You say goodbye, I say hello

IMG_3036The people in my life have been talking a lot about “going all in” lately.

I don’t know that I’m that good at “going all in,” but right now I’m pretty sure I’m there. I’ve had a couple moments in my life where I know I’m choosing. I’m choosing something. And it’s scary when you’re making the call….all the “what ifs.” The self-doubt. The fear that you could screw it all up.

in 2006 my brother Grant overdosed on a combination of oxycontin and methadone and suffered severe brain damage that resulted in him being in a coma for nearly a month. My mom and I were boarding a plane in Atlanta heading to Naples, Italy when we got the call that Grant had been found unconscious. We got off the plane, talked our way onto the next flight to Nashville, and headed for the hospital. One of the most vivid memories I have of the month Grant spent in the ICU was riding up and down the elevator. I don’t know why that is. You’re standing with strangers—strangers with their own struggles, their own tragedies, their own love stories. One morning I remember riding the elevator up to Grant’s floor and watching the doors open in slow motion and asking myself what I was so afraid of. This was almost 10 years ago, and I had really only just started to dip my feet into Nashville’s singer-songwriter scene, and it seemed completely impenetrable. I couldn’t figure out how to get in. How to get the door to open just a crack. And I was afraid of nearly every step I took, because it felt like failure was almost inevitable. I loved singing, and writing, and making music so much…still I was eaten up with fear.
So as the elevator doors opened onto the Intensive Care floor that one morning, I was struck with the thought: “what are you so afraid of?” The worst thing I could imagine had just happened, so what was I afraid of? It was a real moment of clarity. I’m not saying taking a risk, or facing possible rejection isn’t scary. It is…And the more you love the thing you’re longing to do, the scarier it is. But what are you so afraid of? Name it. I think that’s part of the cure.

Let’s say you go all in. And you fall completely on your face. And everyone knows. Maybe people even talk about you. Your head plays the tape of all the things you imagine people will say about you for taking the risk…I don’t know what the tape in your head says, but my tape goes like this “you’re not really that good, you’re not talented enough, you’re not beautiful enough, there are so many people better than this than you.” I could go on, but you probably have other things to do with your day so I’ll just leave it there. 😉
So I’ll ask myself and you again: what are you so afraid of?

Grant eventually regained consciousness—learned to talk and walk again, regained a lot of his strength and recovered from most of the brain damage. He went onto live another year and 3 months before the overdose that ultimately took his life in 2008.
And again the thoughts resurfaced: What are you so afraid of?
When the really bad stuff happens, you know what you’re so afraid of. The big loss. The big goodbyes. The permanent stuff.
It reframes all the other stuff.`
So this week I’m going all in, again. I leave one chapter of my music behind, so that I can start a new chapter. It’s sad to say goodbye to the old chapter. I liked it. It was safe (safe-ish, I guess) but I wasn’t growing the way that I longed too, and I wasn’t able to put music out for myself, or share my music with my fans.
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So I’m going all in. And I’m starting with this small body of work—“Cheap Sunglasses.” And the title track is about making a change. Drawing a line in the sand. Standing up for yourself, and moving on.

I hope you’ll come with me.

10 Comments on You say goodbye, I say hello

  1. Ally
    June 15, 2016 at 10:45 am (1 year ago)

    Thanks for the encouragement, Kelleigh. I’m going through a lot of change right now myself, scary stepping out of my comfort zone, but definitely necessary. Pretty great timing on this post, as I start my new journey, reminding me to go all in and not be afraid of the what-ifs. 💜 (PS I cannot wait for your EP on Friday!)

    Reply
  2. Debi Morse
    June 15, 2016 at 11:12 am (1 year ago)

    Thank you for this article and for sharing such deeply personal things. I needed the reminder to ask myself “what is the worse that can happen?” The first time I asked myself that (and it was very helpful and freeing) was a few years ago when I wanted to call your uncle about something. I had so much FEAR and anxiety about doing it. I left the phone number on my counter for two weeks before that “what” question came to mind. What is the worse that would happen? Growing up in a unstable, sometimes violent household makes you overly cautious, anxious, and on guard. I realized, when questioning myself and trying to get up the courage, that he couldn’t reach through the phone and hit me. The “worse” that would happen was he could holler at me and/or hang up. So I made the call. While that seems like a small incident it gave me the strength to use that “tool” in the future with other experiences. Though a while later I received an email in error from his wife (that she meant to send to her sister- and doesn’t know I got it) that said she had to force him to talk to me, that he didn’t want to, and she felt bad. That was a bit of a “hit” -sort of- but I recovered. I do find that I still fall back to doubt and fear a lot but still try to push through it and use this question as my strength to push through the fear. So happy for you as you enter this new chapter of your life. May God grant you all the joy, happiness, and success that you deserve. Thank you for sharing your talents, music, and your like really experiences with us. I believe Grant is watching over you and smiling down with joy at the beautiful women you are. Love you!

    Reply
  3. Clermont
    June 15, 2016 at 11:17 am (1 year ago)

    You’ll do great Kelleigh! Can’t wait to hear the new music. love, Clermont

    Reply
  4. Justina
    June 15, 2016 at 11:41 am (1 year ago)

    Loved this post! It’s so important (and so scary) to take those big leaps of faith.
    Thank you for sharing heart with us. I found you on youtube just over a year ago and have been following you ever since, I’m so SO excited for your EP on Friday!! Keep doing what you love, Kelleigh!

    Reply
  5. Amy
    June 15, 2016 at 1:34 pm (1 year ago)

    Wow. How very true. Thank you for sharing this today. I really needed to hear it. Love you! and looking forward to all thats to come for you! Let’s be fearless.

    Reply
  6. Christine Tully
    June 15, 2016 at 8:43 pm (1 year ago)

    I’m so excited for your new music! Can’t wait to finally hear it! ❤️

    Reply
  7. Kim Kretzschmar
    June 16, 2016 at 9:06 am (1 year ago)

    All in with you! Bring it on girl!🎤🎸

    Reply
  8. thomas mulvihill
    June 16, 2016 at 8:38 pm (1 year ago)

    The beginning of a challenging adventure, a new day and making new memories. Congratulations and blessings.

    Reply
  9. Gaux
    June 17, 2016 at 1:13 am (1 year ago)

    So excited for your next chapter. With you, girl!

    Reply
  10. Adélard Bérubé
    June 28, 2016 at 12:47 pm (1 year ago)

    Hi, Kelleigh! I’ve been checking out your music for a while , liking and sharing for you, but not knowing much else about you. This helps me to know you a little better and I want you to know that I kind of understand what you went and are going through! Last July our grand-son of 8 mos. was diagnosed with acute leukemia and spent 9 mos in a children’s hospital 10 hrs away! That sure threw a monkey-wrench into a lot of lives and plans! Thankfully he is out now and seems to be doing well! Two and half years ago when my older son and his wife separated threw me for a loop as well. Their daughter will be 9 in Oct. I can honestly say that I can’t recall what or when for most of what happened during the 8 months following the split . We all have these hurdles in our lives and I think that you are very brave and that you will find your way and make your mark in the music world because ✨YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH✨!😄

    Reply

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