I Have a Case of The Hermit Crabs.

I Have a Case of The Hermit Crabs

photo by Fimb 

Allow me to explain...

I spent 10 years (2004-2014) moving a lot.

Sometimes as frequently as every 6 months. College life, new roommates, living abroad, moving to a new corner of the US, new roommates, new neighborhoods, new jobs...

I got really good at picking up everything and moving around based on who I wanted to be near. My artistic and personal spaces have been defined by the people I intentionally surrounded myself with. 

But as I get older, I'm discovering a change (beyond the drooping state of my body...) I am making fewer and fewer decisions based around other people.

Age brings wisdom and clarity, right? So, I can confidently say...

I know who I am. I know who I am not

I know where I've been. I know where I want to be.

I know what I can't stand. I know what I stand for. 

For the last 2 years, I've had the honor of living in Tacoma's Dutch Embassy, a massive green house, filled with 8-12+ of my chosen-family members. [It's not actually an Embassy - about 100 years ago it was an informal, unofficial Dutch Embassy. Hence it's nickname.] 

Whether I enjoy it or not, I know living in community is good for me.

I love my housemates. I consider them some of the most beautiful and generous people I know. We laugh a lot when we're together. They stretch me to become a better version of myself.

My time at the Dutch Embassy has held some of the most difficult personal and career growth I've experienced to date. I moved there shortly after receiving the diagnosis of my Essential Tremor.

I'll never forget the many days I walked through the front door, climbed up the stairs, and promptly crumbled under the weight of how much my life was changing.

Many silent and (very) audible tears have been shed in that big green house.

I haven't felt like I've had much control over my life, especially in the last 2 years. Sure. I can make goals, intentions, and creations, but it never fails, they all turn out so much differently than I expect or hope - in both good and bad ways. 

To stop teaching music or not? To give up cello completely or not? To have a day-job or not? To start recording an album or not? To release said album or not? To start more entrepreneurial side-hustles or not? 

To give up? To do it all? To do nothing?

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Discomfort is a Catalyst.

It triggers the acknowledgement of Desire.

I love my housemates. I consider them some of the most beautiful and generous people I know. We laugh a lot when we're together. They stretch me to become a better version of myself.

Even my music studio is beautiful and generous. I rent it separately from my living space and I get to use any of the many pianos in this huge old building in downtown Tacoma. I filmed and recorded my first EP there.

I've written so many songs, rehearsed for so many shows, and created so much art within those walls. 

The best part? They want me making music in their space.

But more recently, I've experienced some serious angst within myself - akin to the feelings I frequently had in high school.

The following phrases have frequented my lips:

  • "Get me OUT of here."
  • "Why can't I just do what I want?!" and
  • "Please! For the love of all things holy and true, just be QUIET so I can think straight." 

It's exciting to see such gorgeous buildings being used, but unfortunately that means less suitable time for me to be a maker and less time to be myself. 

  • It's really hard to practice or record music with a beginning clogging class happening overhead. (I kid you not.)
  • When choir rehearsals figuratively smoke you out of different parts of the building, it's impossible to get any substantial practice in.
  • And working around the schedule of 12+ other individuals in your home is, well...

Let's just say "frustrating" is an understatement.

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Anger points to Desire.

My anger and frustration with my environment has nothing to do with the quality of my environment - the studio, the building, the house, the housemates are all beautiful and wonderful. It has more to do with the growth I've had in the last 2 years. 

I simply don't fit my spaces anymore.

I have new sonic and spatial needs. I love quiet mornings. I love quiet evenings. Rehearsing and recording music demands the canvas of silence. and I'm an introvert who needs time to herself. 

These are facts of who I am. I can't ignore them.

Okay, so I have a case of the Hermit Crabs. 

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photo by Jessica Diamond

Tara Washam, my musician friend, and I love the metaphor of the Hermit Crab, especially in regards to our creative lives.

You see, when hermit crabs grow, they have to find a new shell, take the risk to leave the old shell, and nakedly get itself into the new, larger shell.

It's not pretty.

In fact, when I see this process it kinda grosses me out and I can't help but think about Kafka's Metamorphosis - my least favorite piece of literature EVER. I couldn't even stand to finish reading it.


Look at that thing! (above) It's so gross! 

However, despite whatever gag reflex this metaphor invokes, the hermit crab has taught me that sometimes it's okay to take the risk to move into a different shell.

It's okay to be vulnerable or angsty enough to make a change. It's okay because...

Desire begs for risk. 

Desire demands Vulnerability.

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So with that, I am happy to announce an exciting new phase! 

I'm giving myself a new home for my 30th birthday!

I'm nervous. I want what's on the other side of this transition but it's still scary. I need the space, quiet, and freedom to make more music, but I will miss having people whom I love on the other side of the wall.

So 9 days before my 30th birthday, I will move into a tiny little 2 bedroom/1 bath grey house-behind-a-house with an aqua teal door in South Tacoma. I'm looking forward to getting to know my new neighbors and making new music (whenever I want.)

It'll feel a little weird moving out of places which have fostered so much growth in me, but I am ready. 

It will be my new hermit crab home.

This hermit crab is ready to make more art!


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