It's okay to take a damn break..
Updated: Mar 11
As I type this blog, I'm currently running off of eight hours of sleep total from this week alone. I've been working 12-14 hour days at my full time job that I ended up "leaving" a month ago to figure out better "work life balance."
Clearly I didn't figure it out and I'm back, again.
As an independent artist and modern day creative, it's very important to not miss opportunities and to always be "on it" so that when something presents itself you're ready. I've always been told by my foster mother, "Granny" that you must always..
"Be prepared, be prepared, be prepared.."
I remember those nights before school or church, she would always walk through the house and constantly remind us to have our clothes washed, clean our room and so forth to be prepared for the next day. She made sure that we understood the importance of being ready and not waiting until the last minute, even though I rarely committed to the suggestion.
I remember days where I would go to bed super late and over sleep for the bus the next morning. I remember smacking the snooze button on my alarm clock several times. Reminder, this was way before we used our cell phones as alarm clocks.
I remember my sister April and I would hear Granny yell "there's the bus ya'll.." as it stopped for a few seconds and drove off down the street. Meanwhile, we were knocked the hell out.
We eventually got dressed as fast as we could and ran through the woods, across the main road to our friend Jasmin's house to catch the bus. Our bus driver Mr Harris and Ms. Debra wasn't waiting on a damn soul.
If you weren't outside when they pulled up..
That shit was hilarious to me. My sister and I laugh about it still to this day. Granny's daughter, Joan always talks about it too because her room was in the same hallway as my sister and I. We had a dresser drawer in between our rooms in the hallway that I would always hit my damn toe on trying to get dressed for school. Imagine me running around, hitting my toe and hopping in pain trying to put my shoes on.
That was me.
April and I were on the phone a few years back with Joan and she asked me, "Hey Von Tae you remember that time when April would try to wake you up for school and ya'll would go back and forth?" I told her I did and she would always burst out laughing!
I'll discuss more about my experience in foster care in a later blog for those of you who didn't know..
So now as an adult, I'm always in "go mode."
I rarely feel like I deserve a break. A part of me feels like I've done so much but the other part of me says, "nigga you don't have a Grammy yet.. you aren't famous yet.. you don't have a million dollars in your account yet..." so you don't deserve to rest.
I can't even chill out and do something as simple as playing my PS4 without the guilt of "don't you have better things to do?"
After working 14 hour days, usually waking up around 5am and coming home late in the evening I still have energy some days to film content, record, clean my house, etc. But damn jobs don't seem to understand the important of hiring more workers so that your current ones aren't overworked and underpaid.
Shit is annoying.
So after 14 hours (and being on-call some days) I'm forced to try and make time to do other things that I have to do. The struggle is real most days but because I have a passion for music, it's worth losing sleep and going to work the next day with headaches.
Not really, but..
I remember saying at the beginning of this year I would take a year off from recording music and doing anything related to the entertainment business. I was tired of trying to find my work-life balance..
I was (still is) tired of not having time to visit my family..
I was (still is) tired of being so emotionally stressed that I was never in the mood for sex, recording music, exercising at the gym..
And the list going on and on..
I was (and still is) completely in shambles trying to figure this work life balance shit out. I'm learning that the way you think ultimately is the driving force to how you will feel. For example, if you complain all day and think that your life is fucked up, you'll eventually start to feel that way. Maybe your life is fucked up, but why add more stress to yourself by dwelling on it.
I wake up in the morning (although I'm tired, emotionally a wreck, etc) and I still thank God for the day and say a prayer. I speak positive words to remind myself of all of the great things that are still working in my favor and the rest to come.
Prayer has completely changed my life.
I remember when I had the opportunity to perform for Atlantic Records A&R Success a few weeks ago on Instagram Live. I said to myself "you gotta make sure you're more prepared next time." So many other artists were scrambling to play music for him.. they wouldn't perform and he eventually passed them by saying, "alright I'm gonna get some other artists a chance while you get your music together.."
It was finally my turn and I performed my remix to Remy Ma and Neyo's "Feels So Good" and he loved it. He asked did I have my own studio equipment after my performance because I had used a performance track with background vocals.
Some real professional type shit.
He said he would stay connected and follow me (which didn't happen) but it felt good to perform for him and showcase my talent. And for inquiring minds, no he didn't sign me that night. Otherwise I probably wouldn't be writing this damn blog.
When I decided to take a break this year from music, it definitely wasn't an easy decision but I felt it was necessary. Of course I didn't follow through on that promise because a few weeks later I ended up buying a brand new guitar to learn..
and then a few weeks later I started learning how to produce by own beats after purchasing a beat machine and my favorite album of all time, Michael Jackson's "Thriller."
I ended up recording new music, going on a promo tour for my latest EP "On God: Single & Remixes" and a lot of other shit.
So much for taking a break huh?
But still, taking a break is necessary here and there. Taking a break helps you to reset and refocus. Sometimes, especially with social media I feel pressured to do so much to keep up with the millions of other artists and creators who post new content everyday.
That shit is tiring..
I will say, don't let anyone tell you that taking a break or resting is a bad thing. Taking too long of a break has its negatives though. I feel like I've missed out on a lot of events and I probably would be much further in my career had I not took so many breaks but fuck it.
I'll make it eventually.
Whatever you are trying to do, I say make a plan. Without a plan you plan to fail.
Remember rest is just as important. Being mentally stable and well is what helps you to physically get up and do what you do. Working day in and day out, stressing over your career is not healthy.
Rest, refocus and rejoin.
Judge Judy actually said something before that really stuck with me in an interview..
After hearing that, it really put things in perspective. I hope that it does the same for you.
I say all of this to say, don't let the opinions of others ruin your life. Do what makes you happy. If taking a break, reconsidering your life decisions, making new plans, starting a new career, trying new things, etc helps you or makes you feel better, do it. If what you're doing isn't hurting anyone else, continue to do what makes you happy.
Just don't give up on yourself.
Thank ya'll for continuing to support these blogs and I hope that you drop a comment and let me know what you think. Share your thoughts and feels too.
Until next time..
Take care of yourself,