I have so much to catch up on. I stopped blogging after June because I started feeling really spent. My full time job was really starting to take its toll on me. I really just wanted to quit to spend my time learning what I could to combat my own ignorance about the history of Black lives in America and how to be a better advocate for myself and others. When I wasn’t doing that, I was praying and playing Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp to recharge and restore joy in myself. I couldn’t think about posting to the blog.

I’ve grown a bit and listened to so much music since then. I’ve got a few new music crushes to talk about, my playlist series highlighting some phenomenal songs by Black artists throughout history, some new playlist ideas that have popped up, and Bad Suns even released a brilliant new song!! I’m excited to get back into my flow, but I feel like I should start about where I’m at.

First of all, I just gave my two weeks notice for said job. I am feeling both profound peace about it but also anxiety around the process of finding a new job during the pandemic. Especially because I’m adamant about getting a job in the music or media industries this time. In the meantime, it’s my hope to spend more time here building an audience and platform for artists to talk about their music!

Second of all, the holiday season is coming and even though Covid is getting worse, I feel very thankful. Living with my family really has been the best case scenario. In this time, I’m looking forward to recharging emotionally and spiritually, eating better, exercising regularly, redoing my room and just cleaning up my life as we come into the new year.

One of the things that has helped me look forward these last few weeks has been the song playing in my head: Sports Car by Valley.

This nostalgic sounding song starts with a piano, a rhythm shaker, a steady guitar, and what sounds like drum machine doing its best impression of a cajón. It’s like the opening to an 80s coming of age movie where the neighborhood kids are sitting on a porch practicing while a girl is riding home on her bicycle.

“Emma packed her bags and all, she moved out slowly…”

The first verse is vividly descriptive, a detail about a girl seemingly bent on getting out of her small town. She’s moving into her car and wanting to find a new adventure while telling her friend who has a huge crush on her. They don’t want her to leave, but they get it.

And Emma, I get it girl. Ever since the pandemic started, my wanderlust and daydreams have been acting UP. Not a day goes by when I don’t dream of buying a one way ticket to Kyoto as soon as things open up again. Actually, I’ve been daydreaming about that before the pandemic.

By the time the chorus hits, it sounds like confident indie pop perfection for Emma’s coming of age movie.

“I’m not sad, I’m just built by design in a boxed up suburb in the cut of the light…”

Like Emma, I’ve felt stuck in all senses of the word for the majority of this year and part of it has come by design. I was feeling stuck before the pandemic but the feelings intensified. The pandemic forced me to look at my life because there was nothing else to look at. I know I’m not the only one who feels like that. I don’t know if that makes me feel better or worse.

“Where you can drive away in your sports car replica, or you can wait on another day to get yourself out in the rush. Say you’re gonna back, thinking you’ll never come back…”

In small, progressive ways, I’ve made changes to my situation to get ready to be “out in the rush.” Letting go of mentalities that no longer serve me, updating my wardrobe, redesigning my room, refocusing on my health, leaving my job — these things have kept me growing in the right direction. I can’t just go with the flow anymore; I need to get into the rush.

The haunting last words of the chorus hang cheekily to me. I mean, how many times do we lie to acquaintances that we’ll catch up with them soon?

It’s interesting how that sentiment connects to the end of the second verse to me.

“And I’ve learned to live without you. You read a note, just how I left it. I know you hold the world around it, but you really messed mine…”

The ending of the second verse for me relates to two endings I’ve initiated this year. I made the executive decisions to one, not be friends with the boy I dated last year and two, to quit my job. The more I think about it, it’s crazy how similar those two situations are. For one, I let both of those issues foster bitterness in my heart. So much that I saw myself becoming a version of myself that I didn’t like. Two, I was the only one torturing myself over the fact that I didn’t like how they both made me feel about myself. And I’m sure if you ask the other parties, they’d probably say something like “it was never my intention to make you feel bad about yourself!” (Okay….but damage was still done and for the sake of my health, I gotta go.) It’s like those two situations threw a bone at my inner demons telling them it was ok to question my worth. I know I learned a lot from both experiences and I’m thankful for it but I’ve learned what’s best for me too. And after some major prayer, heart work, and logistical planning, I learned to live without them. They might have messed up my world for a bit but that chapter is closing, and I think I won’t come back to both.

“A shadow’s often over me. Somehow I still know that you’re loving me. They’re telling me that time is money, could you turn it back?”

Growing pains are tough, but the one consistent thing in my life through the mess of this year has been reminding myself that God’s got me. For me, living from the idea that I am truly loved by someone who’s watching out for me in ways I can’t see has been transformative. It empowers me to take risks and try things out as I learn what’s best for me. Yeah, I still struggle when authority figures in my life try to preach the gospel of “time is money” because I know that’s a lie but I still don’t want to let anyone down. That all makes me wish I could be a kid again. Sadly, getting into my sports car replica for a drive to the grocery store is the closest thing to escapism these days.

“Emma packed her bags and oh, she moved out.”

The song ends abruptly with an echo from the first line of the song. Instead of moving out slowly, Emma left and took the song with her it sounds. Transitions can feel like forever but sometimes the decision to change things is sudden. The biggest thing I’ve realized through this pandemic is how precious and short life is. Knowing that I could die at any moment, what is keeping me from pursuing the things that truly make me come alive? I’m aware that I’m speaking from a very privileged place when I pose that question. It makes me sad that the world is such a way that not everyone can just drop their job and pursue their passion unfortunately. To have that choice is a great privilege that I don’t take lightly.

Choosing to give myself space to press restart by exploring my passions is profound freedom and a better solution to my problems than distracting myself numb or running away as much as I can. In a way, I feel like the last two or so years showed me how not to live my life as a young twenty-something. It excites me to know how my everyday life will change in this next chapter. It feels fuzzy for now but I’ve got a light guiding me,

Anyway, thanks for reading my life ramblings. This song really sparked something deep in my soul, so Valley if y’all see this, keep putting out the good stuff. As for you, reader, you deserve to check out this wonderful song and take some deep breaths. We’re gonna make it out of the places we feel stuck, kids. I know there’s a lot of work to do, but we can’t give from an empty place. Go find some joy and take care of yourselves. Talk soon 💕✌️

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