When faced with the finality of moving in with my at-the-time girlfriend and her daughter, I faced the fear all single men, but especially single artists face: Will I be that guy that used to have goals and passions but now I’m not allowed to have them anymore because I have a family and a new set of responsibilities? This is a very real fear, and even after I made the big move, this fear moved right in with me reminding me that I was destined to fall off and become a music-hobbyist with a ‘real job’. Yes, this shit was thoroughly terrifying to me.
I KNOW I cannot be the only artist who walked around carrying this battle inside my tiny brain. I imagine a lot of artists would toss the relationship to the side via a ‘fear of commitment’ and continue in pursuit of their artistry, as there’s no way you can have both. Shit, nearly all my favorite artists, musicians and comedians got lame as hell once they got married or had a family. I cared far too much about my artistry to let that happen to me. This is what I thought. Dead ass. Except that I was wrong.
I remember reading a book full of John Coltrane interviews back in 2012. There were chapters dedicated to his love and dedication to wife Alice Coletrane, and the bond they built musically within their partnership. This book was the first time I’d found confirmation in my narrow world that maybe, just perhaps, you could still progress in your art, find a partner, build a family, and become that much iller than you were before. John and Alice were definitely on to something, I thought. I continued my reading on other artists I’d always loved and realized many of them were not relying on being in their 20s and single to be a great artist. They had already figured something out that it would take me a bit longer to comprehend.
God love everyone who has ever told me that they used to do music, but they can’t any more because they have a family and ‘real life responsibilities’. I used to take that personal, as if it was a destiny we were all set to fill upon jumping the broomstick or raising a child. Perhaps for their situation this is entirely true. Can’t judge ‘em. But with all due respect: FUCK. THAT.
I’ve reached a more preferred conclusion for myself. I am happier when I do what I think God put me on this planet to do. The thing that is greater than me. At times, that thing does not make me much money. Other times, it does. I do not have the luxury of bi-weekly paychecks that secure my family’s living conditions. Sounds scary, I know. But, I do not have the cap of a bi-weekly paycheck to hinder my family’s living conditions, and for that I’m grateful. But what I’m even more grateful for, is becoming the man I believe God put me on this earth to be by putting all of my chips into the ‘dreams and passion’ basket, and even better – doing it in front of my daughter.
My conclusion is this: A partner and children do not have to force you out of your dreams. They actually do the opposite. They hone you to become a professional at your dreams, as you have no other choice. Family does not make your art or your voice go soft. You do. There is no one else to slide that responsibility on. We are grown creatives who will always have final say in how we express ourselves and our art. This is what John Coltrane taught me. This is what my family has taught me. I’m extremely thankful and better for it.
PS, “The Silhouette Project” will be out 4/27 on Definition Music, and I’ll continue to have some cool column ideas to share alongside it. So if you like stuff like this, ‘like’ my FB page and catch me via all the other social media outlets. You can also sign up on our mailing list HERE.