“Oh! I know who you are!”
We paused for the photo.
The photographer snapped the photo.
“Are you Rachel?!”
I think I was more surprised than Cassadee herself from her sudden excitement.
“Loved meeting you!” she later wrote on my Instagram post (whom her mom liked as well). “The station told me all about you winning the mng for Indiana but then not being able to come. But I’m glad I ended up hangin with ya a few days later <3”
For a couple of weeks, I went through a slump where I felt very “stuck.” My environment didn’t inspire me; job offers weren’t appealing to me; days became very repetitive; I inhabited empty places and passed countless faces. I almost felt like a fish out of water.
Even though I moved back home two months ago, home doesn’t feel like home to me anymore. A piece of myself and my heart is still lingering elsewhere.
And so when I got word that I won two VIP passes to B92.5 FM’s sold-out “Girls With Guitars” concert on a Friday night in Sacramento, I cancelled plans with my friends, asked my friend less than three hours before the show to come with and we dropped everything to trek the two-hour drive to Sacramento from the Bay. And damn was the stupid spontaneity worth it!
Sometimes, when you have an inkling in your heart, you just gotta follow it. If you want to go somewhere, do it. If you want to do something, go do it. If you’re gonna hate yourself for not doing something, that means you should really do it.
Some of my best memories have always been those random, unconventional, poorly planned and poorly thought-out moments that comprised of the biggest laughs and biggest memories. It’s because when you follow that curiosity in your heart, it takes up a bigger space in your heart than you realize.
And so #PageantPatricia and I made our way out to Sacramento on my tank of gas with every panic in the world we were not going to make the cut by 7:15pm. We got there by 7:35pm and they did not even start the meet-and-greet yet. We came across a line that was miles long where people waited for hours to get in, while we ran past all of them out-of-breath and laughing from our stupidity. We got in, I had a moment with Cassadee, we were shoved off the floor, I wanted to take a video selfie with Cass and hated myself, and then we realized we were the only Asians in the entire room. We surrounded ourselves with moms and little girls and older country music fans who made us feel like we were at a county fair. We were disgusted by the pageantry they put the four country women artists on, each girl on a stool singing one song after the other, forcing themselves to sit there and smile and not be awkward as they waited their turn, almost like it was a “who’s hottest” and “who’s the best.” And then I questioned why Cassadee was the only girl with a guitar when the event is called “Girls with Guitars.” And then we were disgusted by the title when we found out they used that title to get people to come when it was really some guy who headlined the night.
But oh well.
If there are some things that made the night worth it, it was the realizations that:
- Cassadee Pope is as amazing, hard-working and genuine an artist she always has been who loves to reach out and talk to her fans. (I vouch her Warped Tour days for her friendly girl-coolness and natural stage presence.)
- Jana Kramer eating crackers onstage as the other girl was singing was the funniest moment of the night.
- Kurt Ozan a.k.a. “cute bearded man” was the highlight of the night whenever Cassadee wasn’t singing.
- Everything is better in good company, and thank you Patricia for always being that random, spontaneous, crazy let’s-go-have-random-fun kind of buddy when you need it.
- I cannot live a life without music–whether it’s writing about it, playing it, being around it, attending it, or being immersed in it. Music is where I feel most in my element, and everything in my life has always come back to it. (I talked a bit about this in my previous post, “Why My Postgrad Blues Were Good For Me.”)
Whatever the case, you’ve always gotta crave moments like this: the ones that make you laugh, take your mind off, re-inspire you to be who you really are instead of trying to fit yourself into something that isn’t you.
Life ought to always be meant living for beautiful moments. And if there’s one night I can always look back on and laugh at and remember as the night that made me say, “Okay. I’m over it. I’m fed up with applying for and researching the randomest jobs that just don’t feel like me. Music is where I belong,” then I’m glad it was for this.