Exactly ten years ago, I was sixteen sitting in my most dreaded third period math class. About fifteen minutes into our instruction my teacher was interrupted by another teacher, which their attention was diverted to a television wheeled into the hallway by a custodian with the channel tuned in to CNN. As I sat among my fellow classmates, wondering what it was that was keeping my teacher from resuming class, rumors began to circulate that a plane had crashed into one of our city's beloved twin towers. Confirming what we heard was true, we were also informed that our Pentagon had been attacked. Soon after, the first tower came crumbling down, followed by the second. Between classes I frantically dialed my cell phone, calling my sister who just six months prior had been laid off from her event coordinating position working for a company on the 89th floor of the World Trade Center. She cried over the phone explaining that her and her coworkers watched from atop of her new office building, a live showing of the horrifying images that we have become soo familar with. As each of New York's most powerful landmarks came crashing down, so did the lives of her past coworkers, and thousands of others.
A steel burial for thousands of innocent lives lost, this day marked a triumphant success for terrorists, and a new chapter in American history. That same month I attended four funerals of fathers of friends, who in the act of bravery lost their lives and left their families behind. It was a time which NYers really reached out to one another, where patriotism was again prevalent, and which we all stood united as one. I'll never forget this time for as long as I live.
This past Wednesday evening, I made my exit from a performance in Brooklyn, to meet up with one of my best friends in SOHO for fashion week. Driving over the Manhattan bridge, the illuminated city skyscrapers, the Empire and Chrystler building, instantainously ignited my excitement. There's something just soo enchanting and serene about the city skyline. I do have to admit, that even with ten years behind us, it's still weird to see the skyline without the World Trade Center being a part of it. However, To me, the excitement will never die. Holly and I chatted, and caught up on eachothers lives over Dos Equis at a nearby restaurant. It was a year before September 11th that our relationship was founded, and which my music career had truly begun. How fast ten years has past, how fast we have grown up, how much our conversations and priorities in life have changed. I still feel myself evolving, and I'm constantly learning new things.
Although it was a short trip, it was truly a trip filled with love. My trip began in Brooklyn, where I reconnected with my one cousin from my father's side of the family. She welcomed me into her beautiful home, which we chatted for hours, got to know one another, and flipped through pages of our family history. I listened intently as she explained her memories growing up of my mother, sister, father, and grand parents which I barely had the opportunity to get to know. Talking with her made me wish I had a stronger connection with my father's side of the family. Throughout most of our lives, all we've known of one another is what we've heard, or seen in pictures. My short stay was one that I felt was necessary in bringing our relationship to a new level of comfort. Leaving we hugged, and I felt the sadness that she felt, as I believe we both wished we had more time to spend together. It seemed as if we didn't really have to know one another on a personal level to know that we both loved one another unconditionally. We are family, and to me, there is no stronger bond.
I left Lisa's early Friday morning, and drove straight to my cousin Kim's to see her two precious baby boys. We spent a few hours together, catching up and watching over the kids. Where I stand with children in regards to my future, I'm still unsure. Spending time with Kim and the boys did make me think about my future, and someday starting a family of my own. I'd love for the opportunity to share the type of upbringing I was fortunate enough to have, to pass on all the cool things I've learned throughout the years, to have a mini me. Watching those children, made soo many childhood memories resurface, and made me feel happy inside.
Later than evening, I ended my stretch of shows in Port Jefferson, Long Island which the venue was filled with family, high school friends, and long term friends of the family, many of whom which I haven't seen in over ten years. Knowing the majority of my guest list before performing, I knew that this would be the most important show to date. For me, it was my opportunity to showcase what I've worked soo hard at becoming. Looking around in that room as I performed, I felt happy and accomplished knowing that I was making each and everyone in that room proud, including my mother. Growing up, going to Port Jefferson was always a treat. It's a quaint little town on the water, filled with restaurants and shops, and where you can take the ferry from Long Island to Conneticuit. My father, mother, sister and I used to go there for ice cream, walk around, and stop into "Yuppy Puppy" (now closed) to pet all the beautiful puppies. In my teens, Port Jefferson became a place where my friends and I could spend our summer evenings walking around, and where we could go to watch our favorite local bands perform. Since I began performing, I dreamed of playing there, but never had the opportunity because I was underaged, or away at school. To me, there was no better place to play a hometown show, my FIRST hometown show in ten years.
Afterwards, I had the opportunity to spend time with my cousins and my best friend Krystle who I never see enough anymore. To talk honestly with those who know me best, and those free of judgement made me feel complacent again, and a little less crazy. We laughed like old times, we vented, we supported one another, we danced.
Sooo much love filled the room that evening, and I honestly never felt soo much love in my heart for each and every single person present. My mother had left shortly after my show, as she was leaving early for a trip the next morning. Despite the long drive and having to wake up early myself, I stayed out late soaking up whatever time I had left with my friend. Walking into the house at 2:30am, I found handwritten notes from my mother all over the counter. She had packed me two sandwiches for the road, left me directions, packed my car for the next morning and had washed and folded my clothes from my trip. I laughed to myself with tears in my eyes, as my mother often babies me, but also always goes above and beyond to ensure that I am perfectly set to be on my way. I collected my notes, and left one of my own with the message "I love you too, mom" scribbled in my most unflattering penminship. I hope one day to be half the woman she is.
With ten very important years behind, I look forward to the next ten years and whatever it may be that it's store. Life is soo unpredictable, and I'm finding as time passes how important it truly is to take in all that is given. We all know that there are times which life can be more bitter than sweet, but you have to take your blessings full heartedly as they come, and enjoy it for all it's worth.