PROJECT #BEYOUROWN WOMAN: CAILIN ANNING
Cailin Anning is a full-time music manager originally from Sydney Australia now residing between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. When asked to write this article, Cailin jumped at the opportunity as she describes, and then not too long after, she “allowed her ego to whisper words of discouragement- I am, after all, only human.”
Prior to November 2016, if you had asked me if I ever thought I’d see myself living in Las Vegas, let alone working on The Strip, my answer would’ve been something along the lines of never in a million years. Just like you should be careful what you wish for, you should also be careful about what you say you’d never do, say or consider. I’ve certainly learned that there’s a vast amount of merit to the simple saying ‘Never say never’.
Once upon a time, I’d have described myself as a classic Virgo with a perfectionist approach to my life and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t proud of being workaholic at the time. But the universe has a funny way of serving up lessons that at times carefully peel away the layers we spend all our time building through our formative years and on other occasions these lessons come bearing toward you like a big Mack truck seemingly out of nowhere.
I moved to Las Vegas, Nevada in June 2017. As Las Vegas’ newest Aussie resident I made a promise to myself that I would say ‘yes’ to everything (within reason of course!) in order to kick-start my new life in this strange, so very often misunderstood, ‘big little town’.For the first few months my journey was what felt like complete unimaginable magic. From fulfilling my wildest dreams as an avid 90’s child partying backstage with The Backstreet Boys, to meeting Pop and R&B queen Mariah Carey, to watching professional NHL games at a brand new state of the art arena, life was good and boy was I grateful. Working as the head of Digital Marketing for a prime global hospitality and nightlife group with offices in the world’s 2nd largest hotel, anything felt possible.
As a strong believer that in order to be great in the music industry you should foster a healthy respect for all genres on offer, I joined my newly made friends and colleagues in attending Route 91 Harvest Festival, a three day Country music festival that drew over 22,000 attendees that year. On Sunday, October 1st, 2017 my life as I knew it changed forever. On that day 58 people lost their lives and many more were injured and forever affected by what was the 274th mass shooting in the United States that year, with the Route 91 massacre now the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.
I found myself wading through what the words ‘victim’, ‘trauma’ and ‘survivor’ now meant for me. I felt isolated, trapped and separate from everything, foreign in every sense of the word… it didn’t matter how many people reached out with words of support; the story I told myself was that I was alone. Experiencing gun violence first hand in the USA, I have felt powerless to speak, I have felt misunderstood and lonely especially since sharing what’s inside with the outside doesn’t come easily to me, as I’m sure is the case for many others.
Just over one year on, I believe I have been gifted with the kind of life lesson that shakes the very foundations of who you think you are and thought you wanted to be… or more accurately whom you thought you should be based on external expectations from society, family and the baseline human desire to find connection and belonging.
It’s important to share, speak up, communicate and ask for help. Finding gratitude in the darkest of places isn’t easy but it’s the kindest thing you can do for yourself and others around you. We often like to talk about The Challenge and The Triumph and show scars after healing, but rarely do we share the hard, vulnerable, messy, open wound middle… I have life, I have faith, I have a purpose and I have never been alone regardless of the story that I have told myself. I am not perfect, but I now understand that’s not the goal; instead, I had to learn how to forgive myself.
Through my journey dealing with my trauma, I have discovered myself. I have learned how to live my truth and understand what it means to give and most importantly receive love and compassion. The most important lesson I have realised is that the work is never done, and I have learned how to give myself the permission I wrongfully looked for from external sources.
Since the age of 19 I have been working in entertainment, media and music in some way shape or form, and as a young professional in my twenties, I put so much pressure on myself to be ahead of the pack in my career. I now like to define myself as a ‘professional worrier in remission’ and have found a way to place importance on loving, forgiving and appreciating others and myself.
To me, what it means to BEYOUROWN Woman in the 21st century is to not apologise for being “too much” of anything by anybody else’s definition. We are allowed to change our minds, we are allowed to course correct, pivot, shift and reinvent ourselves, we are allowed to be strong, we are allowed to be passionate and emotional and that does not make us angry, intense, intimidating, bitchy or inconvenient. I believe in ownership, accountability and that laying your emotions bare is the bravest thing anyone can do in this world. I’m not done but I am better than yesterday, and that is ok.
I made a major decision to quit my job in senior management and pursue music management full time and I’m not looking back. I now manage songwriter/producer Derek Fuhrmann and I’m splitting my time between Las Vegas, Los Angeles and my hometown Sydney.
In an effort to stay present and while I don’t live too far into the future these days, but what I will tell you is that I’ll see you at the Grammys and I promise it’s going to be great.