When I was in my early twenties, I had a habit of running away. From jobs, from towns, from situations that were going pear-shaped -- I would literally pack up my car in the middle of the night and leave. Luckily, I grew out of this by the time I was 25, which is when people generally start having less patience for adolescent bullshit. But this tendency to bail before getting bailed on was symptomatic of a deep sense of inferiority on my part. On some molecular level, I felt like people were simply tolerating me. I was grateful to be invited to the party because I didn't feel like I deserved to be there. I rarely broke off romantic entanglements, even when they turned bad or my paramours would use words like "expresso", because I wasn't confident that other people would find me attractive or interesting. And if I had any validation for these fears in the form of abandonment, I would absolutely shrivel up and die like a gremlin who had been dunked one too many times. I looked back on these half-finished situations -- the friendships, the jobs, the lives -- and wistfully mourn what might have been. Whenever I revisited these memories, I viewed myself as the one who had lost out.
Until one day, I said, "To hell with that." What if they were the ones who had messed up? Who had lost access to me? What if I was the one who got away and not the other way around?
To be clear, these situations were complex and ghosting on your own life is generally not the move. But it was the first time in my life that it occurred to me to value myself and view my own company as a privilege that could be won and lost.
That mentality, when applied to the music industry in general, has helped me through some low points where it would have been so easy to say "I missed out." But I didn't. I haven't. And I'm done running away.
Much like "Real Good", this song was written over two years ago when I was working long hours as a teacher. I stumbled across the first few chords in an evening ukulele lesson, and before I knew it, the song had poured out of my hands. It's not a complicated ballad -- just a handful of chords that my band was able to wrap in frenetic licks and bucks. What my guitarist Josh calls "some real barnyard shit" in a beautiful tribute to the genre I've chosen to dedicate my life to. I wrote this song while adopting the character of a brave woman who could leave a situation and feel confident that other opportunities were on the horizon. She's not a character anymore. I'm not sure if the moral of this story is that you should "fake it 'til you make it" or if it's that being in your early twenties is a profoundly stupid and traumatic experience. Probably some mixture of both. So if you are 23 and going through it, keep going. If you've resigned yourself to a shitty situation because you feel like you can't do better, get angry and get out. Tell 'em I told you to.