This tour is a lot of things for me. It’s my first time going on tour with a band as their photographer/videographer, and also my first time going on tour with a band in general. It’s a trial run for my thesis project. It’s my first time in NYC, my first birthday away from my family, my first college spring break (an atypical experience, I know), and the first time I’ve volunteered to be awoken at 9 a.m. for an extended period of time.
Now, as I sit here writing this at 5:00 am in the Phoenix airport, I’m forced to look back at what’s gotten me here. I’ve concluded that beyond those new experiences, this tour is a giant middle finger to everything and everyone who has tried to hold me back. There aren’t many people who have deliberately tried to intervene on my path to success, and I try to give those who did the benefit of the doubt and assume they were simply acting selfishly and I ended up receiving the short end of the stick. I suppose I’m an optimist, or something like that.
[mural in DTPHX. Probably a metaphor for new-ness in this context, or maybe just being 20 minutes late. Interpret how you will]
There were far more people who simply had no faith in me. When I told a lot of my friends and family I wanted to shoot concerts and eventually end up on tour, it’s not like they crept into my room and smashed my gear, they just didn’t support me. I got a lot of “oh, that’s nice”’s and “but don’t you want a more stable career?”’s and “you should wait until you’re older to decide”’s and “are you sure that’s where your skill level is at?”’s, and countless other non-encouraging comments when I chose this path. While I’d certainly prefer that to actual interference with my career, it put a lot of doubt in my head that make my journey more difficult. My job is not as fun as it seems, and while I love it, those thoughts do occasionally creep in.
People that had that reaction likely said those things with good intentions. They wanted me to keep my expectations reasonable so I wouldn’t be disappointed, and they wanted me to be aware of what I was getting myself into. While I appreciate that, I’m here to tell you that it’s bullshit. That was in no way constructive to me, as someone who absolutely did not have lofty expectations or lacked in research. Nine times out of ten, it’s much more helpful to… actually be helpful. Support people who come to you. Offer help, not your opinion. At the very least, smile and nod. If it’s the wrong path, let people figure that out for themselves.
Beyond actual physical forces that held me back, my depression, financial situation, age, and gender in a male-dominated industry made this tour harder for me to get to as a goal. This is also a middle finger to all of those factors. These things are my baggage, and it’s exhausting to lug them with me. But I like to think they’ll make the view better once I’m at the top.
While I have a lot of people to thank for reaching this goal—my parents, the rest of my family, my friends, my teachers, my professors, my industry contacts, etc.—make no mistake about it, I did this. I’m doing these tour blogs partially to create physical evidence that if you work hard, well, and proactively, treat people kindly, learn quickly, and depend on the right people, every day is a step toward where you want to go. Happiness is in your hands, not your plans.
[Photo creds: @ dustin_bojo]
I’m a girl from a small town where the people there will break your heart and key your car just for fun. I put my nose to the grindstone for about two years straight, I prioritized my time, and I asked the right people the right questions. Now I have a backpack full of camera gear, a head full of ridiculous notions, and it’s 5:22 a.m. in Phoenix, Arizona. It’s 7:22 in Cicero, Indiana, but I’m not going back there.
This tour is such a strange thing for me. I wish I could tell 7th grade me, who had tanking self-esteem and horrendous music taste, that I have skills so valuable that people want to take an eleven-day road trip with me and pay money to have me be an artist. I wish I could tell freshman year me, who struggled so hard to fit in with various cliques, that I just hadn’t found the right people, and that my crowd is actually like 5-10 years older than me. I wish I could tell junior year me, who was too depressed to even picture senior year, let alone college or a career, that the fulfillment I wasn’t getting from my relationships could be found in a job. It’s like one of those moments when you actually accomplish a goal and you sit down and think “well, now what?”
I don’t know now what. I know I’m going to get on the plane to Nashville, meet a kickass band, take kickass photos and videos of them traveling on a kickass tour, and make a kickass production with those ingredients. I know I’m going to have a thousand doors open for me once I step on this plane (hopefully none of which are the actual doors on the actual plane). I know I’m going to be pinching myself to remind myself that this is my real life. I know this is a middle finger to my past, which is disappearing behind me in a metaphorical rearview mirror, and I know I have my nose pressed against the window.
Grouplove said it best: “Welcome to your life, yeah yeah, it could be your fantasy, yeah yeah. Welcome to your world, my girl, let it be your fantasy. […] All the roads in this world were made by the young.”