With all of the changes that have happened over the last year, I’ve neglected to write for some time. Oh well. Living my life just kind of took priority. I truly don’t even know where to start though, it’s been so crazy! But, I constantly crave this creative, cathartic outlet, no matter how silly a simple blog may be. So, I’ll eventually get back in the swing of regular updates. Anyway, I do have a valid excuse, as my life has been changing in big and exciting ways!
NO! Stop right there! It’s NOT a baby…good lord, no. I can barely handle the cat and man in my house right now!
(P.S. – why is it that when someone says they have exciting news, that is always the first place their mind goes?? Maybe I’ve just spent too much time in the South…)
Rather, it is the birth of a new life (or of a lifestyle, really), a new beginning, if you will, and the start of new adventures.
I moved to Manhattan! To say this was a long time coming would be quite the understatement, but that is a very long story for another time. No talk of work today. But, I’m here, and I’m excited, and I’m loving this city!!!
I moved up here three weeks ago today, and it’s been one hell of an interesting journey getting here. And, it’s been filled with emotions. As I packed and unpacked WAY too many boxes (seriously, I still can’t walk around the apartment), I’ve been journeying back and forth through time. From distant, forgotten pasts, to the here and now – the memories have been flowing!
The first big wave of emotion came when I opened my old CD case and found my very first Paramore album. Oh, man did my emo head banging days of chasing tour after tour, stage after stage, hit me hard! I mean, can you say Warped Tour???
So, one of the most exciting nights here, so far, has been going to see my favorite band, Paramore, at Radio City Music Hall. They released a new album over the summer that is just insanely good. From start to finish, I connected so deeply to this one, I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve cried while listening to it. I swear, it’s like hearing my own thoughts played back to me. It’s beautiful, and it’s rough.
My love for this band simply cannot be expressed in words. What can I even say? I’ve grown up with them; they’ve been the soundtrack to my life for the past ten, eleven, maybe twelve years! We’ve gone through good times together and hard times. I guess, mostly these days, though, they make me feel SO old!! I mean, we’re speaking of a time spanning my moody, depressed teenage years, through questionable young adulthood, to the happy businesswoman that I am today. That’s pretty crazy when you think about it!
When I first heard “Pressure” off their first album (when they were only 15! My god…) I was transitioning from my late teen years into adulthood, heading off to college. Hayley, as a young, vibrant force of a female frontwoman, showed me at a time when I needed it most that it’s ok to just be yourself – jump around, scream, sing, be angry, be sad, be happy, be excited!! It’s ok to feel, and it’s ok to be different. Who wants to fit in anyway?! Sure, I already knew all of this, but I wasn’t allowed to put it into action. But at a show…and especially at a Paramore show, I could let loose and be entirely me in that moment. THAT is an unbelievable feeling of freedom.
I grew up in a town where it wasn’t ok to be different. In a place where stepping outside of the lines wasn’t just forbidden, it was banishing. I grew up in a place where every part of who I was got pushed down and literally beat out of me by everyone from my neighbors to my teachers. I couldn’t say the things I wanted. I couldn’t do the things I wanted. I couldn’t dress the way I wanted. I couldn’t listen to the music that I wanted. I couldn’t play the music that I wanted. I was just stuck in their world, taught to fear literally everything, until I could find an escape.
And, I did find my escape.
Music was my escape.
Though I’ve always shared my love for music with my family, the first thing that I was ever able to really speak up about was dance. I remember my Dad taking me to school asking me, “why do you want to dance?” I said, “I don’t want to dance; I need to.” I explained to him, for the first time ever, that music and artistic expression were my lifeblood. To feel, to move, to write, to create – that is my oxygen. I had already been a life-long musician. I mean, it was kind of a given in our house since my Dad is a musician. I grew up surrounded by instruments and studio recording equipment with music constantly blasting from every genre every single day. It was a part of life. A great part of life.
Music, movement, writing – it all spoke to me. This creative expression was the only thing, at that time, that spoke to me. I heard and felt the stories of so many others, and it helped me begin to confront my own story. (And, I got to tell you – it’s one long effing story! But, baby steps…)
The real me was destroyed for far-too many years, and there was a time when I wasn’t sure she would ever come back. But, I had music to turn to. I’ve always had music to turn to. During a time of dire need, music was a reason to wake up, and it gave me the inspiration to create, to move, to feel. As the catchy turn-of-phrase goes, “Rock and Roll saved my soul.” Truer words have never been spoken.
As an adult, I look back at those times and am grateful. I hear music, and I am grateful. I dance through my living room, and I am grateful. I read a story, and I am grateful. I see a film, and I am grateful.
My days as an emo head banging teenager actually brought me closer to finding and understanding myself and, eventually, revealed my future as a creative professional. I am grateful.
And to my favorite band, Paramore, I am grateful. You brought fun into my life when I needed it most. You taught me to dance like a fool. You taught me to appreciate the hard times. Even today, as an adult, you’ve found a way to speak to me and all others going through crazy transitional phases in life.
I’ve gone to…I don’t even know how many Paramore shows! Each time, I dance, I laugh, I cry and I freakin’ sing at the top of my lungs!! I love it! So, seeing them perform right here in NYC, my new home, at the start of a new phase of my life, was incredibly emotional. And when they played “Daydreaming”… not going to lie, I lost it for a sec. This song carries so much weight for me, personally, and captures so much of my journey to find balance in the places I’ve called home.
I’m so excited for this new adventure, but I’ve not forgotten where I come from. And though it wasn’t always easy, every single moment and person and experience helped make the strong person that I am today. Without it all, I would never have been able to turn my daydreams into reality.
Keep singing. Keep dancing. Keep creating. Keep dreaming.
“It’s not that I won’t remember where I’m from
Just don’t wanna be here no more
It’s not enough
(We’re only half alive)
I’m gonna go
(We’re only half alive)
Where the rest of the dreamers go
(We’re only half alive)
Where the dreamers go”