top of page

When Cerebral Palsy tests the American Dream — How I find to drive to keep going despite continuous

Updated: Jan 24

As I was contemplating the most appropriate way to release my very first music video to the world, I thought of this: One question that I get asked a lot during the Q&A portion of speaking engagements is “How do you find the courage to keep going despite always facing enormous obstacles?” I always answer in a single word: gratitude. Let me explain.

I get to wake up in the morning and, at the bare minimum, I am afforded the opportunity for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If I am unhappy at the way something is going, I have the liberty to work to find ways to change it to improve my quality of life and be more happy. Some of us have to work exponentially harder than others to achieve a desired result, but at the end of the day — we all have that opportunity and freedom to improve our lives to pursue greater fulfillment and happiness each and every day.

Although we have that opportunity and freedom to be grateful for every day of our lives, we all have those times when we we get very discouraged, throw up our hands, and almost give in to that voice inside us that says “you’re not good enough” or “you’ll never make it” or “how DARE you pursue happiness? Who the heck do you think you are?”

As I shared in a previous post, I hear these statements often and get discouraged more than you might think with my daily battles for basic survival. It can, and does take an emotional toll — so what the heck am I doing pursuing one of the most challenging careers as a country artist entrepreneur? Why on earth would I actively seek out to add the stress of the music industry on top of everything else that I stress over?

I honestly did not know until the night before I was leaving for Nashville to record my current album, I Will Stand… I knew that I was putting my dreams on the line, and I was quite scared on the inside. But just as my dad and I were sitting down at the dinner table a new story came on the evening news that shook my world. As I was watching the segment I was overwhelmed by intense emotions of gratitude that resonated so deeply within me, I started trembling with tears gushing down my face.

There we were — on the eve of our drive to Nashville to start a new chapter in my career that was made possible by the constant freedom and opportunity to work hard, overcome a lifetime of a wide array of physical and emotional challenges, and have a relentless amount of faith and optimism. I discovered my passion for connecting with others through country music as a timid, scrawny disabled kid struggling to balance on a horse — and more than 15 years later, I was about to go to Nashville and record an album as a country music artist despite the fact that I cannot sing! If that is not proof that this is indeed the “land of opportunity”, I don’t know what is…

The story on the evening news was about the men and women in our military who have been severely diabled and how they were having to learn an entirely new way of life. My world stopped. These men and women who were fighting for our safety and freedom now had to adapt to a whole new way of life- the way of life that I’ve been living since birth — the only way of life I’ve ever known, but I knew deep down to my soul that these men and women were experiencing a tragic change. A change that was filled not only with physical challenges, but a lifetime of intense emotional battles that I know all too well.

As my dad and I were driving down Highway 81 on the way to Nashville, I kept thinking about those men and women and then I got choked up because I was on the way to fulfill a lifelong dream because so many brave people made sacrifices to enable me to chase that dream. I knew it was my duty as an artist to write a song to somehow help those men and women overcome their emotional battles that they now face. So during my time in Nashville I was fortunate enough to get together with my amazing co-writers — Justin Zimmer and KellyAnn Hocter. I brought the idea to them and the next thing you know we had written an amazing song called “Warrior Cowboy” that we immediately cut for the album.

Even though I have never had the honor of serving our country on the battlefield, I feel a kindred spirit with the men and women who do. They chose to be brave and fight for our safety and freedom over settling for an easier and far less dangerous career — just as I chose a career where I work my ass off until 2am every single night when I could have easily “settled” and give in to society’s low expectations of me and live the life of an unemployable victim and watch the cartoon network all day while collecting state welfare checks as my means of support, which by the way, is what I would be forced to do if I lived in many other countries.

This music video is dedicated to all of the brave men and women, and their families — who have sacrificed so much for our freedom and the constant opportunity to work hard for what we believe in and go after our dreams.

I may have to struggle to maintain my independence and freedom from time to time — and I may have to work harder to sustain my life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but I forever will have deep rooted gratitude for those who have sacrificed so much to afford me and every other American for the opportunity to work hard to strive towards the American Dream.

I’m humbled and grateful to have the opportunity to present the official music video for “Warrior Cowboy” below — and feel free to stop by to download the official song as my gift to you because we all feel defeated and hopeless at times, but we must remember that we have unbreakable spirit that is within all of us that will never be destroyed even through our worst storms and darkest moments.

4 views0 comments


bottom of page