Traffic was nasty and I was sitting in the car listening to NPR going nuts because the politics and the hurt in our world are just too much to listen to right now. So, I picked up the phone (I was at a stop light, promise) and after a minute of my phone trying to recognize my face (when it doesn’t I’m always slightly offended), I called one of my favorite people, Juliette.
When her familiar voice picked up my whole body relaxed. I miss Jules. She lives all the way over in Nashville and ugh that’s far. I caught her up on everything going on over here and then I asked her how she was. And let me just preface this by saying we have had a lot of calls this year that weren’t very happy. Juliette picked herself up from her hometown and moved herself to a brand new city where she knew no one just after parting with her boyfriend of five years and working in an industry that is not easy to break into. Woof. Most of our conversations have been tough this year, talking about loneliness, lack of success, struggles with social media and the music industry.
When she first moved and swore she wasn’t going to be able to survive there I told her, “you can go home anytime. You don’t have to do this to yourself. None of us would be disappointed in you. We are already so proud of you. But please, before you run home I just want you to ask yourself if you would be happy going back. I just want to make sure you are happy and you wouldn’t look back and wonder, what if? Because you’re walking through this whole new life and that’s really hard. But you are so much stronger than you think you are.” And then I also booked a flight. By the time we went to visit her she was still unsure about the whole Nashville thing and if it was going to work, but she was determined to stick it out for at least a year regardless (a massive step).
Cut back to our phone conversation this week. I had gotten out of the car at this point and was wandering through Trader Joe’s trying to figure out what to make for dinner when what she said stopped me in my tracks right next to all of the curiously shaped gourds. “Well, I am actually really, really good. I am feeling happy. And I have to say I went back to my planner to look at the goals I wrote down for this year and I’ve accomplished every one of them, I mean, except getting a tattoo.” I almost started to cry. This shy, nervous, insanely talented woman left for a new life seven months ago. She pushed through the scary, the new, the different, the difficult and off-putting, the sad, the disappointing. She pushed through all of it and accomplished everything she set out to do this year and also found her own corner of joy. “So, I guess this whole writing stuff down thing does work,” she continued with a giggle I’ve come to know so well.
My heart wanted to wrap its little gooey arms around her. She is so brave. I am so proud. She set out goals both tiny and massive and she actually made them all happen. She is living proof that you can do hard things even when they seem like the equivalent of climbing Everest. That you can think a breakup is the end of everything good and find even greater and freer joy on the other side. That you can break into (even if very slowly and a bit at a time) an industry of jaded people and harsh critics and be successful. She decided to make it work so the universe made it happen alongside her. She worked every day even through tears to make it happen. And the universe heard her calls. They helped her start to find a community and led her to where she needed to be.
And now, a note directly for my girl and for anyone that needs it today:
I am so insanely proud of you. You inspire me every day to fight for what I love and for what brings me joy in my heart. You are an angel and a godsend and I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have you to hold my hand through the hard times and to show me what one can accomplish when one pushes through the muck and the mire and doesn’t take no for an answer. You are a light and a love and proof that you don’t need to be jaded and guard your heart to succeed. You succeed by sharing you and your story with the world and believing that every day is a new day and a gift and that every experience is something you can use to help your future self or someone else. I love you and I miss you and I’m a little bit weepy about that in our living room over my morning coffee.
You don’t have to believe every day that it’s all good and it’s all going to work out you just have to believe that there will be days of joy and love and laughter ahead and then you have to listen to the tiny little voice in your heart that points you in the right direction (sometimes I secretly hope it sounds like me). And then pick up your phone and call a friend and ask for love when you need some.
Happy weekend friends. Sending big love, hugs and believing in you, just like I believe in Juliette (from my blue and very comfy sofa) xoxo