Chloe & the Steel Strings

Slivers of Light from Burn Bright (Breakin' in Two)

Written By: Chloe Wagenhauser
June 9, 2020

Read one book per month.

That was my New Year’s resolution as I sat in my room on January 1st, contemplating all the ways my life has changed since I started my music career. I used to love reading.

I used to lie in bed for hours reading and thinking. I wouldn’t stop until the story was finished, and it always left me with a dull sense that I was back in my own life, finished with the brief glimpse I’d had into someone else’s story. There’s a certain comfort in diving into the stories of someone else’s life, since sometimes being who we really are 100% of the time is harder than we recognize.

On days like today, that’s how I feel about the story of my life. Like I’m living the life of someone else — a much more interesting, eclectic, and less structured girl with no cares or worries about the future. A life of fun and creativity and adventure, not following the beaten path that would have led me to medical school (or perhaps something else entirely).

But as is natural with big life changes, I am settling into my new role everyday, sometimes struggling to gain traction in this new routine. I always feel like I could be doing more, even though playing shows and writing songs is enough.
I am enough, I am doing enough.

Beginning my life as a full time musician is scary. Choosing a lifestyle that goes against what’s “normal” for my family, social circle, and general demographic is scary.

But I’m learning to let go, bit by bit. I’m letting go of my fear of judgement, criticism, and even lack of financial stability because of my career choice. My skin is growing thicker when people ask “What do you do?” and when I answer, respond with “Oh, that’s nice Honey…” smiling disinterestedly as they excuse themselves. Not everyone enjoys a good nonconformist (or so I’m figuring out). I’m learning to let go of caring what others think, and being grateful to play music at every opportunity I get.

“If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?” – T.S. Elliot

This is a question I try to ask myself as we load gear into the car for the 5th night in a week. Drive an hour to an outdoor show and it pours. Play to an empty room. Get asked to play a non-charity event that “doesn’t have a music budget.” Am told that I’d be the perfect back-up singer for a guy who “Could really use a beautiful woman with a good voice behind him” so he can finally make something of himself in Nashville. Though worst of all is playing to a packed venue where not a single person acknowledges my existence as I sing songs about my biggest triumphs, failures, loves, losses, and everything in between.

Success doesn’t come easily to anyone without jumping over hurdles, regardless of your dream. I’m slowly learning to enjoy these hurdles: The mistakes. The lessons. The rights. The wrongs. The small steps toward my ultimate destination.

I want to sing, and this is my journey. Beginning my life as a full-time musician is scary.

I finally have the time to read till my heart’s content.

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