1 Music, Ink.: January 2017


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Love The People Who Love You & Don't Worry About The Rest

Recently, I've been feeling a bit alone.

A friend I've had since childhood has all but disappeared from my life. Neither of us did anything wrong, he just stopped answering my messages and I stopped trying to salvage a relationship he didn't want to keep. He's not a bad person. Nobody knows how to gracefully end a friendship. I'm sure he just couldn't see a way out of what he thought what was a dead end without hurting me.

(I was hurt anyway. So it goes.)

A friend I made last year that I thought was going to be one of the most important people in my life never wants to hang out anymore. I haven't fully let go of it yet, but I'm less adamant about us hanging out. I text less, come around less. He never texts or comes around at all. I suppose he, too, saw that the friendship had run its course before I did. Not once did he speak badly of me or try to hurt me.

(I was hurt anyway. So it goes.)

A boy I briefly and painfully liked sent me perhaps the most brief and painful of all mixed signals, then abruptly dropped off the face of my earth. He gave me a lot of reasons why we wouldn't work. He stopped acting like my friend and treated me like a jilted lover though we never even really got close. He got back together with his ex. He stopped answering my messages. He never spread rumors about me, never said anything cruel to my face, went about excising me from his life in the kindest way possible.

(I was hurt anyway. So it...you get the point.)

These kinds of personal inconveniences are, I'm sure, the kinds of things that every human being goes through on a regular basis. Especially in college, where relationships are forged and forgotten quicker than any other time in our lives, it's normal for love or companionship to flare out just as suddenly as it first sparked. But to be honest, it's not just personal rejection that I've been experiencing.

Professionally speaking, while I've been having some really cool opportunities lately as a writer, I've not been having the same luck as a performer. I'm coming to terms with the fact that making money as a performer may not be in the cards for me. Hell, I don't even know if I'll make money as a writer, but as of right now it seems possible. I know I'm only 19, and that I can't close the book on myself yet, but symbols and signs from the universe seem to be coming out of the woodwork to tell me to get offstage. And while performing gives me anxiety, it's more than a little disheartening to feel like I'm not good at something I always thought I was good at. To feel like I am surrounded by people who are better than me, to feel like I don't have the intangible "it" factor that my friends and classmates seem to have in spades. It's probably for the best--I'm more comfortable in the studio cowriting songs, at my desk drafting blog posts and poetry and scripts and novels, sending my work out into the world from the comfort of my bedroom and not having to face anyone in the immediate aftermath. But it still hurts to feel shut out, to feel like I'm not good enough, to feel like people would rather Irish goodbye out of my life than to stay or at least give me a reason why they're going.

This all paints a grim picture. But I have experienced great comfort almost simultaneously with these grievances. A few close friends have pulled me in closer, held me tighter, made me feel like a real girl. They've let me be myself wholeheartedly. They've let me cry and they've let me make awful jokes and they've started the conversation and they've invited me over. They answer my texts. They keep coming around.

The transitions I've experienced have been rough. I don't bond with a lot of people, so to lose someone I have a genuine connection with is painful. It's humiliating to feel unwanted, to feel shunned, to see the doors of another person's mouth closing as they speak. But it happens. People move on from you. Jobs pass you over. You find out that those dreams you had as a kid aren't going to pan out, or they're going to take a different shape. But then you meet different people. And you find another job. And you get a new dream. And you stop panicking that you're not on the path you expected to be on and look out the window for a second and realize that it's raining, it's raining in Los Angeles and we've been in a drought, and your umbrella keeps turning outside out and you can't get a ride and your socks are soaked through but there is a river of floodwater running through campus and you just know if you had a block or board long enough you could sail that thing all the way home.

Love the people who love you. Don't force it but don't you dare stop it. Love is nothing to be ashamed of. If something lets you in, stay awhile. And if it gets quiet and checks its phone and looks anxiously at the door every few minutes, take the hint and leave. Love the people who love you and don't worry about the rest. Put out all the huge, embarrassing, childish love you've got into the universe and reel in everything that bites. Keep getting hurt and keep accepting it. Kiss frogs and frat boys and French horn players. Don't take it too personally when they go back to the swamp.

What I'm trying to say is that it's going to be okay. That it already kind of is.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Thank You, Barack Obama.

Thank you for being the first black president.

Thank you for serving two consecutive terms, from when I was 11 to now, when I'm 19 -- arguably the most formative years of my life.

Thank you for a presidency free of personal scandal, an almost unheard-of notion in America's political climate, both past and present.

Thank you for showing me what it means to be a good husband and father, reminding me so much of my own father.

Thank you for being funny when we needed it, for being serious when we needed it, for always, always, ALWAYS being articulate and compassionate.

Thank you for proving to the world that wisdom does not preclude sincerity, that kindness does not preclude pragmatism, that blackness does not preclude greatness.

Thank you for teaching us that it is often more important to be good than to be right.

Thank you for Obamacare.

Thank you for all you have done to slow climate change.

Thank you for all you have done to close the wage gap.

Thank you for openly identifying as a feminist.

Thank you for all you did to make gay marriage a right at the federal level.

Thank you for going on so many late-night talk shows and reminding us that you are a real, flesh-and-blood human being and not some collective hallucination of the Democratic Party.

Thank you for loving your family.

Thank you for letting us glimpse your friendship with Joe Biden, the greatest executive bromance in all of human history.

Thank you for weeping through mass shootings, through police brutality, through hate -- for showing us that it is okay to cry.

Thank you for taking the vitriol that our current President-elect spewed at you for so many years in stride.

Thank you for campaigning so tirelessly for Hillary.

Thank you for peacefully handing off power despite the knowledge that your successor is unfit to rule.

Thank you for having an imperfect presidency and proving imperfection does not preclude progress.

Thank you for making it seem like we had finally made it to the right side of history.

Thank you for standing by us when we realized we had not.

Thank you for loving us.

Thank you for being the role model to every black child in this nation, and quite possibly in the world.

Thank you for being everyone's president.

Thank you for being my president.