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.
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”.
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.