I Saw Andy Grammer on his ‘The Good Parts’ Tour Last Night, And I Was Completely Moved & Inspired

I haven’t written a blog post in a while, because I’ve been exhausted with school, I’ve been overwhelmed with my insecurities, and I haven’t been sure what to write about. I’ve been struggling to keep my head up and look past my insecurities about my body, my weight, the sound of voice, my writing….about every little thing. I’ve been picking myself apart, hating my body for looking the way it does. I’ve been wanting desperately to drop some weight, and then when it doesn’t happen, feeling so angry at myself that I spiral and end up eating the foods that I know aren’t good for my body. I’ve been stressing out over every little decision I’ve had to make. I’ve had times where I wished I was invisible, or at least that I could take up less physical space; and then there have been plenty of other times where I wished I could just stop obsessing over everything I find negative about myself. I’ve wished that I could just love myself and move on.

But last night, my insecurities were overpowered by joy. Because last night, I was second-row to the best concert I have ever attended.

I love concerts, which is a pretty well-known fact if you know me. Hearing music performed live by the artists who sing your favorite songs is a unique and special experience. You can literally feel the passion in their voices, and you can feel the mutual admiration shared by the musicians and the crowd. Last night, I saw Andy Grammer – one of my favorite artists – live. Last night, like every other time I’ve listened to Andy’s music, I felt empowered, inspired, motivated, and important. I felt an unbelievable amount of happiness and gratitude to God, my family, and Andy. I was so happy that I actually started to cry at the end of his performance of ‘Grown Ass Man Child’. It’s weird that that’s the song I cried afterwards, and not ‘Workin On It’, or ’85’, or even ‘Keep Your Head Up’. But alas, ‘Grown Ass Man Child’ brought me to tears.

Late yesterday afternoon, I — along with a large group of fellow VIP fans — was able to hear Andy perform 2 acoustic songs and participate in a brief Question & Answer session. Around me, there were some really great people asking Andy questions, requesting shout outs, even announcing the gender of their baby. After Andy interacted with a few other fans, I gathered up the courage to ask a question. I raised my hand, Andy looked my way, and I started asking a question…at the same time, though, a young woman behind me started asking a question, too. AWKWARD! My social anxiety kicked in pretty quickly once that happened, nervous that I was making a fool of myself, that people were judging me, that I would try to speak but the words I would attempt wouldn’t come out the way they should….. I was so flustered.

Andy answered the young woman’s question from behind me, and then it was my turn…. I wasn’t going to be awkward, I told myself DON’T BE AWKWARD, and yet…I was awkward. Others around me had recorded Andy shouting out their names, and I wasn’t going to miss my opportunity in case I never have the opportunity to see Andy again, so I went for it…

“Hi Andy, Okay I have 2 parts. First, can you say, ‘Hi Brianna, I love you?’ Ummm” and without missing a beat, Andy replied, “Hi Brianna! I love you!” Side note – Andy is a normal person, who happens to be an incredibly talented songwriter and singer, and yet speaking to him in that moment, I got so nervous. I was flustered. My voice got shaky. He’s this great guy, and I’m just…me, an insecure, twenty-one year old who loves his music because of the ways it inspires me to be more positive about myself, my life, and my abilities.

Still shook this happened. So blessed. So grateful. #thegoodpartstour #andygrammer

A post shared by Brianna (@briannamaria95) on

After he said ‘Hi Brianna, I love you’, I asked him how his songwriting has changed since he’s become a father. From what I’ve seen on social media, Andy is a great father. His bond with his beautiful daughter Louisiana is a bond that I share with my dad. The love the two have for each other is unbreakable. As he sings in his song ‘Always’, there will always be an unbreakable bond between him and his daughter, like there will always be an unbreakable bond between my dad and I.

Flash forward two hours, and Andy’s opening act, James TW, comes on stage. He, like Andy, performed very touching and inspiring music. The songs he performed had meaning and purpose, addressing love, mistakes, and breakups. I had never heard of James or his music before last night, but now I am definitely a fan.

Then, around 9 pm, the real treat begins. The lights go out, the music starts playing, and love and joy start radiating through the concert venue. The first song is the PERFECT song to describe how I felt, and how I’m sure the rest of the crowd felt. It’s good to be alive right about now.

Every song was performed so well. Every interaction with the crowd resulted in tons of WOOOO’s. Everyone was happy. Everyone.

As the night went on, my admiration for Andy and his songs doubled…tripled even, which I didn’t think was possible. There was just no room to hate yourself in that room. As the band prepared to sing (and dance) to Andy’s song ‘Freeze’, Andy’s pianist Doug walked to the front of the stage (along with the rest of the band, besides Eman who stood on the drums), and he pointed to the front-left section of the crowd (where I was standing). He smiled and said, “This whole section is beautiful!!” This was just one of the many, many moments when positivity, kindness, and love was shared between the crowd and the talented musicians on stage. This isn’t something I would experience at another concert, or even in my daily life. I just really love Andy and his band. A lot.

Later in the set, as he prepared to sing ‘Workin On It’, Andy addressed our inner monsters and said to the crowd, “You’ve got something that is giving you trouble right now, and what I want you to do is for the next four minutes, let yourself off the hook for it. Just for four minutes, just be like, ‘Man, we are all human, we’re all trying; this life is really hard. And if you want, as soon as this song is done, you can go back to hating yourself, that’s fine with me, but for four minutes, just allow yourself to feel like, you know what? I’m workin on it. This song is called ‘Workin On It’, here we go”.

IMG_5457.jpg

Ironically (or maybe not so ironically, because God works in mysterious ways), right before he said this, I was talking to myself and saying, “Man, I really need to lose weight. If I lost weight and felt better about myself and my body, I would be even happier right now than I already am. I need to do better.” But for the following four minutes, I sang my heart out (terribly, I might add) along with Andy and the talented people on stage with him (Tia Simone, Loren Smith, Zach Rudulph, Doug Wayne, Greg Karas, and Emmanuel Cervantes). And I sang my heart out the rest of the night, too. Okay, I was also singing my heart out before they performed ‘Workin On It’, but I was doing so with my insecurities weighing down on me.

By the end of the night, although my back was killing me for standing up for so many hours, I was so moved that I was determined tomorrow (today) would be another great day. That I would treat myself better. That I would try to not beat myself up for every little thing. I’m going to keep working on myself, I’m going to keep my head up, and I’m really looking forward to seeing Andy again sometime soon. Maybe I’ll meet him and be less flustered if/when that happens. No matter what the future holds, I’m grateful for last night.

Advertisements

I’m Not Making Any New Years Resolutions in 2018, and You Shouldn’t Either

Welp…I broke a recent promise already. I said I would blog everyday for my 30 day self-improvement challenge, and I skipped over multiple days. It’s day 12 already. But, as you can tell, I didn’t blog for a few recent days. I didn’t do this intentionally…I just was either too busy to write with all the holiday celebrations, or I wasn’t sure what to write, or I had no motivation to do absolutely anything – including writing! And that’s just one of the multiple reasons I’ve decided not to make any new years resolutions this year.

Every year, we are encouraged to set goals for the new year. And then when we break the resolutions, we put ourselves down. We feel guilty. We give up completely, until a few months from the minute we give up. Then, we try, and end up giving up again. It’s a vicious cycle.

Don’t make a new years resolution in 2018. Instead, just set resolutions….open ended ones.

Don’t say you want to lose 60 pounds this year. Just set a goal to lose weight, ideally 60 pounds if that’s the case for you. Don’t set a time constraint.

Do you want to read more books this year? Set a goal to read more books. Period. If that’s your goal this year, chances are, that’ll be your goal next year, too. And the year after that, and so on.

I have many dreams and goals. But this year, I refuse to set myself up for failure. I will make mistakes. I will fall short of achieving some goals, but not all of them. I can and I will achieve greatness in 2018, and 2019, and 2020, and for all the years that I am alive. And you can and you will, too.

With that being said, have a happy and healthy new year!!!

I hope to take long, deep breaths more frequently

Every second of everyday, we all breathe. If you’re like me, you tend to take your breathing habits for granted. I breathe without thinking about it, without focusing on what my body is doing. I’m to preoccupied with my emotions, words, and/or actions at any given second to pay attention to my breathing. And that’s an issue.

Everyday, every hour, we should all find the time to take a long, deep breath. Breathe in…breathe out. And repeat.

Breathing can temporarily reduce your stress and anxieties. Taking deep breaths can be incredibly relaxing, And honestly, there’s no harm in taking a deep breath every once and a while! So why not try to build up the frequency of our deep breaths?

Today, I took a long deep breath before I started writing this post. I wish, however, that I would have practiced this a few times earlier throughout the day. That’s one of my goals for the future – to be more mindful and present and take the time to breathe long, deep breaths.

P.S. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! 

c2b571e64e68b8d6c52a7b72a33e5b7a

Walking around the house eating food counts as exercise, right?

Merry Christmas Eve!! Today’s challenge is to exercise…and while that is a challenge that I want to accept, I’m lazy and already all showered for tonight’s party at my Aunt Valarie and Uncle John’s house. So, I think walking around the house and trying on different outfits counts as exercise, right?

And doing laps around the house while eating sausage bread will count as exercise too, right? Boy, I’ll be doing a lot of exercise tonight then! 😉

Enjoy your Christmas Eve and I’ll speak with you tomorrow (Christmas day wooooo!!!)

c2b571e64e68b8d6c52a7b72a33e5b7a

Learn Something New

It’s December 23, 2017, which means it’s day 3 of the 30 day self-improvement challenge. (Side-note, I almost wrote 2016 instead of 2017, and then realized that 2017 is almost over!! 2018 is only days away, where has the time gone!?).

Today’s challenge is to learn something new. Admittedly, I forgot about this challenge until now. Well, I knew it had to be done and that I wanted to start this 30-day challenge strong, but I kept procrastinating to write this…or really, to learn something new. When in reality, everyday we all learn new things without realizing it.

We learn to react to whatever comes our way. We learn to face new challenges, starting off either head on or trying to avoid the challenges, and then facing them. We learn how to adapt to the environment we’re in, how to interact with the people around us, how to face our current fears or create new dreams. We learn so much everyday, even though those things may seem extremely small.

Today, I learned (or rather, came to the conclusion) that I need to quit limiting my potential. Instead of telling myself that things are completely impossible, are too far-fetched, or are not likely to happen, I need to remain positive and acknowledge that in life, ANYTHING is possible.

I’m not saying that this lesson means all of my wildest dreams will become my reality, but some might!! Well, they may do so as long as I keep dreaming, keep chasing my dreams, and remain positive.

How did I learn this, you might be wondering? In my dreams (both last night and the night before), I dreamt that I shared a connection with two of my idols. And these particular idols have millions of followers worldwide, meaning millions of people who love them. I woke up both mornings thinking 1) wow why isn’t that reality 2) I wish that really would happen!!!! 3) too bad it’ll never happen

I truly believe that the thoughts and the emotions we put out to the universe affects what happens in our lives. For instance, when we think or say “Tomorrow will be a bad day”, the universe makes sure that tomorrow is, in fact, a terrible day. Granted, the universe works in mysterious ways. I could say to the universe, “Tomorrow, I want to be 60 pounds lighter and have strong confidence in myself!” Sadly, that’s not realistic and won’t happen. What we put out to the universe has to be realistic, logical, and something we work for. The universe can help put things on our life paths, sure, but as individuals we, too, need to make sure to put things on our life paths. It’s not easy; not easy at all.  But it is possible.

c2b571e64e68b8d6c52a7b72a33e5b7a

Starting a journal…does blogging count?

Today is day 2 of my 30 day self improvement challenge, and the task for today is to start a journal. I’d argue that getting back to blogging counts as my journal. Some may disagree, but I vent about my feelings and emotions here when I went to get them out. Well, on here or on my Twitter (mostly my Twitter).

So, for day 2, here’s a mini- journal entry:

Today was a great day. This morning, I woke up early. Why? I don’t know…but I did. Then I watched some episodes of Fuller House and cuddled up with my dogs, Isabella and Molly. AKA was in my happy place, because God knows how much I love my dogs, television, and my couch. Then, my Poppy came over and we hung out for a little bit – mostly talking about and laughing at the dogs.

Afterwards, I had lunch and caught up with my best friend, Bree. We talked about our lives, about high school memories, and about television shows. I’m always happy when I’m with her.

Later, Mom, Emily, and I went out and really bonded. We teased each other and laughed about stupid stuff.

Nothing too eventful happened today, but it was a great day. My family and friends are  safe and healthy, and my life is full of great blessing. That’s what matters most. Here’s to hoping more days are like today!

c2b571e64e68b8d6c52a7b72a33e5b7a

Sharing Something I’m Proud Of Today

Today is Day 1 of my “30 Days of Self Improvement” Challenge. As I said in my last post, I plan on following this challenge, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I skipped a day or two here and there because of the person I am. There are a bunch of different mental health, self esteem, body positivity, health, and self improvement challenges, and I’m hoping to participate in a bunch of them! You’ve got to start somewhere, right?

The challenge for Day 1 is to share something you are proud of today. I’m proud that I didn’t pick myself apart today. It’s no secret that I’m an insecure person; facing and overcoming my insecurities is an ongoing battle. Typically, when I look in the mirror, I point out things I’m not very happy about. I’ll make faces at myself, sometimes of disgust. I’ll pinch parts of my body that I wish didn’t look that way. I’ll tell myself that I need to make some changes…or else. But today, I didn’t do that.

When I got dressed and didn’t like the way a shirt looked, I tried on another one. And that was that. I didn’t overcomplicate the situation.

I have the power, through my thoughts, words, and actions, to make changes about how I feel about myself. I want to be proud of who I am. I want to work towards loving and embracing the body I have, and the person I am. And I will do that. It will take time, but it will happen. And I hope the same can be said for you if you’re in a similar situation!

I want to lose weight (when don’t I) to be in a better health situation and to feel better about the way I look in clothes. But despite my recent weight gain, I’m not completely miserable. The old Brianna, on the other hand, would be. Progress is progress, I guess. And I’m proud of that.

What are you proud of today??  

c2b571e64e68b8d6c52a7b72a33e5b7a

P. S. Have you ever done any challenges like this???? If so, which ones? Let me know in the comments, and let me know how you felt about them!

I’m back…

It’s been a while since I last posted, but I’m back and determined to really try blogging again. As an undergraduate junior with a part time internship (anything less than full time counts as part time, right?? Even if it’s very few hours during the week), the past few months have been filled with stress. So much to do, so little motivation to be productive.

But I’m back. I want to get back to writing weekly, or even better – a few times each week (a girl can dream). I probably should start slow, but my great friend Sophia participated in a challenge a few months ago called the “30 Days of Self Improvement” Challenge. Tomorrow, I’m going to start that challenge, and for 30 days (give or take a few days – I might skip a few but I hope not!) I will be posting a blog once a day, sharing it to my social media channels. AND – I’ll be posting additional blogs, aside from this 30 day challenge.

Thank you for being a loyal reader and for sticking with me during this quiet period. I look forward to finding my voice as a writer once again, to interacting with my readers, and to (hopefully) gaining the confidence I’ve always dreamt of having. I look forward to working for my happy. And I hope that along the way, you work for your happy, too!

It’s Christmas In October Thanks to Citibank!!

Yesterday was Christmas Eve, and today was Christmas. Okay, not literally…well, kind of. Today is definitely one for the books, because thanks to Citibank (emphasis on Taylor and Pedro, Citibank’s Social Team), I received not one, but two, incredible gifts: Niall Horan and Harry Styles’ autographs on posters from their Today Show concerts!!!!

On May 29, 2017, my amazing friend and college roommate Jessica took me to see Niall Horan live at his #NiallTODAY concert, sponsored by Citibank. Not only did we score VIP tickets (shoutout to 95.5 PLJ for that!), but I also scored a “selfie” with Niall and a video (from The Today Show’s Instagram story!) of Niall singing Slow Hands with my face up on the screen next to him!!! #StillShookFromThat

Well yesterday, October 4th, while in my Sociology course at school, Citibank tweeted me asking if I could talk to them. I said yes right away, and to my surprise, one of the amazing Community Managers at Citibank saw my blog and social posts about the show and revealed she had a signed poster that he signed the day of the show. And she wanted to give me that poster…..I was in the middle of a lecture about the Sociology of Culture and Ethics in Corporations….I couldn’t start freaking out physically, but emotionally I was in disbelief. I was on cloud nine.

I told a few of my best friends and a few family members about what happened, and kept rereading my exchange with Taylor in disbelief that this was real life. Today, October 5th, I went to work all calm, cool, and collected (not really, I was actually really tired but also really grateful for all the blessings and opportunities I have). I came home from work, ate some food, hung out with my dogs and watched some television. Eventually I went outside to get the mail, and when I saw a poster package tube on my doorstep, I started FREAKING out.

You know how a poster package tube has two ends? Well one of the ends was open, so I could see the orange of the poster and the pink post-it note signed by Taylor. My hands were full, so I couldn’t look at the poster just yet. I came in the house, threw the mail on the kitchen table, and walked into my mom’s office to look at the poster. It was weird, though….because there were two posters?????

I opened the poster from Niall’s show and started FREEAAAAKKKINNNGGGG out all over again to my mom, mesmerized by the way Niall wrote “Much Love,” and signed his name.

IMG_2518-5.JPG

I took the time to read a post-it note that Taylor and Pedro wrote. And then, I moved onto the next poster.

Before I get ahead of myself, I was so confused about there being two posters. I said to my mom, “Maybe it’s like a promotional poster for the Today show and Citibank concerts or something,” not really thinking much of the second poster. I was NOT expecting the poster to be what it is…..

….it’s a poster from Harry’s #HarryTODAY concert….with Harry’s signature………………

Say it with me…….FREEAAAAAAKKKIIINNNNGGGGG OUTTTTT.

I lost it. I started to cry. Then I felt bad for not crying when I opened Niall’s, but I was prepared to see his autograph. I was not prepared to see Harry’s. (Side note- I was in my comfy and ugly pajama pants. Don’t judge me!)

img_2523-1.jpg
IMG_2522-1

My mom laughed at how dramatic I was being. I was seriously sobbing, as in crying uglier than Kim Kardashian’s ugly cry. My friends and family who are connected with me on Snapchat all witnessed my ugly sobs. Some actually asked me if I was just involved in a fight or something! Nope, no fights….just little old me, one of Harry and Niall’s HUGEST FANS, with posters from their Today show concerts.

IMG_2519-5.JPG

I cannot thank Citibank enough for this. I’m speechless. I already cried my eyes out. I’m so grateful for this, I cannot believe how lucky I am. Taylor and Citibank, you truly just made my year. Thank you soooooooooooooo much. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Quit holding yourself back

“Quit holding yourself back” is a phrase I continuously have to say to myself. Quit worrying, quit judging yourself, quit critiquing every little part of your existence. Stop thinking about the embarassing thing you did three years ago, just go to sleep. Stop worrying about what strangers, family, and friends think about you. Just live.

Of course we all know this is easier said than done, this is an ongoing and life-long battle, but being less negative, less worrisome, less hesitant makes life so much easier.

Early in the semester, a friend of mine – Maddy – gave me advice. She told me that I needed to stop worrying about events and situations because worrying makes you suffer twice. Maybe the situation we worry about will cause anxiety or be frightening…or maybe, the situation will be rewarding and enjoyable. We’ll never really know until we experience it.

Now I’m not saying you need to kick yourself in the ass whenever you find yourself worrying about things. I’m not saying it’s bad to worry about things, or that I’ll stop being an extremely worrisome person. I know that I am a huge worrier. All I’m saying is that I need to take deep breaths, try to relax, and reassure myself that things will be okay. Even if they might not be.