Guest Post by Jen Allen
As a woman in jazz I often struggled to find my voice and place. Feeling the tension of being a stay at home mom and wanting a career was so uncomfortable. Many years went by and I existed in this tension but I never let myself really go after what I wanted for one reason or another.
I didn’t even think what I wanted was still possible for me. I’m too old, I'm too far behind, I'm not good enough, and I missed my chance were just a few of the negative phrases I told myself often.
In the last few years I began to realize that I was trapped in a bad cycle by this way of thinking. I started to slowly take chances. I tried new things here and there but still held on to the cautious way of living. Good things would happen but I still felt stuck.
Then after my mom passed away last July, I decided that life was too short to care what others thought about me. I let go of the negative self-talk and I began believing that my desires in life were really important. I decided to step out and make the things that I wanted to happen - happen!
This year I started a house concert series to encourage community and the arts. I also applied for and was accepted to a prestigious composer’s collective, the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop. I have also taken my first gig as a leader at a club in NYC - just to name a few!
All three of these steps were scary but have produced amazing results. The house concerts have been a success, the BMI workshop has had me making new connections and I was chosen one of 9 (from the 40 who were accepted into the program) to have my composition premiered next week, and my single gig in NYC has led to a whole week for my band at Dizzy’s Coca Cola Club at Jazz at Lincoln Center in September!
Being a good mom, friend, wife, AND musician is possible with a little vision, will to persevere, good friends to encourage, and a whole lot of faith!