Tour Diary: The Girl With the Panther Tattoo
Today begins the 9th week of what seems to be our longest tour ever. We have almost two more weeks to go and still a lot of places to be. I (Chicky) am writing this in Austin, TX. We have had most of the past week off… A nightmare, normally, for touring musicians because if you don’t play then you don’t make money. But since we left, we played 6-7 nights a week and saved whatever we could from those better shows to not hurt us too too badly this past week. It helps tremendously that we have been staying with the most wonderful of wonderful families here, the Craig family, who more than provide us a warm and comfortable to place to stay and keep their pantry and refrigerator stocked with too much food and snacks. They do even more than that for us. These people have included us in their family, introducing us and integrating us within their close knit circle, encouraging for the rest to come support us too… and in not a charity kind of way, but in a faith-based way that believe in our talents and in our dreams and want to help us rise. And shine. Almost every night here has been filled with music and sing-along around the piano. When our show in New Orleans was canceled, they lifted our spirits by throwing a little gathering, claiming, “You might make more money here just playing for tips PLUS you’ll have a great meal PLUS you won’t have to drive anywhere!” And you know what??? All that happened. As much as they do for us, I am happy to play piano all day for free. There’s not a lot of opportunity to practice on a grand piano, and accompanying vocalists is only a great way to brush up on my chops. You’d think that’s enough to do for us, right? But they also love spoiling us with delicious restaurants that we couldn’t afford to enjoy on our budget. We look forward to leave just because we know that our time will come again sooner than later to do it all again. From the bottom of our hearts, we appreciate you embracing us and taking care of us and supporting us and staying past your bedtime to have us scream and cuss at you during our performance… only to thank us by making another incredible feast of steak and double-baked potato and caesar salad and too much cheesecake!!!! Most of all, thank you for reminding us that it’s worth us pursuing our goals that at times seem too lofty and unachievable.
Because that’s how we had been feeling before we arrived in Austin. We are rounding up our 4th year of touring. It’s starting to become that time to decide whether we feel we can continue. This tour has been so crazy emotional. Man, did we start off on a high note. Our highs were HIGH. We earned the entire amount of our rental car pretty quickly while paying all our bills to date; We were able to buy little souvenirs for the children; We were able to afford a motel night here and there without breaking the bank. We even had to replenish our merchandise! We were finally living as comfortable as anyone with a regular paycheck can. That was all we ever had wanted!
All of a sudden, one bad show (in Kansas City, MO) kickstarted a rapid downward spiral in which life was forcing us to unclench our fists that tightly held onto our rental car money and emergency funds that we left home with. Those emergency funds are supposed to go toward another van for us to live in while back in the bay. Without it, we will have nowhere to stay. For the next three weeks we endured extreme financial, mental and emotional stress. I didn’t make it easier on Jason, I know he takes a lot of pressure from me. I wouldn’t even be here without him. There’s no way I would have done all these things on my own or with other people. His tenacity and ambition and determination has been a driving force for LFADM and I’ve been riding his coattails this whole time. But I’ve been starting to get tired.
At 35, it’s a constant internal battle. Especially for me as a woman. I may look young but my insides are definitely shriveling and my decision must be made soon as far as whether I want to reproduce. I don’t even have that as an option and the only way I can feel better about it is if I’m flourishing within my chosen career path. And if my time runs out and I don’t have the career success to justify it, then I’m afraid where that will leave me, mentally. My only comforts are being able to let out my emotions through music and performance. It seems to be the only time for it to be okay and the only way I can. If not, I am burdened with bottled up feelings that make me mad in the lonesomeness that I often seclude myself to. It’s a type of lonesomeness that only my husband knows and can bring me out of. Without him, I wouldn’t know where to go or how to live or what I would do. He breathes life into me that I feel guilty of because I am not his responsibility, I am my own. And he is his. And we may share one humongous dream but we each have our own personal responsibilities and goals that I can only hope will merge so that we can both feel fulfilled and maintain love and peace and sanity.
The turmoil can be overwhelming. I should write a song about it.