I've been giving this a lot of thought.
And pardon me for maybe getting a bit confessional on this...
The past several days have just been... overwhelming for me.
Tomorrow (or, today, depending on how long it takes me to write and post this) begins a celebration of an achievement I, at times, never thought I'd reach. I'm stunned by the support I've already received in so, so many ways. I am beyond grateful for the oceans of kindness shown to me in support of my music. And I am startlingly honored by the two recent SMA nominations that have shown me yet another avenue of support.
This album, this music, has been so much of me, of my life, for so long, that it's just... surreal... that all of this is happening.
That this album... is finally happening.
I am thrilled. And terrified. With waves and waves of joy. And a little nagging fear.
Okay, maybe a lot of nagging fear.
It's that excitement of reaching a dream. It's that feeling of trepidation... of not wanting to let anyone down who has ever supported that dream. Or worse... of somehow letting yourself down. It's a challenge this... inner conflict of emotion.
But the fear cannot best the feelings of happiness. It cannot best the feelings of pride and accomplishment. It cannot best the feelings of... survival.
People have given me some words, sometimes in jest, sometimes with an undertone of serious sincerity. They tell me, sometimes gently criticize me, about how my songs just aren't... happy.
Yes, I know that.
First, there's the obvious reason - I tend to write from a place of pain. I've said it. Many times. Often in a microphone for everyone to hear. I can't help it. Life, for all of us, can be absolute and total hell. We've all been there. Over the years, music has turned into a coping mechanism that, as I've said before and will say again, has saved my life on more than one occasion. I can never repay music for what it has been to, and done for, me.
But maybe, just maybe, I can pay it forward.
I've realized that there's another reason. A reason that goes beyond my now carefully honed sense of self-preservation.
When you reach the point of no return. When you are one wrist-flick away from a decision you can never return from. When you scream and cry and rage at the entirety of existence around you. When you feel like you're trapped, or drowning, or being buried alive, or feel like you'll never see the light again... you don't look for that sunshiney summer jam.
You look for the pain.
You look for the words and the melody that so perfectly capture exactly where you are.
You look for solace.
You look for a friend.
Because chances are, at that point, you feel more alone than you've ever felt.
I'm okay with the fact that this album may not be the soundtrack for the feel-good movie of the year.
I want this album to be there for anyone who ever feels like they have nowhere else to turn.
When at their lowest, when wracked with fear, and pain... When today's victory was that you survived it... my hope is that maybe in this music, you can find something to hold on to.
Because, I've been there too.
You are not alone.
And, as actor Jared Padalecki has coined, please please please...
Always keep fighting.
...I know I'm really glad that I did. <3