When Old Identities No Longer Serve You

When Old Identities No Longer Serve You

**Disclaimer: I write some of my blog posts over the course of weeks. Others are the culmination of a few hours in a coffeeshop. This post is the latter. It began as a private journal entry before I realized that I would love to share it with others - creatives, in particular - to hear your feedback, your stories, and your perspective. Throughout the course of my life, my various identities have been both havens of safety and cages of discontent. This particular post depicts my “identity” as a musician and how it has morphed over time. Please feel free to share your own stories of the challenges and rewards of ever-shifting identities in the comments. Thanks for reading!**

I’ve been writing my own music since I was 5. I performed original compositions throughout high school and college. When I turned 21, I went to every open mic within a 20-mile radius and played ticketed shows. When I turned 22, I started organizing events, workshops, and showcases for musicians in Boston. And then, without warning, I lost interest in playing and performing entirely.

At first I blamed writer’s block. Then I blamed my busy schedule. But neither reason explained my utter disinterest in the art form that had once captivated my heart. Bewildered, I began turning down performance opportunities. Every time somebody asked me when my next show was, I felt myself blush and said, “I’m not sure - I’m taking a hiatus right now.” Inevitably, the listener would express disappointment, then good-naturedly encourage me to book something soon and keep playing. Their intentions were loving, but after experiencing hundreds of these exchanges, I felt nothing but pressure.


What was wrong with me? After all, being a musician was my identity: an identity I’d made public with hundreds of performances and Facebook statuses and a website.

But now, the identity that had made me feel seen, heard, and given me a sense of belonging felt like a favorite shirt that I’d outgrown. It felt like a cage.

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On The Road Issue 2: Studenthood in Seattle

On The Road Issue 2: Studenthood in Seattle

Greetings from the road! As y’all may have read in my last blog post, I am in the midst of a nomadic journey. In August, I left Boston to live on the road and continue working remotely as a Life Coach. Currently, I’m bunked in Seattle - specifically, the charming, eccentric neighborhood of Fremont. Thanks for coming along on this journey with me <3

Recently, I’ve been thinking of this journey as an opportunity to be a student. Generally, we think of ourselves as students when we’re in educational settings, learning hard skills like math, car repair, pie crust recipes - you get the idea. Sometimes we forget that all endeavors - particularly those that are unfamiliar - are teachers. Identifying as a student has helped me embrace the what-the-hell-am-I-doing sensation that accompanies trying something new - and I happen to be doing a lot of trying something new these days. And how relieving: to feel like it’s okay to learn instead of to know. This mindset has helped me stay curious and keep my mind open on the road. 

In September, I wrote about synchronicities. My first few weeks on the road, I experienced lucky coincidence after lucky coincidence. The mother of all synchronicities took place when a Seattle-based friend-of-a-friend offered me his one bedroom apartment while he travels in South America till November. Seattle was already sneaking its way into my heart, so when the option arose to stay twice as long as I’d originally intended - for virtually no money - I accepted without a thought. 

And so today, like many other days recently, I am cozily sipping coffee at Caffe Vita, the neighborhood coffeeshop steps from “my” front door. Instead of hostel-hopping each week - overhearing friendly strangers complain about their hangovers in German accents at breakfast and trying to find comfortable sleeping positions with earplugs stuffed in my ears - I’m staying in an apartment. With a kitchen. In a neighborhood that I adore. Four of my new friends live within a five-minute radius. Most days, I feel like I stepped into a ready-made life, complete with home, favorite coffeeshop, burgeoning social network, and some days, even boredom. It gives me a sense of what living in Seattle is actually like.

This month may not be the most quintessential “life on the road,” but damn, I love it. Monday through Wednesday, I live a pretty normal life: wake up, make coffee, have calls with my incredible clients, be a human. I spend the other four days a week exploring the humans and destinations of Seattle. My three favorite explorations thus far have been:

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On The Road Issue 1: Synchronicities in Seattle

On The Road Issue 1: Synchronicities in Seattle

A disclaimer: the tidbits that follow are merely snippets of my travels. Beautiful sights, heartwarming connections, Hailey-esque neuroses, and the little revelations that weave it all together.

So here's the skinny: I'm a personal coach and digital nomad, living out of my epic backpack while I travel throughout the US working remotely. I decided to hit the road because I wanted to grow in unexpected ways. I wanted to see who I became when I wasn’t entrenched in the routines, communities, and comfort zones that shaped my life in Boston.

The year preceding this journey was a wild year for me. That wildness was a culmination of pursuing my current career as a Life Coach; awakening through a rough breakup; working on my codependency; recommitting to sobriety daily; embracing my sex-positivity; building healthier relationships with friends and family; learning what my life could look like if I put myself first; and embracing spiritual growth. All of the good, crunchy stuff that splits you open and leaves you free to rise. Becoming fully location-independent was the final permission slip I needed to hit the road. So I leveled up and bought a one-way ticket out West. That’s where this begins.

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Love As The Foundation Of Social Change

Love As The Foundation Of Social Change

I retaliate against these [modern political] crises with love and community. It’s the only path that aligns with my values. It’s how I feel I can be most impactful.

Hurt, fear, anger, blame, violence, and the reduction of other beings to less-than-human are the tendencies underlying modern public debate. We can’t make the paradigm shift we need - right at the very roots of our hearts and culture - without building a foundation of change upon something radically different.

Aggression and division have developed a stronghold on modern, mainstream social justice communities. Folks who are not angry, unwavering, “renouncing,” and “calling out” are told they are not doing their duty as activists. But what about our duty to build a better world - not by shouting over evils, but by loving, caring, and acting compassionately in our communities?

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