The other day, I paid to fill up my gas tank entirely with one dollar bills. After several weeks of putting five to ten dollars into my tank at a time, I found great satisfaction in counting out the mound of ones and handing them over to the gas attendant. Being able to fill up my entire tank was no small victory. It was one of those “I CAN DO THIS!” moments. Believe me, nothing beats paying for gas with the money you made from doing what you love to do. Now, you would assume that I might get a strange look from the gas attendant, but no, this is Portland. When mentioning this to a local, I was told,
“Here in Portland, it’s a given that you are either a musician, a waitress, or a stripper.”
Sometimes you have to walk into a situation blind before you are able to see. This has been quite the week, let me tell you. It has been a week of making decisions I know I need to make, without fully understanding the entire vision. The decision to turn in my thirty day notice at my apartment. The decision to sell and give away most of my possessions. As I’ve been taking these steps, you would not believe some of the things that have begun to happen. Impossible things.
My life will soon fit completely inside my Toyota Corolla, and that is thrilling. I will be able to go anywhere, at anytime, because I will no longer be anchored down. I mentioned in my last post that my plan is to become mobile. Becoming mobile does not mean that I will be living out of my car. I have a place to stay for the next couple weeks, until I head out on a little trip, and then I will be moving to a new location on my return. Speaking of which . . .
Stephanie Meier is going on tour in California. Well, unofficially. From now on, whenever I go on a trip, I will say that I am going on tour. Basically, I have one confirmed gig in LA and I’m looking into other places to play at along the way. You never know what might happen. (If you have a venue, or know of a venue, and you just happen to randomly find this blog post, and you enjoy indie folk music, please contact me.)
Meanwhile in Portland. I have been learning my way around the town and figuring out the best places to busk. There have been great days and less than great days. There have been days when I make more per hour than I did at my last job, and there have been days when I simply make enough to cover parking and gas. It depends on the location, the day, the time, the weather and the people who are walking around. It is definitely an epic adventure, full of the unexpected, with a plot that continues to thicken. Even on the less than great days, I am making connections, meeting new friends, gaining experience in my field, and finding endless amounts of songwriting inspiration.
So, remember that time when I lost my car in Portland? Yes, friends, I did lose my car on a recent outing. And yes, friends, I did walk around aimlessly for about thirty minutes. I had felt pretty good about myself at the start of that day too. I had successfully found a good parking space. I was unfortunately not as successful in the remembering-where-that-parking-space-was category. By the way, I am looking forward to living in Portland at some point and walking everywhere, as much fun as it is to drive through the obstacle course of hipsters, homeless people and bicyclists (and there are bicyclists everywhere, by the way).
And then came Shirtless Cowboy. Shirtless Cowboy is a regular on one of the streets I’ve been frequenting, and it is becoming normal for him to appear multiple times throughout my set. While he has complimented my voice several times, he has also made it very clear that he is bitter at the police officers who allow me to play in that spot. You see, Shirtless Cowboy has been banned from the property. Shirtless Cowboy is no longer even allowed to set foot over a certain line. He is quick to remind me of this every time. He is quick to remind me that he doesn’t understand why I am allowed there and he is not. No doubt it’s because he is shirtless? And drunk?
I love the city and the people who live here. The weird ones and all. As I already mentioned, I am meeting a lot of people. Music is a powerful tool that is capable of bridging the widest of gaps. There are few times when I am not aware of this truth. Sometimes the connection is found in a full conversation. Sometimes it is found in a smile or the act of making eye contact. Suddenly, age no longer matters, race no longer matters, social status no longer matters. We find that though we may not be exactly alike, our stories share a similar tune.
What would happen if fear could no longer hold you back? Fear cannot hold you back without your permission. Fear in itself is powerless. It is fully dependent on us to keep it alive. So, what would happen if we stopped feeding fear and let it die? The impossible would become possible.
Sometimes you have to walk into a situation blind before you are able to see. And truthfully speaking, it might be awhile before you see. And not everyone is going to understand. And there will be moments when you think you might be going a little crazy. But when Love calls you, you have to answer. Love called me to Portland. The same Love that casts out fear. I thank God that in the moments when I feel like I am walking blind, He is my eyes . . . He is my vision.