Category Archives: Music

Lesson #365: The final lesson.

7/20/15.

The day I started this blog, I was on my closet floor crying because it felt like my life had become a continuous bad day.

Now I’m sitting here on a mocha-colored couch outside of a coffee shop all the way across the country in California, typing my last lesson, and still crying.

It’s good to know some things don’t change.

When I woke up today, all I could think was:

“Mia. It’s been 365 days.”

I couldn’t grasp the number. Trying to process it was like standing on the edge of a cliff, looking out at the vastness, and becoming overwhelmed with fear.

Except I had already done it.

Four seasons, twelve months, 365 days.

I can’t begin to explain the amount of joy, the depth of gratitude, the undeniable sadness, and the expanse of excitement I am feeling right now.

It’s been 365 days, and my life has changed in ways I never thought it would, or could. I have experienced so many things and seen so much in just a single year, and I’ve gotten to express every part of it.

A few months ago, someone told me something. I never wrote it into a lesson because something seemingly more prominent stole the day, but I remember scrambling to write it down, and hoping and praying that the right time would come along again to share it with you all. And I think today is that day.

It literally felt like everything I knew was falling apart in that moment and in the moments that followed—and I’m sure you’ve all experienced the feeling. I walked to work sobbing, and although I cleared my eyes in time before checking in with my boss, she knew something was wrong. After confiding in her, she told me something I’ll never forget.

“The reality of it now is not the reality of it forever—I promise.”

And after this year, and this blog, nothing in my life has ever rang more true.

It just so happens that I started this blog during a dark time in my life, and now it’s ending during the best.

In the nowhere-near-linear process of this turn around, I’ve learned so, so much. Perfection isn’t real. Money can’t buy you happiness. It takes time and guts to heal. Run with full abandon towards what you love, and cut loose what you don’t. Culture and beauty is everywhere. You are seen. People are shitty. People are fantastic. Life is great—or at least it can be if you make it.

From New York to Maryland to North Carolina to Florida. From my beloved hometown of Virginia Beach, VA, to my second life at school in the mountains of Harrisonburg, VA, to landing my dream internship in Los Angeles, California.

It’s been 365 days since I pressed the little blue button to create this account, and hit “publish” on a lesson for the very first time. If I’m being honest—I cannot begin to tell you how utterly happy and relieved I am that I don’t have to come home exhausted at the end of every night and write a lesson. But I also can’t begin tell you how truly sad I am to let this piece of my life go. It’s not every day you get to say you documented each day of your life for an entire year, until you do. And now that it’s over, I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do without my little escape, my outlet, and my canvas for words.

There are truly no words for how bittersweet this is. And if there is a step beyond having no words, then I really have none for how extremely grateful I am.

First, I am always completely and entirely thankful for my God. I know that none of the events in my life go without reason, and that my main man has been by my side through it all. Many times throughout this year my head was more focused on my feet than the sky. I loathed how distracted, busy, and cloudy minded I could be—but He never once left me. I am grateful for the good. I am grateful for the bad. And I am continually and eternally grateful for the grace of God. Even though this (literal) chapter of my life is ending, I am excited to see where He will guide me next.

To my wonderful parents, my special friends, and some really great family members—thank you. Not just for giving me great moments to learn from, but for always pushing me and encouraging me. Nights got HARD. Some days I had so much to do that I wouldn’t be able to start my lesson until 1am. My three options were usually to 1) suck it up and write, 2) cry and write, or 3) go to sleep, wake up the next morning, and then cry and write because now I was behind on a post when I “promised” I never would be. But your constant love and support has been something that’s carried me through, and it doesn’t go unnoticed. All it took was one little comment on the blog or on Facebook or walking across campus to make me look forward to writing the next one. It’s the simple things. You each had a hand in inspiring all these people as well. And I thank you. You know who you are.

To the not so great people—I want to thank you too. After this year, I have a better idea of the kind of people I do and don’t want in my life. I’ve learned that people can teach who you don’t want to be and what you don’t want to be like, and those lessons are just as important. You all have been blessings in my life as well.

To the guest lessonists—thank you for being apart of something so special. Thank you for telling your story.

And of course—the readers. You are all so special to me. Thank you for lending a listening ear. I hope you have all learned and grown in some way. If you remember just one thing from these 365 days—then I’ve done my job.

I thank this blog for allowing me the space to not be perfect. I thank this blog for teaching me about self control and dedication—but for also teaching me about the fact that shit happens. Living comes before anything else, and you have to momentarily leave all guilt and thoughts if you’re going to do it fully. I thank this blog for teaching me how to be scared, but doing it (or writing it) anyway. I thank this blog for teaching me to live with thicker skin, but to be open, honest, and vulnerable.

Most of all, I want to thank this blog for challenging me to look for the best in each and every single day—especially when there was no “best” in the day—for confronting it, expressing it, and turning it into something meaningful.

I will miss this so much.

I no longer have an excuse to find the best in each day—but I hope this year has taught me how.

It’s good to know some things don’t change.

But it’s good to know some things do.

This blog has added so much color to my life. It been more than a blog for me; it has been a journey. And I can’t believe I did it.

It feels weird coming to the end. It feels like I’m not finished; like there’s so much more to say.

And that’s because there is.

The lessons we learn are perennial. They will continue to arise in many shapes, sizes, and forms.

It all branches on one big tree. They stem from the root of life, and they turn out to all be a part of the same foundation. I’ve found that all lessons all come back to the same core concepts, and this is what I’ve come to know.

Do what makes you happy,

be passionate, compassionate, and kind,

and always, always, always keep learning.

The world will keep telling us this time and time again.

And so will I.

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Day 365.

Lesson #350: Don’t go chasing waterfalls?

7/5/15.

TLC, don’t hate us.

We didn’t stick to the rivers and the lakes that we’re used to,

because today we hiked to see a waterfall in Malibu.

Unlike the last hike to the Hollywood Sign, though, we were much more mentally and physically equipped this time—with the right shoes, an actual plan, and a larger crew.

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Escondido Falls, Malibu Beach

What we weren’t prepared for?

The waterfall being old, dusty, and completely dried out.

When we started on the trail through secluded streets behind beautiful Malibu homes, we were looking forward to be rewarded with a cool pool of water at the end of our hot, sweaty hike.

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We began navigating through dirt paths and then onto rocks that started stacking higher and higher. Before we ventured too far, we ran into a couple and asked them if we were going in the right direction, since we had come to a fork in the trail a few moments earlier. They told us yes.

They also told us—

waterfall?

Yea.

Not really a waterfall.

They forewarned us that the water was non-existent other than a slight trickle that dripped of the edge of the stone.

Not going to lie.

We had a serious WTF moment.

But what I love about our group is our serious can-do mentality.

We literally let nothing stop us, like, ever.

So we took it as a challenge.

A lack of water never hurt anybody, right?

(Don’t answer that)

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All 11 of us climbed the mountain. We helped each other along, and gave each other guidance and support on the ropes and sliding rocks (but also laughed at each other when we fell because we’re obviously great people).

In the end, we made it to both falls. The higher one, with a breathtaking view and beautiful stained stone, but no running water. It had a lower plateau with a big rock we could stand on, and access to an inside nook of the once bumbling waterfall. The lower one with just enough trickle, and extravagant green foliage and moss that tucked the cliff-side into its own comfortable corner.

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Once again, our hike through the unknown was absolutely priceless.

And truly beautiful.

I guess you could say today’s lesson should be don’t go chasing waterfalls.

But as much as I think I have the right to say that’s true right now,

I know it’s not.

The true lesson here, is this:

Just because something doesn’t turn out beautiful in the way you expect it to be, doesn’t mean it’s not beautiful at all.

Beauty isn’t just in the eye of the beholder. It’s everywhere.

My advice to you?

Definitely go chasing a waterfall sometime.

The adventure in itself is worth it.

Dreams are hopeless aspirations in hopes of coming true.
Believe in yourself, the rest is up to me and you.

-Waterfalls by TLC

Day 350.

yourstrulymia

May 21, 2015

5/20/15.

It has truly been such a wonderful day.

My goodness.

I’d like to think that I spend my days surrounded by good people. And I do. But my favorite times are the ones I get to spend with the people I love. Tonight, I saw Andy Grammer in concert with a group of some of my closest friends from high school. And to sound like a horribly cliché country song—there really is nothing like friends, music, summer, dancing, and just enjoying life. (I feel like I’m re-living my lessons from last summer… coming full circle, eh?)

We had a great time laying on our blankets; talking, eating, taking pictures. As show time grew closer, we moved to the front of the stage (thank you intimate music venues) to get a good spot—and we did. The show was awesome. Not only is Andy Grammer beautiful, but he is also outrageously talented and incredibly nice. His band was absolutely amazing, and hilarious too. I can’t even begin to tell you how crazy good the energy was. The entire stage was full of life. The passion they had for what they were doing and the fun they were having on stage lit up the entire park. It was really, really nice to be there.

At the end of the show, the drummer threw his drumstick into the crowd and for once in my life, it landed right by me. When I went to pick it up, a girl flew to the ground and held on to it for dear life. Next thing I knew, we were both clutching this stick—literally a stick—and no one was letting go.

I’m not into causing a scene. And it’s kind of, like, a piece of wood.

So I let go.

Everyone was like “WHY DID YOU DO THAT” and “YOU SHOULD HAVE HELD ON TO IT” and I was just like “Eh.”

It wasn’t just that I didn’t want to wrestle this random girl in the middle of a public vicinity for a drumstick. But it’s just that I really didn’t need it.

I’ve been thinking a lot about memories lately.

Memories are so fleeting, and I think that’s why, as people, we are so attached to material things. This is why we’re always taking pictures and collecting treasures; we’re capturing moments with things we can hold or something we can see with our eyes. Tangible things are there. They’re proof. But memories are scary because one day they’re here and the next they’re faded, then gone.

But the truth of it all is—the material things are no less fleeting than memories themselves.

It’s not like we can take these physical things with us wherever we go.

And even if we could—tangible things get lost too.

This is not to say that material things aren’t important, because I think I’ve made it clear that they are.

But I guess all I’m saying is that memories are special.

They’re different,

because they’re apart of us.

And while we may not have something to show for it,

we hold them near and dear to our heart for as long as they mean something to us.

And I’ll remember this night for a long, long time.

It’s crazy how the most simple times and moments can be the best, and can instantly bring a smile to our face.

I may not have gotten the drumstick.

But I got a kick ass night with my friends that I won’t forget.

Oh—and I got to meet Andy Grammer too.

I think that beats the drumstick.

Day 303.

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Lesson #285: When your world feels like it’s falling apart—

5/2/15.

—I promise you,

it’s not.

But when you can’t help but feel like it is,

here’s how to put it back together.

1. Try this with someone you trust. 

“I’m going to talk about it for five minutes, and then we’re not going to talk about it anymore, and then I’m going to do something else.”

It works really well.

For the first three hours.

And then you’ll want to cry and talk about it again.

And that’s okay.

Repeat until it works.

2. Write a letter or note to whoever has made you feel the way you do.

But unlike those ridiculously addictive and absolutely unrealistic rom-coms that we are conditioned to love,

make it real.

Don’t let it consist of over-the-top statements, and dramatics, and threats, and hatred.

Write it as if you were going to say it to their face.

Let them know what they’ve done wrong, and how you feel, and if it really does apply—how shitty they are.

Read it out loud.

(I did twice.)

Whether you will actually say this to them in the near future or not,

you’ll feel a million times better.

And it lets out a whole lot of what you were holding in.

3. Do it. Sing (…or scream) along with the appropriate mood music.

Your car is the best place.

Just be sure not to pull up directly to the person next to you at the stoplight.

I’ve found that mostly, you’re going to want to sing-scream the bad songs. The ones that relate to exactly how your feeling. The ones that make your mascara run and have lyrics like “You broke my heart” and “I knew you’d do this” and “I’m so sad” and yata yata yata. The ones that are the most dark.

Don’t.

Listen to the ones that preach about how fucking awesome you are. The ones that tell you you can do better, and that you will do better. The ones that say “I don’t need you” and “I’m glad I know now” and “I’m going to be okay.”

Do that.

4. You have so many awesome people around you and in your life. Focus on them.

It’s so cliche, but I can honestly tell you from the past few days that this is one of the most true things in the world.

You have too many good people in your life to let one or two shitty people weigh you down.

My friend Danielle said it best (And it was really exactly what I needed to hear, rather than “It’s going to be okay”):

“Moments like these make you question everything and everyone in your life.

And it sucks.”

In the heat of the moment, it may feel like you don’t have anyone to turn to, or that people won’t be there for you.

But I promise,

they will.

You have so many people in your life who love you.

But beyond that,

there’s a silver lining in times like these,

because people that you didn’t even know cared about you show that they do.

Be grateful and thankful, and return the love too.

It’s okay to bask in it.

You need it right now.

5. If you pay close attention, (but really—you don’t have to pay much attention at all), you’ll notice the little ways that God is telling you: “This is not it. There is something better.”

Because there always is.

Day 285.

Lesson #277: Thanks, Jesse McCartney.

4/24/15.

Thanks to Jesse McCartney,

I now know that it’s possible to revert back into a 14-year-old girl.

I finally lived out my childhood dream of seeing Jesse McCartney in concert.

And I melted.

Like, peel-me-off-of-the-floor melted.

It was possibly the best hour and a half of my life. Even with no space to move, undesirably touching sweaty people I had never met, and constant pushing.

Swoon.

So today’s lesson?

You’re never too old to feel young again.

Heck, you’re never too young to feel young again.

Live out an old dream every once in a while.

You may find a piece of yourself that you forgot you loved.

If nothing else, it’ll just put a big smile on your face.

Day 277.

Lesson #269: Re-vision.

4/16/15.

Revision is essential for everything in this lifetime.

It is essential for anything worth having; worth keeping.

I’m stubborn.

I’m the worst at letting things go and taking things out. In my writing, in my videos, in life.

It’s a pain in the ass, but I’ve just accepted that it’s what makes good, great.

Rearrange. Delete. Change.

When you sacrifice the old for the new, you’ll be surprised at how amazing something can actually turn out to be.

Day 269.