Growth is a funny thing.
You can never tell you’re growing while you’re in progress. It just feels like waking up too early, grudgingly grabbing a cup of coffee in an effort to simply survive, and hustling. It’s the everyday grind, the boring traffic, the same path through the same door, the same dull office walls. But you look back after a couple months have passed and you see that you’ve actually been running a marathon, and all the days have added up to something, and what has changed isn’t your surroundings but you, the fundamentals of who you are, down to your very DNA.
It feels like you’re on a hamster wheel, watching the days fly past you, until you get off and realize it was actually a roller coaster the whole time. It’s like driving 90 km an hour in a car but feeling like you’re crawling. Change is like that, but you get out a different person than you were when you got in.
I feel like I’ve been running this marathon for a long time. I’m not really sure what it is I’m running towards – is it happiness? Is it contentment? Is it self-actualization? Is it growth? I don’t know. All I know to do, all I can do – is keep running.
There’s something in me, this key piece of me, that is an absolute psycho. But it’s also the part of me that gets the credit for any sort of success I have. It is the raging workaholic, the one that goes into the studio 7 days a week, that berates me endlessly when I hear my own voice played back, the one that hears other DJs and insists that it could do differently – better, even. It is arrogant, driven, passionate, insatiable, and wildly insecure. It operates from fear – it feasts upon it – as long as fear exists, it grows bigger. It screams,
“THEY WILL FIND OUT, YOU KNOW…”
“THEY KNOW YOU’RE A FAKE.”
“YOU JUST CONFIRMED EVERYONE’S FEARS ABOUT YOU. YOU’RE TOO YOUNG. TOO INEXPERIENCED. TOO EMOTIONAL. AND YOU’RE A WOMAN. EVERYONE THINKS A GUY COULD DO A BETTER JOB, ANYWAYS.”
Then I put on my headphones, and this voice in my head, the one I both love and hate, the one that has both motivated me and shaken me out of my laziness, that’s pushed me to go the extra mile while my legs are screaming at me to stop – it shuts up. Everything is quiet.
All I can hear is the music. Music. It’s why I’m here. Why I moved four times, why I almost gave up, why I do this thing that is everything but so often pummels me to my breaking point. My heart beats in time with the kick drum and I breathe deeply and I hit the button and I’m live. And it’s do or die, I could fail, I could embarrass myself in front of thousands…but I don’t care. I’m free. I’m in my element, and I was made for this.
I can’t explain it. I wish I could. I wish I could tell you logically how talking to America’s fourth largest city every night has become as simple as calling up one of my friends on the weekend. But it has.
In the last few months, I haven’t written anything. I keep trying to put what I’m learning into words and I can’t. There are too many lessons, too many stories that are inexpressible in words.
- I’ve learned that you can have expectations for people that are both right and wrong. It’s okay to hope for more, okay to dream about a lasting love, but it’s not okay to hold someone to an impossible standard. It’s not okay to automatically skip out on being someone’s friend because you want a relationship more. People are worth your time: meet them where they are, even if it’s not where you want them to be.
- Wait for the guy that opens the car door for you. Wait for the guy who pays for you. Wait for the guy who tells you you’re stunning, the one who reminds you that you will find love, that it’s not always you that’s broken, sometimes it’s the world. Wait for the one who points you towards God when you start throwing your hands up in despair and frustration. Wait for the one who texts you C.S. Lewis quotes, the one who sings with you in the car. Wait for the one who remembers details about you that you shared months ago.
- Wait for someone who makes you feel like you’re not alone. Who complements you. Who puts down his phone and looks you in the eye.
- I’ve learned that some guys will always be a day too late – they’ll show up after you’ve forgotten them. I’ve learned that chasing guys is a waste, that I’m far more inspired by chasing myself, by watching the person I’m becoming unfold before my eyes. I’ve learned that the world is beautiful and wild and also cruel and cold.
The questions of “Who is Angela? How can she grow?” have become infinitely more important to me than “Where is my person? Is this him at last?”
I’ve been reminded that God is real and somehow he cares about me. And that fact can, and will, be enough.
P.S. Thanks for reading this far. Check out Francis and the Lights, one of my new favorite artists ever (shoutout to Brandon for the recommendation.) The title of this post is an ode to his song with Bon Iver and Kanye, “Friends”.