in my life, a time that I allowed myself to surrender to a new love that I was scared to fall into. But hearing this song for the first time, the morning after we shared our first kiss, all of the hesitation went out the window as we asked ourselves "How could this be wrong?"
FALLS - ODESZA
The lyrics in this song are so empowering. "Gotta hold on, gonna make it through this time." It's got to be one of the best songs for anyone going through a difficult time. It inspires so much hope and it's just one of those songs that makes you believe that better days are ahead, that it's okay to admit you're a bit broken. But you have to keep moving in order to get to a better place in the future. Aside from that, it has all of the classic Odesza-esque loops and synths which makes it such a beautiful track.
DESERT DIAMOND - MINNESOTA
I am absolutely digging everything about Minnesota's new EP Curio. This song is one of the thicker tracks on this mix but it offers a nice contrast from all the bubbly tracks. It just layers on so heavy, and keeps building throughout. Not to mention the funky blips and beeps make you feel like you're exploring the catacombs of the pyramid level in Mario Bros 3. I'm super stoked to catch Minnesota throwing down next week at Digital Gardens! His shows always throw down, and I'm dying to hear this new new live.
OPEN UP - BASSNECTAR
I've known this song since it came out in 2014, but I never truly listened to it until this year. It was dropped at the Spring Gathering, making for one of the heaviest beauty banger moments of the weekend. The lyrics (sung by Simon Morel) are highly uplifting, and the message I take from it is not to be afraid to open up to the people around you. I've spent the better part of my young adulthood insistent on handling things on my own. But by being open to help others and be helped by them in return, you allow space for collaboration and new inspiration to spark; ammunition to be loaded so to speak. And, while I haven't been one for love songs until recently, I now find a whole new meaning to the lyric "you're my ammunition" - because finding someone that feeds your passion and supports you is rare and I for one feel unstoppable because of it.
There are almost 50 tracks on this playlist, and I could talk about all of them but instead I'll let you explore the mix for yourself. I hope it brings you breaths of fresh musical air and inspires you to keep moving no matter what. Enjoy!
Writer, stargazer, believer in human beings. Die-hard rock and roller with an insatiable urge to dance my way through life.