We launched a new website yesterday. Well, I didn’t exactly. But Aaron and Marcus and Steph and some other folks around me did. It’s something that’s been in the works for awhile now, but has taken a few months for them to get done, and even more so, for me to make sense of.
Mostly because change is hard. Really hard sometimes. But it is inevitable.
We have had a number of different versions of “our website” over the years: starting with joeymartin.com, then joeyandrory.com, and then most thislifeilive.com. Always changing as the story seemed to unfold, from Joey working on a music career alone, to us chasing our dreams together, and then a few years ago, us putting our careers on hold and me writing a blog. And now... well, things have changed again. It’s just me, and our little one and older girls. Playing some music again, writing a book or two, and doing my best to capture life and share it as it happens, all on a few pages.
Each of the websites and domains we’ve used over the years have done what we’ve needed them to do. But in the big picture, what we’ve put together has become more than a little confusing… especially if you add in that the Facebook page my blog is connected to is “joeyandrory,” the Instagram page is “roryandjoey,” and our Youtube channel is “thislifeilive.” And so, in an effort to make a bit more sense of whatever web presence we have, in the coming days and weeks, all of those are going to fall under my name...
It sounds simple enough, but the process to get here has been a long and winding one. The struggle I’ve had with my name has been a strange thing. For years after I moved here to Nashville to become a songwriter, I was more than hesitant to use my last name (for a number of reasons) and so I used my middle name “Lee” as a last name. I shared that story in my first book and posted it here. Some time after we got married, Joey helped me to reclaim my last name and be proud of it and a few years after that, she and I put our first names together (with a plus sign in between them) and saw dreams come true that neither of could’ve imagined.
I was at an event in Nashville a few months after Joey passed away and someone brought a guitar up to me and asked me to sign it. It was a simple request, but as I picked up the sharpie and looked down at the guitar, it paralyzed me for a moment... confused and heartbroken by what this meant – that I was no longer going to be signing our names “Joey+Rory” together, like we had always done – but mine alone, or at least in time I would. With a tear on my cheek, I signed the guitar “with our love, Joey+Rory” just as I alway had.
For the next year or so, I signed every book, CD, autograph, or letter the same way, using both our names... like nothing had changed. But the truth was it had, whether I liked it or not. Down deep I think I was afraid that if I didn’t sign Joey’s name, she wouldn’t be part of the story anymore. And that people might forget her... or even worse, that I would.
The other reason that it’s taken me awhile to be okay with using just my name, is that honestly, I’m not very good at being me. At the attention being on me. I am better at being hers. I always was, and I still am. It just feels right, down deep. That being said, I’m surrounded by some good friends who are smarter than me and have helped me to understand that Joey’s always going to be part of the story that we’re living and telling, even if some of the new chapters don’t have her name in them. And they’re right. Joey is in the story, even when she’s not in the story. Just like she’s a part of Indiana, even though she’s apart from her.
I love that on this new site, I’ve been able to share more music and personal videos, and cooking segments from our tv series and performances from shows we’ve played through the years. And that in time, I’ll be able to add sections about our farm and the schoolhouse that’s opening soon. And on the new Facebook Group page, Joey’s best friend Julie will be able to share more things with people, and interact with them in ways that I never could. Joey and I both loved the book “Same Kind Of Different As Me” that came out ten years or so ago. It’s a beautiful story about two men that are completely different on the outside, and yet down deep, they’re much the same. And that’s sort-of how I see the new website and social media changes. The same as before, but kind of different too.