It’s a weird thing.
I have literally thought to myself and/or said out loud to others, “I really feel like blogging” and yet… nothing. For quite awhile now.
That is always a huge indicator for me. I write when I have something that needs to be said. When the desire to write my heart, read it back, and allow myself to process is more overwhelming than anything going on externally. And sometimes, there’s just too much that needs to be said. So, instead of flushing them out and tackling these topics one by one, I stay silent. The chaos stays internal. The blog stays unwritten.
I’m currently 3 songs written, 2 hours of Golden Girls watched, and a bottle of wine consumed today so… here we go.
I left Detroit on April 22nd. That means, it’s been a whole 30 days since I’ve seen my dogs, my family, my porch swing, and my bed. It has been 20 days since I have seen my boyfriend. This probably seems extreme to a lot of you. To some of you musician/gypsy spirit types, this seems relatively normal. I rest somewhere between the two.
I make sacrifices all the way around, some days seeming more worthwhile than others. The documentary that initially prompted my split location finally wrapped filming 5 weeks ago, so now the “I have to be in Michigan for this” is up. Clearly, life is much different than it was 18 months ago when I made the decision to give up my ever-dramatic, forever busy, at times volatile, full-time living (and distracting myself from) “the dream” in Nashville.
I now live in an “old lady bungalow” in the suburbs with the greatest man I’ve ever known and all of our doggie children. I have a baby niece and nephew that I’m completely obsessed with. I have a Granny that turns 90 years old in August and lives 5 miles away from the rest of my family. I have an Aunt that probably doesn’t “need” me, but regardless, I feel called to be there for since the loss of my Godfather. I have a few friends (new and old) that truly “get me” and I’m grateful. The desire to create music and share it with Detroit remains strong. I’m “one of them” and I yearn to contribute in a way I haven’t just yet.
However, Nashville brought me up. It’s brought out the very best and the very worst in me. I’m now at a place where I can recognize where I was and who I’ll never be again, no matter how alluring it may seem at times. I am not that girl anymore, praise God. And I’m SO thankful that I can have that realization NOW and not on my 2nd stint in rehab or with a couple kids under my belt. Nashville, for all it’s hardships, is also where so much of my light is…it’s where I’m the most creative, the most productive, the most inspired. Re-working my boundaries and my social circle has been a lot, but I’ve already seen the benefits. I’m still working on eliminating the fog of self-defeating and self-sabotaging thoughts that held me down for so long, but I know the vision is getting clearer everyday. I’m not the same Rachel I was 18 months ago and the Rachel in Nashville today genuinely reflects that.
And yet, all this time and traveling that has taken place since I left my little domestic haven on Baker Avenue in Michigan weeks ago… somehow, my lines have been blurred, scribbled, and stomped on repeatedly. Two trips to Florida and 2 weeks in Nashville later, my sense of “peace” has been relatively non-existent for a month now. There’s definitely a few people I could blame for this, but what’s the point? It’s only partially their fault. Because at the end of the day, I could’ve handled their poor behavior and these toxic situations differently. And I’m disappointed that I didn’t. In a couple of these scenarios, I thought keeping neutral and “cool” would be for the best, for myself and the others traveling with me. It wasn’t. So I ended up feeling like a doormat and allowing a few people that I love to feel the same. Another scenario weighing heavy on my heart tonight is where I completely unloaded EVERYTHING, without ever coming up for air. And regardless if those things were on my heart, I’m disappointed that I allowed those buttons to be pushed so severely.
It’s all left me feeling exhausted.
So yesterday morning, slightly hungover (and definitely sleep-deprived from what is now considered a rare, “girls night” out downtown), I picked up my (nearly) 90 year old Granny from Nashville International Airport at 8:30AM. I immediately took her to the Cracker Barrel where I tried to nurse us both back to life with biscuits and a pot of coffee. I then proceeded to drive 90 minutes to her hometown of Hohenwald, TN, where I’d be dropping her off for a few days with her youngest (and last-surviving) brother, my Great Uncle Johnny and his wife, Aunt Lillie Mae. As tired as I was, I enjoyed the scenic drive with my ‘side-kick’. I hung on every story that my Granny’s hoarse voice tried to tell me of anything and everything.
When we arrived, I stayed most of the day with zero distraction. You see, Hohenwald is a “No Service” zone for Sprint. Not “Extended”, not 1 bar if you stand at the end of the drive…no, it’s “No Service” for at least 20 minutes in every direction. It stormed pretty hard for a majority of the afternoon, so that aided in my long visit. A few times, I just sat out on the porch and listened to this beautifully vast country-side get pummeled by rain. When it cleared up hours later (and I’d eaten about 10 pounds worth of good ol’ country cooking), I hit the road alone back to Nashville.
I was thankful for the solo drive. I typically use that time to explore, get a little lost, make a dead-stop in the middle of the street just to take a photo, admire all the farms/random country stores/abandoned houses/gas stations, and know that GPS isn’t going to work 95% of the time. And this time was no different. I definitely got lost without my navigation working.
It’s funny how that happens…
We rarely allow ourselves to get lost.
We rarely give ourselves permission or allow time for exploration.
I’m forever grateful for my drives to and from Hohenwald, even if it’s just for that.
Honestly, it’s a spiritual experience. I soak it all in. The scenery is always mystifying to me. My heart is literally pulled in. It was probably on my 3rd stop in the middle of the road to snap a photo that I realized that THIS WAS EXACTLY WHAT I NEEDED. The peace I SO craved with these Florida beaches, a “vacation” from the dogs and my family life was so completely and utterly unfulfilling for a reason.
Nothingness. No phone service. No social media. No making plans. No time-crunch. No traveling with others. No worrying what others would be thinking or doing or texting. No passive-aggressive bullshit. Just shutting the fuck up and taking it in. And it happened. The peace was unreal. And then, in the midst of trying to figure out which direction I was effin going down on some back country road, there was this….
And I thanked God at least a dozen times.
And then I drove directly to Kingston Springs, completely bypassing Nashville and the “night out” I had originally planned to have. I went to bed at 10PM and for the first time in forever, I SLEPT IN…until 11AM at that, my first night of more than 5 hours of sleep in weeks.
Turns out, you can really work some shit out in the middle of nowhere.
I don’t know, maybe getting lost is the best way to find your way.
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