The last couple blogs probably give you a pretty good feel for how the night played out. The band and their friends were very gracious to let me join in on a great time. Towards the end of the night when I knew I had to leave, I was so sad. Good nights like that are enchanting. Those moments where things work out better than you could’ve imagined. Like Cinderella at midnight and knowing the fairy tale isn’t going to chase you down in the morning. I didn’t want the magic to disappear. This might be the mentality that has earned me the rep “the girl who never can let a good time die.” Hell, why would I want to? You have read about how awesome the guys in Dreamers are, right? Would you want to leave voluntarily?
Nelson signing my set list. Seriously, this could be the Teen Beat cover. For those of you unfamiliar with Teen Beat, young girls would tear out the pages and tape them on their walls. I have no idea what they do nowadays with the digital versions. Do they even still have Teen Beat? It doesn’t matter, this is Teen Beat material all day long.
At 3:00 a.m., I took Uber back to my hotel, crashed across the bed, and slept hard for four hours. I woke up with a large bruise coloring my left arm and every nail broken on my left hand. Now, that’s a party, right? I scrolled through all the moments frozen on my phone to recapture every amazing memory. (See, I do have a reason for the million pictures.) I flicked through the pages with a smile, a little laughing, and then some major cringing.
The morning after is a funny thing. Maybe it’s the sun’s brightness, the dizzying headache, or that video where you look like you scared the hell out of Nelson (bassist) by shoving your phone in his face. (He looks so lovely, why must I scare him?) Whatever the cause, a smoldering insecurity starts to taint how you remember only a few hours before. I’ve written before about how insecurity sometimes seeps into my thought process and can distort beautiful things into something ugly. I begin to over-analyze, process to minutia, and self-critique to an unbearable degree. Usually it’s around something I’ve created — blogs, novels, baking, etc. I tell myself it’s for the good in personal growth. Assess the opportunity areas to make the next version stronger and more polished. It’s being self-aware, isn’t it?
Dissecting each moment I could remember under the “did I embarrass myself” microscope, I packed my suitcase and started the drive home. Five hours of beating myself up for not drinking less, being more reserved, quieter, maybe even more polite. Pretty much nothing like me. (Except for the polite part. I like to be polite.) What if I came off like a total crazy person? What if Dreamers will never come back to Oregon? Or if they do, would they walk quickly the other way if they saw me at show? Maybe even pick up the pace to a serious run? All irrational thoughts, a normal person would say. I’m one fan, in one town, on one stop, on one tour. A blurred face in a line of people before and after. Let’s bring it back to reality, shall we?
Could I look more excited? This picture kinda shows that I do look pretty crazy. Thank God he’s not looking.
When I get home I’m fighting through post-concert depression. (The usual feelz for about a week after good concert juju. You know, the haze where you play the band on repeat, gush about them to every listening ear in a three mile radius, and wish you could do it all again.) I can already tell this one will take longer. Their sincerity, niceness, and funny charm is like crack. Now I want to submerge myself in everything Dreamers, which only makes the criticism louder. Since birth it’s constantly pounded in your head — you only get one chance to make a first impression. What if I fucked up my one chance?
Bestie regularly asks me in situations like these, “Why do you care what a stranger thinks?” My answer comes with the same shrug, “I don’t know. Because I fucking do.” This time I did have an answer. You know why? It didn’t feel like strangers. They were nice. Real. Honest. Friendly. No plastic smiles. No pleasantries while looking over your shoulder for something better. They were in the moment, talking, listening, enjoying. These are rare things with when meeting people. They’re the people you usually wish you could know longer than one night. (The juju is strong with this band…you’ve been warned. If you don’t believe me, ask Courtney on Twitter.)
In trying to breathe sanity into my head again, I upload some of the best photos for friends because they understand me. They know me. Even if I was stupid, or embarrassed myself, they’ll still love me, right? (Well, as much as Facebook friends do.) A message pops up within minutes from an old high school friend. “Are you in their van?” I explain they gave me a ride to karaoke and highlight the detail about falling out of it. He writes, “This only happens to you.” His statement hits me like a life-preserver. What the fuck was I thinking? I just had the best night ever and I hated myself for not doing it better?
I remind myself I did what most people wouldn’t have imagined doing. There were lots of times I could’ve chickened out or told myself I wasn’t interesting enough to hang out with Dreamers. But I really wanted to because they were fun as hell. So I did. Every day I tell people they can be anything. Do anything they want. I share my desire to be an author and the extremely difficult road toward traditional publishing. I remind them not to put one dream on hold while following another. I’m building a bakery biz and doing a weekly radio show because I wanted to bring decent music to my little town. All this while working my “real job” to support my expensive concert habit. Is it hard? Yep. Uncomfortable to sacrifice other things I love? Shit yeah. Worth every minute to leave no fantasy left behind? Not a doubt in my mind.
That’s the thing. If I were better about keeping insecurity at bay, when I wake up from nights like this, I would say “Hell yeah, last night was fun. Wouldn’t change a thing.” I may even follow it up with, “and if they didn’t like me, that’s their problem.” Okay now, who are we kidding, I never say this. Certainly not to this band. Have you been paying attention at all about how much I <heart> them?
The funniest part is Dreamers never made me feel like this. As I’ve gushed about how awesome they were in these past blogs, they were welcoming, friendly, and still continue to answer tweets with lightening speed. As part of my Dreamers research, I visited their site and read their manifesto. Do I think it’s just happenstance they write “we believe nothing is impossible” when I’m questioning if I brought anything interesting to the night? I know there are no coincidences, only twists in a story line.
So, are you drowning or swimming? It doesn’t have to be about a night out with a band. It could be anything you want. Whatever makes you happy. Are you telling yourself you’re worth it? Or beating yourself down with you are never good enough? I watch people do it every day. The insecurity pulls them to the bottom without even the slightest fight. They live the same life everyday and hate everyone for it.
I don’t want to be one of those people. I want to be the one who lets herself have a killer time, experience everything, and believe I can keep up with even the most interesting people. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not easy. It’s a crazy fight to push through doubt. I battle with it all the time. In one night, Dreamers reminded me again if I want to try new things, live to the fullest, and do the impossible, I’m going to have to dive in completely. No matter what the risk the next morning.
This is just because I wanted to put another picture in of us together.
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