Two words. A complete sentence …
And it can be A HEAVY SENTENCE, full of weight … or full of possibility.
It can be filled with anything. Think about all the times and ways we use the phrase “I AM” in a day … a week … a month. How many things do you call yourself? How many ideas, professions, states of being do you identify with? How does the phrase “I AM” feel when you say it and DON’T place anything after it. Just let it sit there … all by itself …
I’ve ben thinking & feeling into this idea a LOT lately. More so over the last 2-3 years than ever. Maybe it’s middle age (a mid-life crisis?), maybe it’s New Orleans & her good juju. Maybe it’s the down-time from Covid lockdowns & all that. Maybe it’s wisdom, or just flotsam and jetsam … who knows? And who really cares?
See … that’s the point. WHO KNOWS & WHO CARES?
We humans have a tendency to label ourselves … and these days we seem to be labeling ourselves to death. Any quick visit to the world of social media will illustrate this. Everyone has a “bio” stacked with labels that they use to identify themselves (and to be clear, I am in NO WAY suggesting that we should dishonor anyone’s way of self-identifying, that is a choice they made for themselves & the rest of us have the responsibility to accept & honor that). We use our work, our passions, our hobbies, and just about every aspect of our lives to place ourselves in nice, neat little boxes, that can be stacked up & organized so we can make some sense out of it all.
But I’m asking a question about those boxes, those labels today. What if we stripped them all away & just ended the sentence when we say “I AM”. PERIOD. Nothing more. What if we stopped defining ourselves with external source material such as our marital status, jobs, parental status, etc?
The truth for me anyways, is that the stuff that will come after the “I AM” tends to be defined by OTHERS, as opposed to ourselves.
I AM a wife … that is defined by the fact that I signed a piece of paper & filed it with the state.
I AM a vocalist … that is defined by something that I do, and not my inner state of being.
I AM an Auntie … again, status defined by a relationship I have to children in my family that are not my own.
I could provide several other examples … but y’all get the drift.
But I’ve been asking myself lately, what if I took away all of those things outside of myself that I use to define me and just decided to BE. JUST BE. With the intention of allowing whatever version of me shows up in the moment to BE who/what I AM right then & there? What if today I’m a writer & tomorrow I wake up & all I want to do is cook & feed my husband? Then the day after that I decide to paint, or draw, or clean the house, or lay in bed & read all my books? I could say I AM an artist. I AM a chef & a wife. I AM a lazy bookworm. So I AM actually all of those things. It’s just a matter of allowing … allowing whatever wants to flow through me at that moment just be.
I AM a vessel. Ah-ha! Now we get closer to what I feel is a truth … a very large, universal truth, an absolute. We are all vessels & we are all empty until we make a conscious choice to allow something to fill us. It could be an art, a craft, a lifestyle, a job, a family, a practice, a religion …. Anything. But it is still something outside of us filling us up … and then we are claiming it as our own. As an identity.
One thing I know about myself, and a label that is comfortable for me to wear, is that I AM a storyteller. I always have been, even as a child. If you’ve had any real, one-on-one interaction with me, you’ve likely heard me spin a yarn that (hopefully, LOL!) kept you enrapt. If you’ve seen a show of mine since about 2016-2017, you know there’s always a spot or two in there where I like to share the stories of the songs I’m singing, especially the ones I’ve had a hand in writing.
I’ve wandered through this crazy time since the end of 2019 where I’ve had to peel back the labels & the attachment to things that are outside of me in order to find out about the things that are inside of me … my true nature. With no gigs, performances, albums, songwriting projects, etc to define me, I had to learn to sit with an empty slate … and I won’t lie, it was kinda scary for a while! But I’m getting better at it & am finding ways to continue to express myself that feel more aligned with who I’ve become on the inside, as opposed to who I had made myself on the outside … and the “label” of STORYTELLER is one that feels good right now.
I AM A STORYTELLER.
Saying that, in this moment, feels like putting on my most favorite pair of jeans, a super soft James Perse t-shirt & my favorite stretched-out, worn ragged, Free People sweater (oh, and I AM 100% comfortable saying that I AM a bougie clotheshorse, LOLOLOL!!!!).
And so here we are … I AM giving myself this space on the wild-west that is the internet, to just be a storyteller. These stories are mine. I am claiming them all. They are not “professionally crafted, well-written & perfectly edited (you’ll notice my love for colloquialisms, parentheses & ellipsis). I’ve learned, and am still learning, to fight the urge to “be perfect” before presenting myself to the world, but that’s a topic for another post. And maybe this is my first foray into LIVING that understanding. I’m just putting it out here, perfect or not, to be shared. We’re gonna run the gamut of it all. I’m gonna write whatever I wanna write & that’s what’s gonna be here. Some of these stories will be funny. Some will be thought provoking (hopefully). Some will be sad & others may even make y’all think I’m completely unhinged.
And maybe …. I AM.
But … I’m gonna leave the definitions up to you. The stories here are what are mine. I wanted a place to share them, & this is it. Take what you like, leave the rest. Decide what you want about me, but please … keep it to yourself (you’ll notice there’s no place for commentary here). If something really resonates, & you’re compelled, feel free to send me an email (you can find the address on the home page) if you’d like to engage in a RESPECTFUL discussion. I AM open (although many I’ve interacted with would disagree). I AM also moving slower these days. The time away from the hustle-and-grind of the tour life has changed my pace & the way I live, and it has been for the better, so if you do send me an email, please don’t expect a reply right away. I AM happier & more fulfilled (on the inside) than I have ever been (IYKYK) & I AM intending on keeping it that way.
If you’ve made it this far, I AM impressed!
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading & stepping into my thoughts for a while … and I hope you’ll continue to join me here. I won’t (at least for now) be sharing this blog on socials. If you would like to know when I write a new piece, please subscribe to my email newsletter (see the box below) and you’ll get my musings delivered straight to your inbox.
I thank you for your presence & the gift of your time. It’s only been over the last few years that I have really understood the joys of the time we have on this earth. This life is A GIFT. The experiences we have while we are here on this plane can be amazingly beautiful … it is only when we realize that our TIME here is the most precious gift of all, that we really start living, start becoming, and learning that simply existing is enough. I AM grateful.