I’ve been lucky enough to cross off so many items from my bucket list this year. And I feel so truly blessed because of that. So many amazing things have happened to me this year. Things I’ve dreamed about as a starry-eyed kid. Both in my personal life and music life. However, I’ve also had a long list of let downs. MAJOR let downs. Hide under the covers, eat chocolate, and cry every night kind of let downs. Both in my personal life and music life. As many good things happened to me that would obviously bring up a person’s confidence, I watched that shoot right back down with the rejection that has followed it. It’s amazing what doubt and never feeling good enough for anyone or anything can do to a person’s self esteem. When stuff like that happens, both good and bad, friendships are tested. We realize some people are only there for us when life is…content. And we also realize how true some people are when they are there through it all. I’ve always been outgoing and never let anyone or anything get me down, but no one is bulletproof. I’ve dealt with problems with what I look like my entire life and I’ve dealt with people having problems with my “good girl morals” my entire life. And the second I said something wrong, I’d get attacked like tigers seeing raw meat after not eating in weeks. Like people waiting on the sidelines for “little miss goody goody” to take one wrong turn. But I realized something very important recently. Something I hadn’t before. People are always going to want to watch you fall. No matter who you are or what your name is or what your job is or what you look like. People are always going to say you’re “too fat” or not “pretty enough” or “too skinny” or not “smart enough” or “too smart” or “annoying” or “too outspoken” or “too easy to push over” or “too loud” or “too quiet”. There will ALWAYS be someone wanting to make you hate yourself. However, those people don’t matter. With every person who wants to change you, there are 100 people who love you for all the same reasons why they hate you. I took it upon myself to get rid of all those people in my life. The only people who matter to me in life are my friends, family, and everyone who has ever been kind to me. There are how many people in this world so it really doesn’t matter if 10 people don’t “like” or support you. Whether it’s in a relationship or a friendship. People who make you feel anything but happy don’t deserve to be there. And when I made the decision to cut out all of those people from my life, I noticed an unusual happiness that has been following me ever since. It was like getting rid of all the poison in my life.
This year, I also spent too much time on a guy who made me feel worthless and ugly and always upset or bitter or angry. I spent a year on a guy who made me feel like I wasn’t worth a relationship because I wasn’t as pretty as all the other girls he was secretly talking to. I spent a year on a guy who would drive 6 1/2 hours to Tally just to see a girl he hardly knew when he wouldn’t even travel 30 minutes to my college campus to see me open up for James Otto after promising he would be there. Regardless of all the emotional damage this person caused me, looking back, I realized I wouldn’t change a thing. I wouldn’t change a thing because I grew so much as a person in that year and my songwriting changed and matured so much because of that first real heart break and let down and regret. I learned that time heals everything and even though I may want to personally throw a cowboy boot at his face and his “other girls”, there will be a time in the future where I’ll be over it. And I’m excited for that day. Because time heals. And timing is everything. And not ending up being with that person is just a blessing in disguise. And one day I’ll be able to turn on an Eric Church and Gloriana song without flashing back to that late night talk in his car and all the time I spent with him. One day.
A hiker can’t say what it’s like hiking Mt.Everest if he hasn’t done it before. He can read about it and try to say what it’s like, but his answer could never be as accurate as it would be if he took the risk and experienced the struggles himself. Songwriting is no different. And either is growing up. I took all those lessons I learned from all those let downs and turned them into songs. SO MANY songs. And I took those lessons and shared them with younger people I know going through the same thing because we all go through self-image and confidence and relationship issues. And I took that feeling of not being “pretty” and “skinny” enough and turned it into a work out routine and healthier eating menu. I realized that I can never fall for another person if I don’t first love myself. And I realized that if I want to focus on someone or something, I first have to focus on myself. I don’t want a better body to impress anyone anymore, but I want a better body to impress myself because there’s no better feeling than looking in the mirror and saying “this is because of hard work and I actually like myself”. Because in the end, the only person you’re ever with 24/7 is yourself.