anniversaries are wonderful. they’re a reminder that something monumental and beautiful came into fruition, and that time keeps passing. they’re a warm feeling to look back on, but sometimes i can’t get myself to look back at other moments because the past can either be paralyzing or nostalgic, and i seem to be the hardest judge of this conclusion and sometimes i’m not strong enough to decide. we move so fast through life, so anniversaries are there to help us pause, and ultimately, reflect.
i came upon a two year anniversary a couple days ago. it was the birth of my music career. literally, i was a waitress until the evening of june 30th 2010, and then at 8pm i turned into a professional musician. like a pumpkin, or like cinderella, my life changed. not just my occupation changed that magical day, but my hopes, dreams, desires and purpose changed as well. i wasn’t to bring you a small chai latte anymore, i was to bring you song, lyrics, melodies and hope. i was to move from a small shoebox apartment to a house with a piano so i could hone my craft. i was to tweet into the twitterverse things that meant something because i was either going to inspire someone or be judged poorly. i was to learn how to live out of a suitcase because i would be meeting everyone in the world i physically could. i was to hush my insecurities and stage fright and go on anyway. i was to skip artist development and just try to be awesome instantly. i was to take my heart stories that i thought were only for me to feel better and share them with the whole world. unabashed. honest. so, i became a new person. and quite honestly, the person i always dreamed of being.
needless to say, it was a huge traumatic event in my mind, body and soul, but i accepted the Uni-verse’s challenge. now, two years later, i find myself in berlin, germany doing everything this career encapsulates. so, i am really living… but am i really learning?
what’s the real purpose of this short life if we’re stuck? what’s the whole point if we never grow? what’s the point if we’re merely surviving instead of experiencing? if we’re afraid to look back, we will never move forward. this anniversary has made me extremely happy, yet also pensive. i sit here now and ask you this little question, but have i, personally, learned anything? i sure know i have had pain, fear, loss, depression, anxiety, disappointment, failures, injuries and tragedies… but what have i learned?
well, let’s see…
i try not to eat food that makes me feel terrible afterwards – i have learned what my body likes.
i try not to put harmful things in to my body in general – i have learned i like myself better this way.
i try not to watch my diet everyday- i’ve learned if i’m in london, claridge’s has the best high tea treats.
i try not to look down all day in my business – i have learned to stop and look up.
i try not to drive with my doors unlocked – i have learned the world can be dangerous.
i try not to actually send the emails i write when i’m upset – i have learned the power of pausing.
i try not to lie. ever. i learned you can’t save your ass and your face at the same time.
i try not to feel alone anymore – i found a connection to a power greater than myself.
i have looked at all my wrongs in the face and have learned my part in them.
i have forgiven him. all the hims. i feel better this way.
i try not to chase men that want to be chased – i have learned i am worth more.
i try not to cry over my skin, it’s just skin – i have learned it does not define who i am inside.
i try not to pretend a pain doesn’t exist – i have learned to go to the doctor.
i don’t use monitors on stage anymore – i have learned to use in-ears and actually like them.
i try not to throw up anymore before i walk on stage – i have learned i am enough just the way i am.
i try not to react to every mean comment – i’ve learned it doesn’t have anything to do with me.
i don’t hate radio promo – i have learned i am actually most grateful for it because it’s how you’ve of heard me.
i try not to take reviews personally – i have learned they’re only one person’s opinion.
i try to accept my parents for who they are and who they are not.
i try not to hate the level of my musicianship – i have learned i get better every show.
i now only think about messing up what i’m doing while i’m doing it on stage about half the time.
i try not to hate the whole show because of one mistake – i learned to smile at it.
i try not to ignore every phone call – i have learned not to isolate.
i try not to wallow in loneliness – i learned if i’m feeling lonely, i have plenty of people to call.
i try not to hate my ex’s exes – i have learned that i actually love them because we have more in common than i ever knew.
i try not to try to fix people – i have learned that it’s impossible and exhausting.
i try not to let my feelings kill me – i have learned every three hours they change.
i still sleep with the closet light on, but i’m not afraid to sleep alone.
i get out of relationships as soon as i know in my gut they aren’t meant to be – i have learned that being single is okay.
i try not to obsess over every little thing – i have learned to stop the obsession thinking train.
i try not to freak out over the quality of my voice – i have learned the show isn’t only about me.
i try not to separate me and them – i have learned that fans are friends.
i don’t try to find a home somewhere – i have learned it is inside of me.
i try not to be perfect – i have learned perfect doesn’t exist.
i don’t hate myself – i have learned a little self love.
i don’t and won’t give up on love – i have learned to continue loving fully and one day it will be returned.
so there you go, that’s me. i absolutely don’t do these things perfectly. i am not a saint. i slip and fall and so very easily go to dark places filled with past behavior, but sitting here reading this list, i know at least i have learned. but, i would safely say it’s only half the battle, and maybe one of these days my lessons might grow into change. for now, though, i am satisfied knowing that i have grown into a woman today who is not the same woman i was. i am a tiny bit older, and a tiny bit wiser.
i encourage you, now, to take a look at yourself.
if you’re stuck somewhere, make a point to try your best to get un-stuck.
only you have the power to grow from the highs and lows this unpredictable life gives you.
i encourage you to remove the blindfold you’re wearing to save you from your feelings.
turn around for a moment and acknowledge where you were and where you are now.
i bet it’s not as scary as it looks.
i bet you’ve grown.
take a moment, and see.
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Christina Perri is an awesome singer/songwriter and TDL really loves her. Check out her website here.