New Year, Same 2021 Energy

Pleasant Hill, CA. 1/12/2021.

It’s 2021 y’all. How are you doing?

Things don’t feel all too different and, to be honest, I’m not even sure how to start off this post. I haven’t been as consistent with my updates as much as I used to (oh those days of my monthly vlogs) and I feel I just don’t have much to update you on.

For a lot of us in 2020, we woke up. We learned to get real with ourselves and our time, how to take better care of ourselves and each other; we realized just how messed up our world is and how much needs to change; and we learned how to deal with a quarantine, lockdown, social distancing, constant career uncertainty, environmental crises to social, political and even personal unrest.

It’s been pretty crazy and I, for the most part, have been okay. I’ve been one of few to keep my job throughout which has helped me stay mentally sane and physically drained, but also the most financially independent I have ever been in my young adult life.

In a time of a pandemic, my mental and emotional sanity was definitely pushed. I dealt with friends losing jobs and looking to me for comfort, while I was dealing with my own struggles to be grateful to be employed yet incredibly conscious of making time for my writing, my music, myself and the outdoors, all while dealing with a changing work landscape, increased workload, opening and closing a shop independently day in and day out, to the eventual burnout and extra need or lack of a support system.

Mind, body and soul — it’s all interconnected.

I’ve learned a lot with and through running a small business and seeing the ins and outs. I’ve always been a fan of the little people — the independent shops and artists — and I’ve seen the direct impact the economy has on us, which is why I strongly support shopping small.

By supporting small, you’re supporting people like me — the shop and our workers — by directly giving funds to us so we can keep my friends and fellow coworkers gainfully employed, so people like me don’t have to work so much to save hours and cut costs to keep the shop alive.

On a more personal note, I’ve felt the most confident, secure, stable and self-aware I have ever been.

At 27, I feel like it’s very fitting. It took me a long time to get my pieces together to get to the point I’m at now. I’ve moved, packed my bags, covered countless premieres and artists and studio and photo shoot hangs, lived in different parts over the course of three years in one of the most diverse, fast-paced and two-faced cities.

I could say I moved to Los Angeles for the music, my writing, or all the shows and premieres to be “on the scene.” Yet if I’m being honest, it really was just a journey of growing up and getting real with myself. I left home and everything I knew and was comfortable with to put myself in a city I knew would push me and force me to grow up. I wanted to struggle; I romanticized the hustle; I immersed myself with different people and personalities; and I knew I could handle it all as long as my heart was in the right place.

The day I moved out, I made a pact to always remind myself why I came here and why I’m here; to never lose sight of myself and where I came from.

That little reminder and always being tethered to my little home in the East Bay kept me grounded, humbled, and confident in my power and my self, no matter how lost or alone I may have felt in a city where I was still trying to find myself.

Along the way, I’ve learned a lot and have come across so many souls who have given me their light, love, warmth, a friend or mentor in. I’ve learned to be gentler with myself and to get rid of negative self-talk. I’ve learned the power of mindset, attitude and abundance. I’ve always been incredibly ambitious and laser-focused on my own goals, dreams and personal pursuits, that I sometimes feel I may have missed out on a couple things along the way.

“I look back at that younger Rachel who was trying so hard just to make something of her life, and her self…. And it was fun. I wonder why I was so hard on myself. But, as all things, I wouldn’t be who I am today if it weren’t for her. And I have so much love for that girl who was so lost and hustling so hard, yet didn’t even know why or what for.”

It’s true that the older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve learned to just let go, let be, and get out of my own damn way.

I’ve realized that a lot of art is just about letting go — letting go of the holds in your expression, your overthinking. Just feel, write, breathe and be.

For an overthinking little dreamer like me whose ideas will never match up to the reality I see in front of me, I’ve learned to just get out of my head and just do. The less I’ve thought about things and preoccupied my time with just doing, the more I’ve been able to get done. I think a pandemic has allowed a lot of us to let go of our egos or ways we “think” we should be or should have things together, to humble ourselves and let go — let go of the power of our thoughts, our minds, or what we think people think of us.

Once we’ve gotten real with ourselves and got rid of the constant mind and media clutter, we’re left with ourselves. And we’ve learned to cut out all the nonsense to make room for what we really want and value in our lives.

“You practically have it made Rachel. The talent, the looks, the grades, the family and friends. Yet, when I’m around you, I feel something’s lacking. Like you feel lost, even though you have practically everything laid out right in front of your eyes.

You have a lot of personality in you, do you know that? I bet you’ve noticed the way people tend to gravitate towards you. … The feeling that something was missing when I was around you is because of how you’re always wishing.” — a friend, 2009.

I am someone who has grown so accustomed to being on her own. I grew up with a single mom and am the most independent, single gal you’ll ever meet. I learned at a young age how to self-soothe, self-support, and be my own best friend; but the older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve valued the relationships in my life.

For so long, I’ve taken care and held space for my friends, family and loved ones. And just as much as I’ve held space for them, I’ve been telling myself to not be afraid to take up space.

To speak my truth, my wants, my needs and desires.

To let myself be seen.

To be loved just as much as I love others.

And to not be afraid to lean in just a little more.

I’m ready to fall into a new experience like I would a lover.

When we realize life isn’t really isn’t about us — that our gifts are entirely selfless, and it’s the people around us and sharing what we love and know to make our lives that much more meaningful and impactful — that’s when things really start rolling. Life isn’t meant to be taken so seriously, and we should always make it a point to laugh at ourselves once in a while.

I operate at a very spiritual and emotional level, and am very sensitive to energy, that I always make a point to take care of it. My body is my home and I believe in a holistic approach towards mind, body, soul, for it’s all connected.

No matter my creative interests, drive, situation, living and relational environment, I’ve realized there are a lot of things that play a factor in operating from your best self; and I’ve realized I function better as a human and individual when my life is much more simple and slow-paced.

I’ve had to grapple with giving and taking the time to set down my roots. Nothing can be done or performed at best if I feel like every situation of mine is temporary. Writing that book, record, setting up a workstation to properly produce, or committing to learning a new skill or expanding my current skillset… It’s all a commitment. Just like setting down roots, any progress takes real commitment — especially from someone who seems to have been running away from herself into work, jobs, places, songs and new experiences throughout the past few years.

Before I get even more heavy-handed into my own personal self-analysis (ha), I’d like to just say that, for as fluctuating as I have been, I am at my core a creative whose heart and mind has been tethered to music and writing her whole life.

I’ve always thrived being on my feet, working events, shows and being in front-facing, people-centered workplaces. I’ve found the value in having something that can make me feel financially independent and free, and to not let it consume me but rather support and aid my life outside of it. Having that balance of a very social customer-facing job and a very introverted stay-at-home music and writing lifestyle is what’s worked best for me.

“You have so much talent and so much potential. And where does it all go?!”

My mantra for this year is execution (and not just because that word came up on one of those Facebook memes where the first word you see is your theme, lol, but also because I’ve needed it).

I’ve always been a dreamer, yet I feel I’ve always needed more grounding. All my ideas and wishes and dreams can live in my head, but I have a hard time executing and putting the real work and managing all that “talent and potential” into a real product, to share and consume.

I’ve had many projects in line for years: the songs I’ve been brewing since I was 15, the Rue the Band project I’ve started with my friend, the book I’ve been writing.

2021 looks like a big question mark to me, but I do have all these songs and projects and stories itching to get out of me. The more I’ve gone on, the more I just want to shut up and show up — get rid of my workaholic tendencies, make more meaningful investments, and just do the work.

But I also realize I have been doing the work all along. My life has been writing itself all these years, and whatever way that manifests itself, that’s a story in and of itself.

“I like to think my life is like a movie. I like to live it that way.”

At the end of the day, we’re all just trying to do and be our best. I’m grateful to have been able to ring in the new year quietly at home, with my family (and my mom’s milestone birthday and retirement) and close friends I miss and grew up with so much (#pageantpatricia and #bikingrachel). I tend to be very offline when I’m home, simply because I’m incredibly present. I like to turn off my mind. Eat. Wander. Be with family. Get lost in new games and worlds. These little things, and giving yourself the time to rest and take a break, are really what make life worth it.

I often look back at the moment I decided to pack my car and belongings at the age of 24 to set for a new life for myself, because that’s when I feel my life really began. I chased those wild dreams with every ounce of zest and zeal for life that it had to offer. I was young and naive, ambitious and hungry, writing my way through it all, willing to make mistakes and put myself through uncomfortable situations only to come out on the other end of it stronger, wiser, confident and more self-aware than ever.

I’ve experienced a lot in my young life because of it, and more than a lot of people can say at 27.

I like to believe that little dreamer girl is still inside of me. That hungry, curious wide-eyed dreamer ready to fall into the arms of a new experience like I would a lover.

2020 rocked me in many ways in that it forced me to pull up my big girl pants and be the most “adult” I have ever been — to myself and those around me.

This life is so short. And I like to think that I’m writing my own story each and every day.

So make it a good one.

We’re just getting started. 💫

Malibu, CA. 10/2/2020. (Photo: Timo Sumida | @tysuphotography)

With love and honesty,

Rachel

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