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A Life I Could Mean Chapter 4: The Best Gifts PT 2

Christmas morning rolled around, paper flew, the house filled with the smell of food, baked goods, and candy. I watched as everyone opened their gifts and I helped mom work on dinner, though she likes to yell and control the whole thing, trust me my family is not apple pie, more like throw a pie at someone and shut them up, haha, but none the less being back in WV for the holiday was perfect to me, despite all the heartache getting there. As things calmed down, and everyone was more still, kids playing with their toys, Mom, Dad, and my older siblings chatting about sports, news, and gift prices going up each year, my nephew rose to his feet and walked a few feet away and grabbed something from his bag. "Merry Christmas Aunt Sha." He said pulling out and handing to me none other than a Thomas Kinkade mug, cutely wrapped in clear paper with a gold ribbon, the holiday tea, lemon cookies, positioned in a decorative way, the painting of a Church, next to it a Christmas tree, filling the cup with elegant, yet simple warm light.

I cried. I reached for my nephew and I hugged him. "I paid for it myself, with some money I made helping Papap out." (Papap being my dad) "He did." My sister confirmed. "He had me help him pick out one you didn't have." My mother agreed. The smile on my face warmed my entire body. I starred at that mug for several minutes, thanking him over and over again. The joy from that simple gift. It was overwhelming. It sorta reminded me of that awesome book, The Gift Of The Magi, great book! Read it. The best gifts, we hear it so often...are not found in money, objects, etc but in each other...in God, in the love God created for each and every one of us. Do we believe it? Occasionally, but what if simple little gestures like that mug impressed us all the time, every day, would we all be so devastatingly hungry for more more more?

I'm drinking some herbal tea out of that cup right now. :) It's warm and I'm relaxing. I feel at peace and I feel happy that this cup is what holds my tea, that the painting is so beautiful, and my nephew who used to have knock out drag down fights with me bought it for me, so simple, too simple to say anything else about. My music...what I do for a career, shouldn't it have the same affect on people? Shouldn't my power be found in the simple truths of my lyrics? Yes, and I hope they do. I hope all of you are blessed enough to get a TK mug nxt year :)

A Life I Could Mean Chapter 4: The Best Gifts PT 1

Ya wanna know what the best gift I got for Christmas this year was? (Well last year technically haha) ...A painted tea cup. Mug really, one of the Thomas Kinkade original mugs that ya get at Walmart with the holiday tea and cookies that come extra. My nephew got it for me. My nephew is 13 yrs old, he gets into trouble constantly, has a mouth that would shame a sailor, and trust me we have had out shares of horrible fights...but this Christmas he looked at me and said Aunt Sha, what do you want for Christmas? I just smiled sarcastically. I felt like since my parents paid for me to drive home, stay for 10 days, and helped fix my car while I was there, seeing as it broke down half way into Kentucky, haha, asking for more would be selfish and besides...I got everything I really wanted. No presents were gunna be found underneath the tree for me, gas and food for the road had replaced them, no pretty boxes with ribbons, instead I would be watching my family rip into their gifts and somehow that was alright with me. I've never been all that into receiving presents, I am more of a time lady :)

So his question struck me odd. I thought for a second. "I want a Thomas Kinkade mug." It's true, he is one of my favorite artists. I love his work and him being known as the painted of light is so valid in my book. His life story is even more beautiful. PS. Jared Padaleki plays him in the movie, so DUH, all the more reason to love Thomas K! ;) "That's all you want?" He asked amused by the simple request I made. No IPODS, XBOXES, CELL PHONES, CD'S, ETC...Just...a painted cup that costs around 5 bucks. I laughed when I made the request. Cause I realized how much the little things mean to me and how he probably wouldn't understand that or even remember it a moment later.

A Life I Could Mean: Chapter 3 Have I Been Asleep?

So today I sat on the couch watching a marathon of "The Haunting" on Animal Planet and realized that I have been emotionally asleep. I guess moving here though I maintained some portion of active living in my surroundings forced me into a deep sleep, a hiatus from my passions. Balling up, curling up with a good book, movie, and blanket is so much easier than putting oneself out there, embracing the unknown and facing the fear of rejection. I mean sure I went to like 2 open jams, played a show in my hometown Halloween weekend, and made some great friends at work, but have I really been living a life I could mean? Nah. I have been pushing through ankle deep, sheltering myself from any real kind of adventure. What the hell did I come here for, if not for adventure?!

I moved, I left all my loved ones behind, for a city I wasn't even interested in so I could embark upon an adventure worth telling my children about, a journey that would change me inside and out...why have I been trying to play it safe? Where did my sense of "abandon all security" fade to? I feel like I have become just another working stiff schmuck who plays it cool and only does the bare minimum when chasing her dreams, all so she can end each day without a bruise or scar on her metaphorical ego. I suck.

So today I made a choice, will I stick to this? HA, I dunno yet. I mean I have been a very "say one thing do another" person lately. My word has not been as rock solid as it once was, how can I honor my own desires when all I wanna do sometimes is sleep, or watch dvds alone in my bedroom? I'm at a place every person, let alone every artist comes to. The place where really taking a risk or staying on safe ground are both vying for my spirit. I need encouragement, I need a hug, no wait...I need to be held for a few hours so I can cry it all out and open myself up again. Hmmm, that's probably not gunna happen. People are too busy...and I don't have Greg here. :) Inside understanding. ;)

Do I love music? YES. Do I have a passion inside to do it and chase my dreams? YES. It just feels like those things are so far away right now. I feel like I can't really do what I want to do with music, too many limitations here for some reason or another. Am I giving up? NO. I refreshed my internal human hard drive today and vowed to make a new jump at it all. Prayers and random WALL motivations are welcomed and appreciated :) Just a random plug the SHA website is up and running http://www.shawesome.weebly.com/ pls feel free to look it over :) Depending on who you are, a picture of you may even be on that site. haha. I don't feel like being anymore vulnerable today. Just know I care about all of you. I really do, whether we have met or not. The problem with me, is sometimes I care so much it scares me into a dark hole where I don't have to feel the sting of caring.

A Life I Could Mean: Chapter 2 Crazy Train PT2

I am not alone. Though I feel hurt and isolated from truth, the truth is still inside me. My heart still beats, my tears still flow, my skin still flushes. My roomies are still in the living room watching WEEDS, my best friend Brother (Joe Quattrochi) is still in WV thinking about me and playing Maple Story online with his GF, Erika Gonzo (my new nick name for you beautiful) is still watching football and drinking beer 15 minutes down the road/wishing I'd attend or lose my virginity, and Erica Lilly, the flower of my life, is still putting amazing facebook statuses up that make me ponder my life in new ways, and my friend Bails is still pumping up her guitar skeels for the big move to the states where were gunna rock out and learn to live life, together, encouraging each other. I am not alone. If all we were was flesh and bones, alone is something that truely exists, however we are more...we are spirit and heart, memory and sensation, celebration and growth, love and faith. Those things can never exist without their counterparts or their counterpart's counterparts, so on, so forth, so how could we ASSume? It gets the best of us. I still feel twinged by that chilly solitude, I still wish Z was here to hold me and watch crappy movies like Zombieland with me. I still wish my friend Greg would come make Asian food for me and discuss theology till it's late and he has to go bedy bye. I wanna touch and smell those I love. I want connection. But once a connection made, is it ever really broken? Or does that stupid elevator music just play for long periods of time every now and again? Maybe I'm numb today, but tomorrow I will feel something, promise you that.

Yes, I am on a CRAZY TRAIN right now, because I am crazy. But isn't everyone at some point, so if we are all on this CRAZY TRAIN from time to time, am I really alone? :) And ya know what? It's one hell of a ride. :)

A Life I Could Mean: Chapter 2 Crazy Train PT1

"I am a goddess of war and a woman of peace, bound to a righteous call for freedom and enslaved by a love of her own choosing. These chains feel like lotus petals, these shackles remind me of Autumn's sweet smell. I live in this moment of imprisonment, a free spirit, given of her own free will, the key to my heart's cage. I trust you."

My life since I got to Nashville has been a walking ball of insanity. One moment filled with unbelievable promise and beauty, the next a tragedy of the worst kind. I found myself shocked last night at the appalling nature of people. A nature to which I am honestly no stranger, yet never fail to be shocked once it brings it's ugly mug out into the open. I guess I am naive sometimes, actually a lot. Funny thing is, I am not stupid, nor am I untouched by sadness or evil. Seen a shit ton of abuse, pain, and horror my whole life. Abuse in my family, bothered sexually as a child, lost friends to death, cultic churches, you name it. Been poor, homeless, etc...Suffered. Short lived thank God, and amongst it all, been well off, had friends who loved me passionately, found beauty in amongst the ashes so to speak. But make no mistake, I have faced the horrible and I have been beaten by pain. Yet I walk around sometimes like a small innocent child, who believes the world to be a wonderful place...why because I choose. Does this choice bring me into situations I wish I hadn't been in? YES. lol But will I choose it again, YES.

I could make a long friggin list of all the things to be weary of in this world, but I'd rather make a short list of all the things to be thankful for, and another short list of all the things to marvel at, and then another short list of all the people who amaze me...hmmm come to think of it those little lists, combined, make one hell of a long list ;) Problem is those wonderful things spurt out like a back firing engine, ya never know when it will happen and sometimes it catches you off guard and stops before you even realize it.

But back to the reason this chapter of my life has been titled "Crazy Train". So many ups have to accompany so many downs, as it would be in my life right now I am facing a down. My job is making things rough on me...Not my music career job thingy, but my normal person job thingy. My Clark Kent so to speak. Clark's kicking my ass and making me hate normalcy. A lot of people we tend to work with like to tear us down, people in general like to do this to one another...out of fear, insecurity, depression, jealousy, pride...what have you. I face this right now and it aches because all I really wanna do is establish a life here, ya know a home, friendships I can count on, a favorite grocery store the whole nine. I wanna plant a yellow rose bush for God's sake. However last night I came to realize that sometimes those who you would imagine as wonderful friends may not be the wonderful friends you assume them to be, and perhaps in assuming you made an ass of yourself and assumptions can cause more drama than you were prepared for, or than you had assumed they would. HAHA. I really like what I just did there ;) Make a long annoying store short so I don't have to hash it out inside my head again...I felt very alone last night and today, realize that my very best friends are still hundreds of miles away and I can't call them to rescue me any old time anymore :( Tragic isn't it? I have to be self-sufficient. Why? Who says we have to face things on our own, who says we have to learn to fly solo? WTF does that mean anyways? No one flys solo here, even when they ASSume they are, right? And trust me those who go that extra mile of CONVINCING themselves they really are alone, don't last long enough to find out they were wrong.

A Life I Could Mean: Chapter 1 The Big Move

So it's been 37 days now since I took the largest leap of faith in my whole existence and packed all my things, made the 8 and half hour drive down to Nashville and moved in to a 3 bedroom house in Antioch, TN. With my new roomies and a great friend, the first week was grand. Visits to the zoo, downtown Broadway, dinner at the Hard rock, sights, sounds, excitement, the sweet breeze and hot sun warming every event and giving the faint idea that vacation will last forever. However vacation came to an end. Reality set in, my friend flew home, work, city traffic, and loneliness became my truth on this journey and I found myself questioning... "Why did I do this?". Being homesick was just the beginning. I began to doubt myself in ways I had never before, then my damn voice gave and Laryngitis took a stop in my throat, causing more anguish than I was prepared for. Now I really was at a loss at why I was in MUSIC CITY USA, my vocals were busted, my friends and everything I really loved was over 800 miles away. "This is bullshit!" I caught myself saying every time I would push that last effort button to pray. Asking God why I was here, what do I do, where do I go, what do you want from me?!

The air got colder, the days at work got longer. Then a miracle occurred. I stopped whining just long enough to hear a whisper. "Don't Be Blind". It hit me hard. I took a look around at my life here and saw things I hadn't been able to see because all I was starring at was what was wrong and I was missing all that was so right! That girl at work with the cute little Nashville accent and the school girl giggle, she didn't offer to come over to watch movies just to be polite, she cares about you and probably sees how much you are hurting, wants to love you...LET HER IN. The hours they have been cutting you at work, now you have so much more time to write, sing, and focus on what you really love, the bills will get paid...well looke there someone just offered to pay you for performing, SOMEONE OFFERED TO BOOK YOU IN NASHVILLE CAUSE THEY THINK YOU ARE GREAT!...WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?! Little blessings, I think not, huge chances to grow, love, think, and live beyond what you are granting yourself. My eyes suddenly became open. I saw change happening, some of it hard, some of it rough, a lot of it lonely, but all of it WONDERFUL. I auditioned at THE COMMODORE, passed, now I get to sing in a song writers showcase with a half dozen other amazingly talented individuals, not everyone gets to say that. Everytime I sing out people compliment, ask for CDs, and enjoy me, not everyone gets that kind of response. I should be honored that people take notice, I should be thankful for my blessings and for the love so many have offered me over these past few weeks.

The sweetheart who hoists a camera like a cowboy and offers to take me out for sushi, thats a miracle. The saucey latino princess I work with who brings me my favorite mexican candy and makes me laugh even if just for a moment. Why are we blind sometimes to the most beautiful parts of life? New friends who don't just shake your hand when they meet you for the first time, but hug you, and you realize you've been needing one more than you knew. Those are the things we should see in amongst all the other garabage. So here I am..37 days in and suddenly I am new. Nashville is a place of promise and another chapter in the journey known as my life. I never wanna regret a second of this life, and ya know...if I end up regretting it will be because I was just too blind to see the point in all the mistakes and failures, too self-centered to realize all the possibility to grow from every stumble, learn from every fall, and love through every pain. This life must be meaningful, but I am the one who makes it so. Choice is a gift.