I’m still here. It’s been a while. I’ve felt a bit stuck. I’ve been writing songs, sending my book query/proposal out to agents. A whole lotta silence out there, but I believe in Menopausal Mommy: A Symphony In Four Trimesters (even if the working title reads a bit bougie).

Not gonna lie. This has been the hardest 2 years of my life. Dad died. Lost my voice. Grief struck. Bailed on shows. Got an award. Came home to a tornado. Covid struck. Lockdown. Unemployed. My friends podded up and I watched it on Instagram and whether or not I was left out, it gave me some feels. Some just drifted. I tried to not take it personally. I had a small pod. My husband, my son and me. It felt a bit claustrophobic and that’s on me. I fought with the love of my life till I had to take myself away for treatment for Depression and Trauma. And what they call Complicated Grief. Came back to more therapy. Still raged. Some friends never called. Some did. Some closings of doors gave way to openings of new ones. Shallow friendships deepened with walks and music and tea and coffee and Zoom and phone calls. Truth and honesty. I lost some things and potentially the thing that’s most important to me. I gained some things. I moved a few times. But I landed. In my skin finally, and honestly, really only last week.

I was teaching. Teaching lands me in my skin and I finally know this. Writing does too. Performing does a different thing. Not a landing, a launching. But it takes a ton of effort, effort to wrangle the ego into a place where it’s not driving the bus. Efforts to shut the critic up who blares WHILE I’m playing, so that my brain/focus is divided into 3: critiquing the what I am doing, remembering the lyrics and what I’m supposed to be doing, and staying open and vulnerable with the other voices clamoring. Most times, I’m good at this. As good as Julia Child with 4 burners going. Really. It’s a superpower of mine. Performing. Giving. Glowing. Being vulnerable and spontaneous and funny and allowing my voice to do what it does. But I don’t come away from performances feeling rooted in my own skin and presence like I do when I teach. Because when I teach it’s not about me. When I teach I’m not asking you how I am doing. I am asking you how you are doing. And I’m shining a light on what makes you special. It makes ME feel special and I love this more than I love anything else I do.

I’m not going to stop writing songs and singing them. I make a living at it. But I love teaching. And I just got to do that for a week, for the first time in 2 years. And I came back to myself after such a long time in the waterwheel.

Being a Mom is the greatest joy of my life but it also hard. I wish my own mother lived closer. I wish my sister were here. I wish I had more help. Some days I’m just struggling to get Huck away from the TV and then I give up and put on “Blippy” because he loves it and I can relax a bit. I feel like a bad Mom, but then I give myself grace that I KNOW I’m a good Mom. I’m just a tired, slightly sad Mom.

So I haven’t written prose. Nor poetry. I was on a roll, writing a poem a day, for a while. To prepare myself for graduate school in poetry in the Fall. Now I’m wondering if that’s really the path I should take. The reason for grad school is to get credentials so I can teach at the college level here in Nashville. I’m thinking ahead to wanting to be home, needing to be home more for my son as he gets older, gets into school, team sports and carpools and making orange slices. I want to be here. I don’t want to miss it. 120 dates a year on the road is not appealing to me anymore. And I can’t do this on my performing income alone. I need something more solid.

I hope my book gets an agent. I hope the agent sells my book to a publisher. I hope the book sells. That’s my dream right now.

I hope for other things I can’t talk about. Personal things. I hope my dear friend Megan’s cancer goes away. It’s heartbreaking and inspiring to watch her walk through chemo for the 2nd time in 5 years. I’m scared. I love her. I hope for forgiveness and to forgive. I hope to not grow old without someone to hold at night. I hope to lose 5 – 10 pounds. I hope to run a 1/2 marathon again. I hope for the world to hear my record that came out in April without me being able to tour it. I hope my friends who need love find love and the ones stuck in loveless situations get out and find themselves. I hope for serenity and self acceptance and self forgiveness. I hope ….

But while I hope, I thought I’d just let you know. I’m still here.

5 thoughts on “I’m still here

  1. Amy, I hope that grad degree does land you in a teaching position. Because you are so DAMN good at it. Coming out of covid and back to performing again gave me so many “bucket list moments” this year. But I can honestly say that your class at Song School has had perhaps the biggest and hopefully most lasting impact on me as a performer and teacher. 40 years ago, after opening for his show, Utah Phillips told me (in a kind and helpful way) that my stage presence sucked.
    And from then on I put as much work into that aspect of my performances as I did into song/guitar practice and songwriting. And I thought I had that down. Until I took your class and realized how much I was missing? How much more I was still unaware of? From the perspective of being a “service provider”, to being more authentic by figuring out who I am in the song and who I am singing to. And more. But I think I learned most from watching you teach. How you worked with each student using an “inquiry-based” style, helped each class participant learn more about their song. Where it came from? How it felt to write and perform it? How to share that authentically and effectively with an audience?
    If imitation is the best form of flattery, I hope you are blushing to hear that am definitely trying to use what I learned in your class with my own students. Up until now, I have been more focused on teaching music theory, and lyrical techniques like clustering (aka. Gabrielle Rico). But I have some new inspirations around teaching performance skills too. More importantly, I’m finding myself critically examining my own performances. Unintended consequence: I’m getting kinda tough on my band; asking them to try to be/act more professionally on stage. Maybe more solo or duo work lies ahead.
    Any way….Thank you. I’m sure Huck will need you more in the years to come. And though I too, relied on the “electronic baby sitter” known as the TV with my three sons and felt guilty for it; those years fly by so fast……even at our age. BTW: I’m 63. Teaching will be a wonderful new way to balance all that you do as a parent and artist.

    Eric Richard Stone

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have truly enjoyed your latest album. As a Mom I believe the fact that you care enough to care about being a good one is enough. To reuse an old quote. It truly is “the toughest job you’ll ever love”. My daughter is a grown young woman now. I still ask myself if I am saying and doing the right things almost every day.

    Liked by 1 person

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