Here’s a recent e-mail I received from a ‘fan’ that wins the Nastiest E-mail of the Month Award.

{I wish the BEST on your musical career. But as a mom, advising a daughter, I would want my son in law to have FTE (full time employment) with benefits for financial security while you pursue your dreams. Or, you work part-time with benefits and accept gigs when offered until your career “blows up”.

You and Rob may have other means of income, but again, I’m just advising “a daughter “.}

In the south we call this form of communication ‘nice-nasty’. It looks nice on the surface, but deep down it’s full of cuts, attacks, and put downs. I’ll tell you in all honesty, this one cut me pretty deep.  Here are some things I should clarify about this e-mail.  I met this person only once three years prior to the receipt of this e-mail.  Therefore, I don’t consider this person a motherly figure. This message was sent in response to this e-mail I sent.

Why this is nasty…

It’s unsolicited advice. When someone corners you and starts giving you advice you didn’t ask for it can be offensive. This person tends to make a lot of assumptions about your situation and puts themselves on a higher level than you presuming to know more than you on a certain subject with out giving you any regard or respect for your decisions whatever they may be. It’s preachy and judgy.

Does this person truly wish the best for us, when they advised us to stop doing music full-time in hopes that I’ll ‘blow up’? I mean in what scenario does it work to slow down your efforts and then things will ‘blow up’? What kind of foolish, ill-conceived advice is that? Does this person truly believe that ‘accepting gigs when offered’ will help me to ‘blow up’? That completely goes against everything I teach on this blog. It’s a passive approach to doing independent music and will lead me nowhere. They’re not an indie artist and know nothing about how this business actually works, so perhaps I should give them a pass. But I won’t! Since they know nothing about how this industry works, then they should have stayed silent on the topic altogether.

As you know (or maybe you don’t know if you’re new to this blog), my hubs and I decided to drastically change our way of living so that we can afford to be full-time musicians and have the freedom to do whatever and go wherever we want without the weight of a traditional job. Read up on my post about building a tiny house here to catch up on that. I considered sending a nasty message back in response saying that how much and how we earn money is none of their business and not up for discussion. That their unsolicited advice is not appreciated. Or that they can go find their own daughters to ‘advise’. But I decided to use this opportunity to offer a bit of education into what it’s like being an independent artist and the concept behind being self-employed based on your passions. Here was my response…

{“Hello (name omitted),

Thanks for the well wishes!

I was surprised to get this message from you and I appreciate the concern but I don’t feel I’ve given you any reason to be concerned about my financial well being. Even in the video when I mentioned about the tips, I reminded everyone that we were offered a healthy guarantee and the tips were just extra.  But since you brought this issue up, let’s talk!

As ‘a daughter’ I would encourage you to consider being more open minded about different lifestyles and choices. I would also encourage you to consider how you speak to adult children about how they’re running their lives. Especially when they’re not suffering or sinning or doing anything illegal. Otherwise you could risk running your children away. People have to make decisions and run their lives for themselves. You should respect what makes them happy.  I respect the traditional full time employment with benefits ideal and for everyone taking that route, good for them. But that’s not the only solution to living a comfortable life. We’ve done the corporate thing, the American Dream thing and together we chose to take a different route. We chose to be our own boss, to take back our time, and to get out and see more of this beautiful world. I don’t regret one bit of it. I’m happy. I’m happier than I was punching a clock and spending my entire days in someone else’s cubicle making money for someone else, dealing with office politics and so is Rob. I wouldn’t dare tell him to go out and get a corporate job. In this season that we’re in right now, I enjoy my time with him. I enjoy being on the road with him. We work extremely well together and we’re both in a much better place than we were before when we worked traditional jobs for a living.  Also, this is not just my career. We work together at what we’re doing and we’re making a living from it. This is our family business you could say.  We’ve been at this for 3 years now and we have not been in want for anything, Praise God! We are doing just fine. There are many many unknown musicians that haven’t ‘blown up’ according to the world’s standards, but they’re making an honest living from their music for themselves and their families. That’s what independent music is all about.

Going further into this subject…
Ask yourself this, ‘what is financial security’? What does it mean to you? Why would you see the need to push people into the traditional job direction when they are doing well for themselves without it?  Are you finding security in a system of paper money that is based on debt at its core? For every dollar that is printed, our country owes interest on it. Look up how the Federal Reserve works and who owns it. On an individual level, banks and credit card companies create money out of thin air and then charge people interest for doing it. That’s why we’re in so much debt and if we keep the current system going, we’ll never get out of it. Most American households are running based on this line of thinking as well, that’s why most families are in financial debt. What is financial security when our entire country is under trillions of dollars in debt? Wall Street can plummet at a moment’s notice and your 401k can disappear into thin air. Banks can flip a switch and your money would be gone. Do you know what percentage of your money is actually insured at your bank? Meaning if they ‘accidentally lose it’ or it’s stolen somehow, how much of it could be recovered?

Security is not in paper money. It’s in the ability to survive on your own without depending on the system. We depend on the system to provide our food, water, sources of power and things we need to survive. It shouldn’t be this way. We should be growing our own food, building our own dwelling places, digging wells for ourselves, generating our own sources of power, multiple generations living under one roof and leaving a legacy for future generations. That is what security actually looks like. It’s not in a traditional job that steals your very life out from under you keeping you busy until you’re too old to really enjoy life.

If you have time I want you to take a look at this music video by Katy Perry. It’s blatantly telling us that we’re cogs in a system, the American Dream is a farce, and we’re all chained like slaves dancing to the beat of the system while reveling in a false reality. Look at what the imagery from the video is actually telling you and pay attention to the lyrics. The truth is in plain sight, but we have our rose colored glasses on and we refuse to see it. Stop pushing people into this system of enslavement. You should be encouraging people toward the very opposite.

Peace and blessings to you.”}

I’m not sure exactly what drives people to try to tell other people how they should live their lives. Maybe they think if too many people try to buck the system, it will break down or something? It reminds me of the story about the monkeys in the cage. I heard this story a long time ago. It all started with one monkey in a cage. There was a ladder that led to a door at the top of the cage. There was no lock on the door so the monkey could have climbed the ladder and gotten out at any time. However, every time he tried to do so, a person on the other end would knock the monkey upside the head and the monkey would fall back down. This happened continuously and eventually the monkey gave up trying. After a while, a second monkey was introduced to the cage. The second monkey realized that the ladder led to an open door and climbed up the ladder. However the first monkey remembering what happened previously, took it upon himself to beat the second monkey upside the head every time he tried to climb up. In doing this, he didn’t allow this second monkey to escape the cage. A third monkey was introduced to the cage and the first two monkeys did the same thing to the third monkey. So, none of the monkeys escaped through the open door to their freedom.

+Being an Independent Artist – When to Quit Your Day Job

Here’s what I get out of that story:
If a ‘monkey’ tries to attack you for escaping to your freedom, fight the monkey with all your might. It may not be the monkey’s fault for subscribing to an old model of thinking, but don’t ever let a monkey prevent you from escaping to your freedom.

Don't ever let a monkey prevent you from escaping to your freedom. Click To Tweet

Here’s a picture that describes what I’m talking about…

Maybe I should have just responded to this person’s e-mail with this picture alone and nothing else. I think that would have equally gotten the message across. I could have photoshopped the person’s name next to the guy labeled ‘society.’ He He.