This post is a transcription of the Starting with a Song Podcast, S3Ep2: Week One of #The100DayProject
S3Ep8: Week Eight of #The100DayProject – Starting with a Song
Hey friends! It’s good to be back so soon into Week One of The 100-Day Project. How are things going for you? It’s been a weird one here in Nashville ranging from 72 degrees, dipping into the 30s with snow within 24hrs, coming back to the 50s, then 72 again with storms… and now in the 40s again today.
If anyone is listening from Florida, can you send a little sunshine to Music City? Pretty please? We’ll write you a song or something.
Speaking of weird, here’s another bizarre thing that happened this week: I sent a birthday card to an old friend and she blocked me on social media. Not just me, but my husband, and several of our once mutual friends. If you’re scratching your head over this, I’m right there with you. This is literally all the data I have on the situation.
But it made me start thinking about our social construct with these platforms. I was having a conversation on the phone yesterday — I know, old school! — when my colleague said, “I feel like I know everything that’s going on with everyone through Facebook!” Do we, though? I know I’m guilty of only posting the highlight reel. I’d be willing to bet you are, too. And how genuine are our “friends” when we’re not interacting enough offline to know the REAL real?
Anyway, this impacted my Day One post – a black and white profile self-portrait with an array of flowers for my hair, my eyes, and my clothes. In the background, I hand wrote an excerpt of this piece from Morgan Harper Nichols’ book, All Along You Were Blooming.
“Perhaps this is the season to step fully into the beautiful reality of what it means to be free: brave and adventurous and ready for the journey of learning and growing, of living and knowing. You do not have to have every answer to breathe deep and keep going.”—Morgan Harper Nichols
It felt fitting for beginning the journey but when I think of the beautiful reality of what it means to be free, I think of all the work I’ve done to shed the weight of other people’s opinions. I think of vulnerability and breaking down the barriers to get to the REAL real.
But yeah, getting there was and still is work. And everyone is moving at their own pace… so that’s what brings my brain to GRACE.
For others. For myself.
We are all still blooming, after all.
On Day 3, I hijacked my husband’s new macro camera lens and snapped some photos of my baby succulents I’m attempting to propagate. Their tiny buds with wily roots shooting off in random directions reminded me of awkward dancing robots.
And they kind of reminded me of… me.
I’m grateful for the days when the pain is a little less, but it’s hard to avoid frustration when your hands are operating like clunky, old machines. And it’s tough to not get discouraged, remembering how well things used to gel.
I’ve been writing a lot about Yes, AND. The ability to hold conflicting emotions at once.
Yes, this is happening. Yes, this is valid. AND, there’s this other thing, too.
- Joy and pain.
- Awkward robots AND dancing.
- Clunky, old machine hands AND hope for the future.
I believe better days are coming! I can point back to times when miracles happened. I know they will happen again.
Now feels like a good time to introduce a new segment:
I want to use SONG as an acronym to add a little fun and help sum up the week, so here we go:
S – Singing
This may be random and a little embarrassing, but we went to see the touring cast of Mean Girls at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center last week and that soundtrack has been bouncing around our heads ever since (seriously, my husband’s too!) If you know my husband, you know that he is NOT a musical guy, but he turned to me at intermission and say, “why is this so good?!” It’s hilarious and both the acting and singing are just a delight. Highly recommend – go see it!
O – Observation
I caught myself this week wanting to pull from last year’s project of digital collages. It’s what I know. It’s what I’m comfortable with. I feel really dumb with a camera that’s not my smartphone. But now that I’ve noticed this, it makes me want to lean in even further. This is what creative play is all about, right?
N – Noteworthy
I am always struck when people have the ability to write something that I can’t quite put words around. Here’s another one from Morgan Harper Nichols that I used in a caption this week:
“Not everyone’s strength looks the same.
Sometimes strength is grasping onto a jagged trail on the steep side of the mountain, with icy rain on your shoulders and wind on your back. Sometimes strength is continuing to push upward against the incline in pursuit of the highest peak. It’s continuing the climb against heavy winds, as all of the traveled miles are wearing at your knees.
Sometimes strength is waking up and choosing to breathe another day.
Sometimes strength is getting out of bed.
Your “strong” might not look like her strong, and that is more than okay. You are not the same, so your strength will not look the same.
To breathe is brave. Never underestimate the power of an exhale.
There will be some nights where you will look up and lose track of all the stars you see, and there will be some nights you can’t lift your head, but in both of those nights and every other night in between, you are strongest when you take the time to breathe.
It takes courage to live through heartbreak. Breathing is no small feat.”—Morgan Harper Nichols
G – Gratitude
I could go on and on here, but this week I’ll say I’m grateful for the encouragement to keep going even if this creative play looks as clunky and awkward as I feel. Even in light of your encouragement, I’m not sharing for sympathy, but I hope through this – especially if you’re going through something similar or equally difficult, you’ll know you’re not alone.
Thanks for taking the time to listen today! Are you participating in #The100DayProject? I’d love to hear about it! You can connect with me and follow along with me on Instagram at @artisticamanda.
Don’t forget to subscribe to the Starting with a Song podcast for stories and updates, too.
Till next time, always keep singing.