Two  weekends ago I was finally able to go back to Boone, the place where my heart has always felt at peace. Maybe it’s my Chilean-Andean soul that will always long for the mountains, but that weekend was definitely a time that I needed to get away from home and Raleigh. I needed to be as far away from everything (presently) familiar to me because I just knew that particular Saturday would be hard for me. A wedding I had intended on attending was no longer an option. I had been really excited because I would be able to see most of my boys. They are the people I miss the most and the constant fear of maybe never seeing them again had me terrified. Those sweet, crazy boys became like my older brothers and protectors back when I was a wee little freshman and the thought that from now on, I probably wouldn’t have them in my life scared me. Deep down, the reality of that thought was too overwhelming for me. So, yes, the mountains were definitely calling my name and I needed to go.

In the midst of staying at one of my dear old roommate’s apartment, I knew that I was filled with far too many emotions, both beautiful and bittersweet. The fact that I cried when I saw the mountains on my drive up, is just a small demonstration of how I really needed to go back to where I had created my strongest roots. And one of the best parts was that I was actually seeing some of my sweet friends (even if our time was cut a little shorter than expected) whom I had not seen for almost a year since my move to Raleigh. Being in the town I had called my home for 4 years, I felt completely removed from this being my home anymore. Sure, I still looked like a normal college kid sitting at Espresso News, but I felt like that place wasn’t “mine” anymore. I guess that happens to everyone once they leave from one place for another. In your heart–if you actually liked where you lived–you know that place will always hold a piece of you, but then once you’re back, you feel like a stranger amongst it.

And yet, sitting in my happy place with its cool spring weather, I could not help but feel this utter sense of joy due to the familiarity of it all. As weird as it is for many people to know that I can happily sit for hours in a coffee shop, observe people, listen to my music, and BE HAPPY about it, I love it, but always felt like I needed to defend my oddity with that simple pleasure. I am a boring human being sometimes [well, maybe a lot of the times], but I am happy with that. I wouldn’t change the source of refueling my spirit for anything. In such an “up and down” time for me throughout the last month, I needed this. I was content with working on a baby shower present and listening to my mostly re-discovered band, Daughter. For months or maybe for a whole year, I had heard of Daughter, a European indie band through Songza, but I had not done more research on their other songs. And I swear, life is crazy and messy but so freaking beautiful. I say that because I have realized that life always offers us those small, lovely surprises just when we think that our feelings could strip every happy thought away. Here’s the little story to elaborate more:

Early Sunday morning, I had woken up around 6:45 AM and was unable to fall back asleep. So of course, I just began to listen to music. It first began with a random “go-back-to-snoozing” playlist on Songza, which then led me to listen to Daughter. Words cannot express how much I love them. Going to their website, I saw they had recently recorded 5 songs with Air Studios and had the live videos. Having nothing else to do, I saw all of them.

How can the coincidences be so great that just when I had been feeling so overwhelmed and frustrated with my broken heart, here is this indie band that somehow was able to put into words so many of the conflicting, tangled feelings I had been experiencing?! Not only this, but I guess my eclectic love for music made me smile as all the music videos contained a 10 member classical ensemble. So much auxiliary stimuli. My ears and soul were just ah, in euphoria.  I honestly felt like I could just soar up with the surrounding fog that was so heavy in the Blue Ridge Mountains that morning. With a haunting and almost effortless voice, Elena Tonra (lead singer) captivated me. I could just feel the way she was trying to suppress the pain and/or discomfort when she sang about lost love, loss of self-worth, and all those other feelings that just suck after any break-up. And yet, all the songs gave me the strength to want to voice out my truths and to not feel the need to hide because of what others may think. Right now, I’m with the mindset of “Fuck my fears and insecurities.”

Having rediscovered Daughter is a moment when I find that life is so much more meaningful and interconnected than we realize. Sure, coincidences are just coincidences sometimes, but the weirdo-dreamer I am, fails to see this occurrence as a mere coincidence. I am still convinced that sometimes we are just meant to find little treasures and reminders, such as how I found Daughter, to help us cope with what our heart feels. Somehow “life” just wants to show us that we are not alone and when we least expect it, our feelings are considered and recognized in such a chaotic world.

The songs are all to an extent about lost love, but the loss of love from someone else. That doesn’t mean I have to interpret it that way for always. When I said that Daughter had given me the strength to recognize my truths, I also realized that I never needed to lose the love for myself. Maybe that’s where a lot of the things went wrong, not just from my end, but his too. Self-love, self-respect went unattended and that’s not healthy in any kind of relationship. But who knows? I’ve considered too many things already from before and I am tired of doing so. It does me no good.

Overall, I don’t want this experience to break me. It has already enabled me to know who I am and know that I am enough, so to seek validation in anyone but myself is just unwise. At first, I didn’t believe that completely but I had to write that mantra [[I know who I am and I am enough]] on my mirror so that I would see it every single day. I believe it now. I now that I am more than enough and I’m satisfied with that. In all, I want to go through the best kind of growth and be in touch with who I am capable of becoming on my own. I will learn to love myself more first.

Thus without further delay, here is “Amsterdam,” the song that resonated with me the most all because of this line—“By the morning I will have grown back.” To me, that just means that whatever shit I have to get through on a daily basis, whether that be due to some memories, school-related stress, financial stress, or anything, I will come back the next day ready and prepared to face the obstacles ahead of me. Bring it oh beautiful, complicated life because I will turn out to be so much stronger.

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