When people ask me what it was that brought me to Nashville – how I got here – the story sounds very bohemian and romantic. I was following a dream, I sold everything that I owned, I lived a nomadic existence for 4 months, I drove all over the country, I landed here without a penny to my name, armed with nothing but a broken heart and a Martin guitar.
I’ll admit that even I bought into the rosy mystique of it all, and I could not wait to arrive here in Nashville completely anonymously. I had the rare chance to reinvent myself, and to become whoever I wanted to be. No longer would I need to be known as “Annie Parsons – pastor’s daughter,” or “Annie Parsons – worship leader at UPC,” or “Annie Parsons – awkward girl who says really embarrassing things,” or “Annie Parsons – used to date so-and-so,” or “Annie Parsons – didn’t she drink too much at that wedding?”
I could change my name. I could be “Annie Parsons – songwriter,” or “Annie Parsons – callously courageous,” or “Annie Parsons – never deals with insecurity,” or “Annie Parsons – sparkly wonder child that everyone loves and adores, and we TOTALLY need to invite her to our party!” I could wriggle out of that old skin that was feeling so heavy and ugly, and emerge something new and exciting and different. I could be like Cinderella, and magically transform into the beautiful soul I’ve always hoped I might be – and won’t they all be amazed?
The truth is far from glamorous. The truth is that I arrived in a puddle of tears. The truth is that it’s been lonely and hard. The truth is that even as I watch my Facebook friend-count grow with every new person I encounter, I am so tired of meeting new people. The truth is that I wonder if I’d be better off back in Seattle. The truth is that I’m still just as introverted as I ever was. The truth is that I deal with all the same stuff: insecurity, regretful words, body image issues, pessimism, awkward moments, selfishness and pride, lack of discipline, empty bank account.
Different town, same girl.
On my own, I am stuck in the same old patterns that I’ve always dealt with. I am facing the familiar struggles with no real hope of anything changing. I am just me, just Annie, and what could I possibly do to tear down the heavy, solid walls of “what has always been” and start over – become something new?
Different town, same girl. But luckily, different town, same God.
And lately, I have been learning that God can take anything – loaves and fish, two coins given by a destitute widow, a barren womb in Sarah, a swindling tax collector named Zacchaeus, a rugged cross, and yes, even me – and transform it into something worthwhile, something big, something of consequence.
All I have to say is “yes.”