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For The Love Of Self - My Spiritual Awakening

I am not really sure where to begin as I write this. I have intentionally taken many steps back over the last two months, and that has included not sharing my story which is something I have so vehemently done throughout my life. As I am writing this I feel the most vulnerable I have ever felt sharing. What I’ve learned though, is that’s the way vulnerability is, and Vulnerability is the way. even tho it’s uncomfortable (it always will be) I’m gonna keep doing it. Being vulnerable with the right people and with the world, at the right time, is the most courageous and authentic thing you can do. I don’t know how this will be received and I have no attachment to how it is or what the response will be. I just know for sure that there are a lot of people like me, and I hope this story finds them.

I haven’t mixed a song in 7 weeks, and that’s absolutely the longest I’ve gone since I was 19 years old. To give you some perspective, I am currently 35 (I know, but I look soo young haha). I’ve been on a spiritual awakening that has been the most gut wrenching, beautiful thing I have ever gone through. My emotions, my conflicts, my confusion, and my resolutions are all at the forefront of my existence, racing around trying to find their place in my new reality. While I am not here to share all of these insights with you, I thought one might be very relatable to the audience I have built here over time. That insight being, My worth is not in my work. I’ve gone back and forth about even sharing that I haven’t been doing any work, because in this business, the perception of busyness is “very important.” However, I feel that this message is too important to worry about what it will “do to my career”. Very honestly, my career is the last thing on my mind these days. That will all work itself out in time.

When I started The Pocket, a community based organization centered around entrepreneurs living their dreams while living healthy lifestyles, it made me really have to live up to what I was preaching, and find out what parts of my journey I thought were worth it, but were absolute bullshit. The only way I truly knew how to lead was by example, and I did everything I could to do that. I just didn’t have enough gas left. For years (really, my whole entire life) I had been running from my pain and shoving it down to my feet, and now I was full. So much so, that a lot of it had hardened. There wasn’t going to be an easy way to let this all go. After The Pocket Picnic, on June 24th, I was physically, mentally, and spiritually exhausted……AGAIN. If we are being honest, when was the last time I wasn’t? I had built something to fill a hole in my heart, to fix a broken one. At the time, I didn’t know that is what I had been doing with my whole career. Be successful and it will fill the holes….it won’t.

What started as me taking two weeks off turned into what I called “Two Months of Ali”. I had leaned on AMAC so hard for so long to get me through all the hits I had taken in my life. Ali was hurt and broken, but AMAC, she could do just about anything. My biggest core value is authenticity. I was tired of having to put AMAC on to get through an event or a party or a session. Shit, AMAC was tired too. So, what can be done to break the cycle?  HARD STOP. HARD INNER WORK. HARD FUCKING STOP. Nothing has been harder for me than stopping, but through the combination of stopping, and some healing medicine, I went head on to confront what I had so casually stuffed down and avoided forever. I was tired AF of my own shit. FULL STOP it was. No more Pocket, no more speaking, no more audio engineering. No More AMAC. Just me, myself, and Ali. Sprinkled in with a few friends who earned the right to really see me.

This story starts well before a couple months and well before the time period I’m about to mention but, 12 years ago I quit drinking. There is a huge difference between stopping, and dealing with why you had to stop or really, why you started in the first place…to numb. I have this incredible story about starting to make all of my money off of music 3 weeks after I quit drinking. I did do that, and it was dope, but what I didn’t realize was that my replacement numbing mechanism was becoming a workaholic. Always staying so busy, who had time to think about all that fucked up stuff that had happened? Just keep it all tucked inside. Then the music business would add its own brand of trauma onto what I had already endured over the beginning of my life. In fact, it poured into it - making the soil moist and the shame sink deeper and deeper into my soul of all the things I never said. All the vulnerabilities I never showed. JUST KEEP WORKING...

So, what’s the shame, you may ask? The shame of not being enough. The shame of not being worth anything. One of the most impactful thoughts I had is this - what is my identity without music? Why does it matter so much to be platinum award winning Ali “AMAC” McGuire? did it matter so much to me that the people around me looked up to me? I couldn’t stop. No matter how many times I was cursed out, threatened, touched without my consent, or not paid, I had to show I could take it. Take the hit. Get up and take another one. I couldn’t let them take my dreams away from me. Maybe then, I would be worth just a little bit. Feeling like you have no value in a situation, even when you know you’re the most valuable in the room, is worth the possibility of a plaque, isn’t it? The world wouldn’t know what had happened in those rooms, they would just know that I had “made it”. I would hold up that plaque, or add that famous person’s name to my IG, and the world would cheer and I would be WORTH SOMETHING….ANYTHING. None of it was ever enough though. Tours with top artists, working with all the major labels, getting the recognition of being great.

The aforementioned medicine was a guided DMT trip (5MEO to be exact). I’m not going to get into this now, but to say it emptied me and made me confront a laundry list of things is an understatement. It didn’t make sense to me for weeks. It legit felt hopeless at times. I had found a new reality through it, but all the same bullshit was still here. How do I find this new reality here, the peaceful one here in this world filled with so much hurt? When I look at IG these days, I see a lot of hurt, and a lot of people trying to find their value inside of it. I know, because I was one of them. I’m sure I still will be from time to time. I would spit so much shit out into the universe, just trying to make myself believe it. Today, I actually understand those things I used to just say. However I decide to come back is going to be different, because I am different now. So ok, ok, what’s the point Ali? I realized that I was so tied to the music industry and the accomplishments of it, because I thought that eventually it would make me worthwhile. It would fill those holes in my heart I talked about earlier. It would bring me the joy and the love I didn’t feel for myself. The accomplishments became things that made me worthwhile to be around. I was never shown how to properly love and be loved in return. That quote from Moulin Rouge “The greatest thing you’ll learn is just to love and be loved in return” really hits home these days.

I offered my help to others because, of course I want to help, but also because it meant someone needed me, and that I held value. It has been kinda devastating to know that I carried the weight of being unlovable for so long. Other people were so hurt that they took it out on me, and then I fucking believed it. As confident as I have ever seemed or ever been, I thought people only wanted to be around me because I could do something for them. Why the fuck else would a person be around such an absolute train wreck of a human? It couldn’t be because I’m a great friend, funny, supportive, and caring. I could only hear the criticisms everyone gave me, and I know it will always be hard for me to turn that off. What I’m going to do though is love myself anyway as hard as I can. I hope you love yourself anyway. No amount of trophies will do it for you. That’s for sure. It’s looking more and more that people like to be around me because I just generally rock as a human, and the fact that I’m great at music isn’t really near the top of their lists.

I still need more time to kinda just exist and feel through a lot of things I have spent 30 years running from. I have no idea what my relationship with music looks like anymore or how I may come back to it. There’s a lot to feel through there. I don’t want to rush it either. Music has afforded me so many things in this life. I am grateful for so much of it. I DO NOT take for granted that there are a lot of people who try their whole lives to live what I have lived before 35. Without music, I wouldn’t be able to have this time to stop. This crazy thing is none of this is even really about music but how I used music. I’m grateful for these hard moments I am having. I am grateful for finally being able to grieve the parts of me I have to leave behind, and I’m grateful to meet even more of myself on the other side with love and compassion. I’m grateful that I get to be Ali again cuz that motherfucker is one badass, good looking bitch who I am absolutely in love with. I’m just out here finding myself in whatever way that means with no pressure to be perfect anymore. It’s an impossible task. What I’ve learned is I am the answer, as I am. I am the way. I am just going to keep trusting myself, and god, that this path is steady.

I know how many of us, especially within the music industry, struggle with being loved and accepted. I know how many of you I have been on the phone crying with, while everyone around us thinks how cool it is to be us, and we are just depressed AF. Being “successful” will never bring you happiness. We will never be happy all the time, but truly knowing and believing we are worthy and lovable, and being ourselves, is the most powerful thing we can do. Brene Brown says “Your story matters because you matter.” And don’t you ever forget that. I spent so much time in the studio trying to live a dream when truly living is the dream. I look forward to sharing so much more of this story with you all when I have had the appropriate time to really go through it all. I think it will be the most powerful thing I have ever done. I look forward to showing you even more of Ali. I know you’ll like her. I hope that my journey inspires you, and that you stop trying to fit in. As Maya Angelou says “I belong to myself.” And as I say, “The most inspirational thing you can do is live your life the way you want to.” It’s what I have done and what I will always do. The more information we gather, the better we can live and treat ourselves. It’s ok to stop. Sometimes stopping is actually keeping going. I am very interested in hearing anyone else’s story about their journey, about feeling this way, and about healing if you are willing to share.  All the love I’ve got-Ali 💙

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