In November of 2016, I returned home from 5 months abroad in South Africa. This Thanksgiving, it will be two full years of giving thanks to such an incredible and transformational experience. It’s funny how two years had to pass for this to happen but I think it’s all finally come full circle. Let me explain what I mean…
South Africa was an experience that truly challenged who I was. I learned real empathy, discovered the true value of gratitude, and developed compassion for others. I finally realized my own worth, put myself first, and celebrated with new friends. I lived more, worried less, and loved everyone I met. After spending years previous stuck in negativity and immaturity, I finally found true happiness. The meaning of life (as crazy as that seems) was clear to me. It was a great party, an incredible celebration of life, and a true test of presence. I strived for nothing but gained everything. I loved every minute of it (Click here to read more and see pictures: WORTH IT). Continue reading “Full Circle”
A huge focus of mine right now is self-care. I try to spend as much time as I can after work caring for myself and making life a little easier on me. It has been such a relief to have at least a little more free time again, after 4+ years of go, go go in college. Although the demands and frustrations of everyday life still overwhelm me, I finally feel like I have the time and energy to take care of myself and focus on what’s truly important to me (hint, hint: music 😊).
This month, I found out that I have celiac disease which, for those of you who don’t know, is an autoimmune disorder primarily affecting the intestines and digestive system. When a person with celiac ingests gluten, their body signals an immune response that damages the small intestine leading to a menagerie of digestive complications and other reactions. After almost two years of struggling silently with, what I thought at the time were perplexing symptoms, I finally found the answers and relief I was looking for. For several months, I was hiding pain that I continued fueling unknowingly with the food I ate. I was pretty shocked to find out that celiac was the problem, as I never had problems with gluten in my childhood. But by the end of it, I was more relieved to come out with a game plan to resolve the issue and hope in the forecast. Needless to say, self-care has taken on a whole new meaning for me, casting great emphasis on my diet and eating pain free food as my life progresses. Continue reading “Self-Care”
I was thinking about writing a heavier piece on progress tonight. More specifically, about how progress is so hard to appreciate when you can’t see the process of accomplishing a goal for what it is. I wanted to explore how setbacks and mistakes make us feel when we are so focused on the finish line that we forget what makes us human. Thinking about the topic just made me feel sad and anxious, looking back on all the times I’ve let lack of appreciation for the process sabotage my results and cause me to quit.
I was inspired to write after realizing that minor setbacks look more like mountains when you are closer to the start than the finish. It’s harder to see how setbacks can help you when you’re just starting out. I constantly have to remind myself that those setbacks are part of the process and there to help me learn, not a reason to quit. Part of what makes life so exciting is our ability to learn and make progress, right? Because if I could just wake up tomorrow and fulfill every one of my dreams so easily, what would it be worth? Not much. And would it be truly half as fulfilling? Probably not. Continue reading “Progress”
Perfectionism has been a struggle of mine for quite some time. It’s what makes me edit as I write, baby new clothes, and stress over the smallest flaws and imperfections. On a good day, I call it having great attention to detail; on a bad day, I find it nearly paralyzing. I beat myself up over the smallest mistakes. Wear and tear to my favorite boots haunts me every time I put them on my feet. Even though the moments of “damage” are behind me, the stress from it never really ends. It’s a mess.
I think the worst part of being a perfectionist is the near constant feeling of overwhelm. I’m always thinking… and overthinking which I’m sure a lot of people can relate to. If I’m not worrying about all that I haven’t accomplished yet and how “perfect” I need to be to get there, I’m stressing over stupid things I’ve said and scolding myself for it. I’m imagining the houses I’d like to the live in and the goals I have but instead of being excited, I’m worried that it won’t be as perfect as I’ve imagined or that I’m not capable of getting there. Or that there’s too many details for one person to handle on their own so I should just give up. That’s overwhelm. Everything all at once, all the time. Continue reading “Overwhelm”
Doubt is beyond fear. It’s declaring defeat before there is even any proof of demise. It is giving up before there is a reason to. It’s what settles in after the fearlessness has worn off and the jets of ambition cool down. It’s the voice in your head that says “you aren’t good enough and even though you’re willing to take the risk and face your fears, it won’t be worth it.” Fear can be a great motivator, or so a voice teacher once told me while I crammed for a performance of “I’ll Stand By You” by the Pretenders one week before. Looking back, I was fearful then, not doubtful. I knew I could do it but I was scared of being underprepared so I practiced a little extra. It’s doubt, not fear, that stops you. This was one of my first and last solo performances of that nature.
Doubt is what kept me in the clutches of security, following a cleanly trimmed path of plain old Americana practicality. I went to college, got a degree, and graduated like you’re supposed. And don’t get me wrong, I’m really happy I did. I loved college and I’m pleased with the career path I’m currently on. College was the experience I needed to understand more about myself and the world around me. But doubt made sure there was always something missing: the college experience I wanted in NYC, gigs in bars and coffee shops, music classes I wanted to take, and dreams I stowed away doubting they could ever come true, among many other omissions. Continue reading “Doubts”
My name is Shawna and I am a singer/songwriter from Pennsylvania, finally taking that leap of faith into the music industry. Welcome to my website. It’s so good to have you here!
To give you some background about me: I started writing songs shortly after the Jonas Brothers covered “Year 3000″… so I had to be about 12. I had this pink Blow Pop “What A Melon” notebook that I “hacked” into a songwriting journal by flipping the cover around and fishing it back through the spirals. I wrote “Shawna’s Songs” down the front in capital letters and autographed it in red pen a few times. I still have it; it’s a relic.
My “What A Melon” notebook was the beginning of my love for writing. As elementary (and embarrassing) as those lyrics may be looking back, they taught me the value of expression. They captured the sheer joy of experiencing inspiration that I have learned to long for well into my adult years. That “What A Melon” notebook, although overlooked and misunderstood at the time, set the foundation for a passion I cannot escape although life has tried to rip it out of me. Continue reading “Pink “What A Melon” Beginnings”