To be completely honest with you, I almost feel like I’ve forgotten how to blog.
A part of me has become so guarded — so cautious and careful, second-guessing my every move and word, perhaps in fear of who might see what and how that might affect the relationships in my life.
And then I think back to a time when I wasn’t so guarded — how liberating and freeing it was to express those thoughts, unravel my mind and maybe even touch another soul. I wasn’t trying to impress or show off or “keep things professional.” It was a simple desire to express.
I turned 24 a little more than a month ago (9th of March) and in the days leading up to my birthday, I was hoping to close loose ends and find a little closure. I know I don’t tend to dispose of my personal life on here (I value my privacy and the privacy of my family and friends), but I thought I should share with you a couple of life learnings I’ve had as of late.
Why? Well, because why else do we write?
Road Trip to My Birthweek
This past March, my birthday turned into a birth “March madness” month, simply because I wanted and felt the need to let go of all of my worries and love myself again — play as much music as I can, go to as many concerts as I can, write as much as I can and getaway as much as I can.
I embarked on a mini two-day road trip with my best friend from the Bay to LA (March 6-8), only to end up struggling to live out of my car, sleep on uncomfortable floors and turn my trip into a “business trip” for a job interview. It was also during that trip that I sought closure with a boy I had begun to start opening my heart to (7 months long to be exact), and I needed answers on whether to stay or walk away.
It was after that that I realized the uncertainty was causing me more stress than I needed. With so much love to give and an enthusiasm for life, I needed to step away and learn to be on my own again. And so, I spent my birthnight with Milo Greene, one of the few bands who has stolen my heart and also the very first band I interviewed back in 2014. I spent the weekend wining-and-dining with old friends, family and exploring the cool little bars, restaurants and sites the Bay Area had to offer. I never think much of myself and my birthday, but I was so grateful to share so many intimate moments with the people in my life — some who I may take for granted at times.
Concerts, Concerts and More Music
After recovering from the exhausting road trip, the season of concerts had started to get rolling again! My interview with Brooklyn Asian-American songwriter Andy Suzuki got circulated around the Internet, I attended and wrote coverage on Thao Nguyen (of The Get Down Stay Down)’s solo show and I played a heck of a lot of music while revisiting old songs I’ve written in the past. I also turned my head away from perverted messages and Internet creeps and stood my ground when it came to innocent fixations on me. Rather than staying silent and letting those people be like I normally would have done in the past, I spoke up and stood my ground. And it felt good.
And then came the three-day BFF “business trip” to Vegas (March 20-22) as I accompanied my friend for a photobooth convention. Turns out it ended up being more pleasure than work as we feasted on countless Vegas buffets, walked more than a marathon on foot up and down the strip and simply enjoyed each other’s company. It’s also with her that I’m reminded of living purely in the moment — that having a getaway from yourself and your life is so healthy simply because it becomes too easy to get caught up in your own life. There are more people and places to be with and experience when you take that step away from yourself.
“I love you tremendously Rachel,” she told me. “I know I yell and lecture you all the time and I’m very mean and aggressive about it, but I love you for still keeping me in your life. You bring me great happiness and this trip was a 10/10.”
“I feel like your gravestone will say: Always a Giver, Never a Taker — Except of Photos, Lots and lots of Photos.”
Couldn’t be any more well said.
Spontaneous LA Getaway Pt. II
The end of March came Dia Frampton’s three-week residency at the Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles — and for any of you longtime readers or friends of mine, you would know that any show that Frampton puts on I cannot miss (for the past decade of my life). After a few days of recovery from Vegas, I spontaneously (and with little notice) left at midnight with my brother to drive down to Irvine Wednesday night, crashed at my good friend/forever neighbor/roommate Daniel’s place, spent our Thursday around Santa Monica to West Hollywood to catch her show and meet up with old friends.
Simply put, it was nights like those that reminded me of the life I had — and still have — when I lived down there. Seeing old friends and sharing intimate conversations just reminded me of the network I had built up and the career I’d built for myself. It’s also nice to know that even if you spend time for yourself away, your impression on people still stays. (And how crazy is it to know that I know the people Dia was singing about in each of her new songs? Too invested, much?)
The morning after that show, we left the hotel our “boardie” friends had rented and drove back to the Bay that same day to catch a free Warriors game my brother had snagged that night. Back to back traveling and feeling so very dead, that night back home in the Oracle was a great way to end such a crazy week and a marathon of a month of road tripping.
“It’s funny how you can be so fixed on moving, but the moment the opportunity becomes real, the more you resist.”
So much love for you, Bay Area. So much love.
A New Month and Refound Energy
“Something tells me this is the #RachelReformation year,” my friend told me.
Just in the past month, I realized how much more alive I feel when I answer to life and live moment to moment, rather than worry where I will be in a month, six months or five years from now. My enthusiasm for live shows, writing, recording and focus on myself was found again and I was reminded of the life I have for me that is waiting for me to grab. If I want to move, I should do it. And if I fail? I can always run back home to figure it all out again.
I spent a week home recording two new videos (“Redbone” and “I Feel It Coming”) while also revisiting and reworking songs I’ve written in the past. My April concert schedule became busy with Mitski (April 11), Oh Wonder (April 17), Hans Zimmer (April 19), LANY (April 24) and
Kawehi The 1975 (April 28) — all back to back all over NorCal and all in a span of three weeks (which means lots of write-ups, reviews and my love for music). I’ve reunited with my #IceTeam with countless late nights, wine nights and grubs at their apartment sharing laughs, memories and conversations on being young, working and living in the moment. I’ve also taken care of myself and my health through (trying to be) consistent exercise. And I’ve also met a new friend and solo-concertgoer who has gone to the exact same three shows as me — talk about great minds!
But if I can be completely honest and frank with you, throughout all of the moments and memories I’ve shared with the people around me in the past month or two, it’s hard to truly get a grasp of where my heart and mind really live in the blur of it all.
In the new John Mayer song “Moving On And Getting Over,” he sings:
Moving on and getting over
Are not the same, it seems to me
‘Cause you’ve been gone, I’m growing older
But I still can’t seem to get you off my mind
And I do believe I feel you all the time
I’d be lying to myself if my “almost relationship” wasn’t still at the back of my mind — but I’d be lying again if I told you I’ve been moping around because I feel more myself than ever before. I’ve been happier, I’ve been excited, I’ve been looking forward. A part of me believes that the situation had caught my attention moreso than the natural progression of the relationship, that it felt good to take a step back and gain perspective to see where my head and heart really lie instead of being caught up in the everyday comfort of his company.
I’ve always told myself, I respect myself enough to know what I deserve and to never settle for less. If timing is everything, I’ll trust it, but as the saying goes: “Pray as if it’s up to God. Work as if it’s up to you.”
Real things take real time and effort to happen. Chances can only be given so much (especially for my too-nice-for-my-own-good-heart). It’s only the start of my 24th year and the start of a new season and I’m more than ready to make things happen. Potential moves? New career directions?
As you can’t force anything to happen that is out of your control, control the things you can — your behavior, your attitude, your reactions to life — and accept things for what they are. That’s all you can do. And as for my heart? Well, my heart’s as open as it’s always been, but I’m not waiting on anyone or anything anymore. I feel at peace. I’ve better perspective and a better hold on myself. And I feel more myself than ever before. That’s a good feeling.
It’s all about coming to peace with yourself and recognizing your room for growth, but not letting that stop you in the process. Celebrate your liveliness. Find what gets you smiling. All we can do is love the life we’re living today and make the most of it.
Also, life’s just too damn short to get you down.
With love, honesty and looking up,