“It’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon. That is something that I was told very early on when I started this journey at 13. I thought that if I clicked my heels, wished on enough stars, and wrote enough songs that my life would change in the blink of an eye. I was naive, I was passionate, and I was "ready". But, that’s not how this works. A lot of what we perceive as an overnight success story is not that at all. It is overnight to us because we are opening our eyes at the end of the Cinderella story. They found the shoe that fit (the song) and that normal girl changed into a princess. That’s the furthest thing from any reality I have heard.
When I first moved out to Nashville at 16 I had my Fairy Godmother, all the wishes in my head ready to propose, and I had finally found a pair of glass shoes that fit. I was just waiting for her to wave her wand and make all of my dreams come true. But that’s not how my story played out. I was 13 when I got my first record deal and 16 when I got my first publishing deal. I was 19 when I walked away from it all. It was 6 years of learning, evolving, and thinking, “This is it. I made it.” But it wasn’t it, it was just the first chapter of my story. I woke up one day and realized that the shoes that I had picked out for myself were a little tighter than they were when I first tried them on and they didn’t really match my dress anymore.
It’s always scary to start a new chapter because as you are writing it you never know what the next page is going to entail. You just take it day by day. You bite the bullet and pick up side jobs like singing in weddings, babysitting any night of the week you aren't playing a show, maybe getting hired at a steady job every once in a while when the weddings and babysitting gigs aren’t rolling in. Then having to quit again because it takes you away from writing your stories and telling your truth. It’s hard. It’s hard to continue to train for your next marathon, your next chance, when you don’t know when it is. But when you do get that chance, it’s worth it every single time.
Not every marathon you run you finish first. Actually, the first marathon you run you will probably fall down a couple times, scrape your knees, get back up and finish last. When you get to the finish line you’ll think, “Wait, this isn’t why I signed up! I didn’t sign up to finish last!” But odds are, you weren’t prepared to run it. You can maybe decide that running marathons just isn’t for you… Or you can train, and train, and run it again. You can also never account for the things that are going to happen around you while you are running steadily. Maybe you didn’t account for the weather that day, or how fast the other runners are running. Maybe you didn’t realize all of the people on the sidelines saying, “You can’t” were going to occasionally drown out the friends and family that are standing beside them saying, “You can" It happens. You keep going.
You can think of any bump in your road as a failure or as a small success. It can be a sign in this path that you have carved for yourself to go left instead of what you thought was right. Things don’t always make sense as they happen. I can testify to that. It’s confusing, and it’s messy, and sometimes it just feels wrong. But all of these little moments, good or bad, turn into a compilation that is your life and it is all leading up to something greater than you could have pictured for yourself. When you look back, you will thank all of these small victories as they lead you to now, the start of your next marathon.