First of all, there has been all of this talk about moving to San Diego. Some of it is half joking, but it has really got me thinking! I've ALWAYS wanted to live near an ocean in a warm climate. I've staying in the Midwest because of family. I've actually been looking up information and from a job/ housing perspective is totally doable. Then I've had this strong urge to learn to play to guitar (who knows I've never played a musical instrument in my life). And then the whole coversation with my husband about loving summer weather and needing to move to a place that only had summer (like San Diego). Well two more things happened.
Last night, I was watching SYTYCD and was talking with my husband about different dancing and how I can appriciate and like the abstract contempory stuff and he just doesn't get it. Then we got to talking about how for an 'engineer' I am a very artsy minded person. And I said, yeah you know the more artsy things I do, like painting, dancing, going to more shows, the more 'artsy' I feel. Then he said something that kind of stuck with me: 'Well, maybe that's just your true self finally coming out". This is something I have been struggling with for a LONG time. Even back in highschool. I loved art, and photography (especially photography) but I 'knew' that I couldn't really make a living in any of those. So I chose the electrical engineering path for school. I figured I liked math too, so I could do it. My husband and I continued to talk and he said that he's glad that I am also logical minded because otherwise we wouldn't probably be together. But now I'm starting to wonder, am I really doing what I was MEANT to do?
Then this morning I see a Jason Mraz Friends post on FB. It said:
Transformation is my favorite game and in my experience, anger and frustration are the result of you not being authentic somewhere in your life or with someone in your life. Being fake about anything creates a block inside of you. Life can’t work for you if you don’t show up as you.
So, now I'm in the middle of a little mid life freak out! Everything in my heart says " Move to San Diego with the family, go to art school and get a job as a photographer or graphic designer or something and learn to surf and play guitar and all of that" Then my logical self says, "no, you and your husband have great jobs, a beautiful home, friends and family near by, kids love their school and neighborhood, and all of these other reasons why I stayed in Indiana in the first place"
I know I have to talk to my husband about this. I know the 'easy' answer is to just do nothing. Continue what I've been doing. But then I have the 'what if' moments.
Thanks for letting me get this all out. If feels so much better talking about it. Not, that I know what I'm going to do, but now I'm thinking about it.
Pardon my loud woohoo. Obviously I was too excited to keep calm. :P
We were supposed to mulch with him that morning but because of the rain and the cold air he cancelled. Luckily the radio station set up this sound check party.
We arrive to the venue and Jason is on stage doing sound check. We sit in the front row and he starts playing and talking. Looks at us and says sorry about the tree planting. He's like 'it cleared up about an hour later' a guy says 'that's Indiana for ya'. He said ‘oh really?’ And I said 'yeah just wait and it will change' and Jason says ' Oh I didn't get that memo' :-) lol So there were several times like that where we talked back and forth during the sound check. He played Be Honest, All Dialed In and Bella Luna! I'm really glad he played All Dialed In because he didn't play it at the show. So then he walks off stage.
The radio station informed us we were going in groups of 6 and that we couldn't use our own cameras. Claudia and I hung towards the back and were the last two in our group of 6. We were the 3rd group. Up until that point Jason had been shaking hands with everyone so I get up there and shane his hand (and in my head I’m thinking no way is he getting away with just a hug!) He says "Hi, I'm Jason" (duh) I said "Hi, I'm Jen, is it ok if I give you a hug?" He said "Of Course! So I hugged him and then looked him squarely in the eyes (swooon!) and very calmly and quietly handed him my 3 page letter and said 'I need you to take this. I don't want you to sign it, I just want you to have it' and he said, "sure no problem." And then he said "Rad! I love what you did with your shirt! (my blend shirt, I cut the collar off and tied it in the back) I said Thanks! I was trying to make it a little more girly" He laughed and said "maybe I should do that with mine" LOL
So then he saw Claudia and she gave him a hug and then he saw her shirt and said "OH! MrazWomen! Awesome!" I said yeah we're together, I mean in the same group. He looked at me and said ‘Have we met before?’ I said ‘no, but I'll I have meet n greet in San Jose’ He said "oh sweet, awesome" So then Claudia stands to his right and I was thinking " I am soooo standing next to him!” Luckily, Merritt (his violinist) was to his left and she said "Do you want to stand here?" I said "Oh! thanks!"
Then (I remember this very vividly!) I put my arm around the small of his back and he did the same to me, I put my head on his should and moved in close for our picture!!!!!!!!! After the picture I looked at him and said "Oh thanks for playing All Dialed In! It was awesome!" He said, "Yeah I don't know if it will make the set list, but...." I said "no it was great we still got to hear it!" I looked at Merritt, and said" Yeah it was awesome! Thank you!" Then we said bye and that was it..... Of course we ran into Michael Bram (his drummer) right after that and I got our pic with him too! Amazing Amazing experience.......then came the end of the show.....
So I had been wondering all night if he read my letter then at the end of the show, he was waving Hi to everyone and I'm waving my arms like I'm trying to flag down a rescue truck or something and he sees me! He points right at me and stops moving, tilts his head to the side and gives me a warm (aww so sweet) smile, blows a kiss and puts his hand on his heart....... I'm really hoping that means he read it but I'm totally asking him in San Jose!!!!! LOVE!!!!
I was really amazed I was so calm and talking clearly and not going ' OMG I LOVE YOU!' LOL It really was like talking to an old friend! I can’t wait to do it again in San Jose!!
First, a recap.
My friend Jen told me that Jason Mraz would be on the Today Show on February 16th. He would then be going to Z100 and the Late Show with David Letterman, and would I want to take off of work and go with her to try and find him? I told her that I wasn’t sure and that I’d let her know in a few days. I thought about it a long while and figured, if nothing else, I’d have a day off from work and I’d get to spend it with a newly formed friend. I told her that I’d go and that I’d put in for the day off. This was about a month ago.
We hammered out the details as the day drew closer. We’d go in the night before and stay with my dad. Then we’d get up before the sun the following morning and drag ourselves to Rockefeller Center and wait outside, hoping to catch a glimpse of the man. Then we’d casually follow him (read: stalk .. innocently) for the rest of the day, hopefully having a moment to speak with him.
Everything pretty much followed the plan Wednesday night. We each took our own train into the city and met up at Penn Station. I took her to my dad’s apartment and we went out to dinner in Brooklyn, his old stomping ground. We nestled under the covers at about 10:30, dreading the sound of the alarm in only a few hours’ time. Well, at least I was. Sleep is probably one of the most important aspects of my life, and it takes a lot for me to get up at such an early hour. I was skeptical about our plan the following day. Deep down, I was hopeful, but the pessimist in me kept whispering her ugly, down-trodded words, and it was hard for me not to doubt our excursion’s goals.
My dad drove us to Rockefeller Center as the city was waking up. Business men and women were scurrying to and from every sidewalk, cars and cabs were whizzing and darting in and out of lanes. I told my dad that I was thankful he knew how to drive there since there was no way in heck I’d be doing it. He dropped us off and wished us luck. We stepped out into the cold of the early morning and made our way to the Today Show window, barricaded off and manned by security guards.
We made a stop at Starbucks first, naturally. Warm drink in hand, we went through the barricade and stood with the handful of other people who were all hoping for a few seconds on camera. Sure, that was enticing, but it wasn’t our goal. We came there to see the one and only Jason Mraz, to hear him sing, and to maybe have a chance of meeting him (though the pessimist in me was still skeptical). We were waiting outside for about an hour – and managed to actually get on camera twice – without a word from the news anchors about his appearance. I started worrying that maybe he wasn’t even there, maybe he wasn’t even going to show up. Jen then saw that he’d be coming out at about 8:35, so about ten minutes earlier, shivering and cold, I told her we should run back in and get more Starbucks. So off we went back inside.
As we walked through the doors, I muttered, “I hope we get to meet him later,” as I checked my phone. Jen replied, “Or .. we could just meet him right now.” I lifted my eyes and – BAM. There he was. Strumming his guitar, an entourage behind him, looking peaceful and calm. Jen managed to say, “Hi Jason ..” and I think I may have squeaked a “hi,” as well. We said hello to Mona, his percussionist, who seemed surprised that we knew her name. He waved and walked off into the studio since he was about to perform.
I was stunned. Jen and I looked at each other with the same thought: “Did that really just happen?” We managed to get our legs to move again and went downstairs to get the Starbucks we originally went in for.
After his performance, we knew that he’d have to walk back down the stairs he had walked up when we had our chance encounter. So we bolted back inside and waited patiently, trying our hardest not to scream. I was trying my hardest not to wet my pants.
And then .. there he was. No longer holding his guitar and quietly singing, but looking just as peaceful as before. I had my phone out, Jen had her camera out. He approached us and said, “I see you have your cameras out .. You guys want a picture with Mona, right?” And then we started chatting. He went to each of us, shook our hands, and asked our names. He listened when we spoke. Jen asked about his trip to Antarctica and listened to them talk about penguins. We talked about global warming and saving the environment. A third girl, also a huge fan and wearing a Jason Mraz shirt, had found her way in and was staring at him, wide-eyed and bashful. He talked to her about what she was studying in school and took the time out to really listen to what she said.
We even got our sought-after picture.
We chatted with Mona and I relayed a quote that a social work professor had told me in college: “You may feel like what you’re doing is pointless, because how can one person change the world? But everyone has a light that shines, and it may seem dim on its own, but imagine how bright it would be if we all came together to do something good?” She gave me a high-five and thanked me for sharing.
If it wasn’t for the security guards who asked us to leave the lobby, I have absolutely no doubt that they would have kept talking with us.
After it was all over, it took everything in me not to start crying. But it hadn’t even really hit me at that point. I was still in shock, completely stunned by the fact that I had just met and spoke with the man who was the inspiration behind turning my life around. It’s very cliche, but honestly .. his music, his outlook, his message .. they all saved me from the destructive path I was on. He helped me find gratitude and happiness in every aspect of my life. I don’t think I can even adequately express how he changed me for the better, without ever knowing me.
On the way home, I started thinking about it more and started crying on the train. With the melody and words of “I Won’t Give Up” filling my body and my soul, I was suddenly overcome with this unbelievable humility and gratitude for everything. Everything. That day, every day, my life, every decision, everyone, the man sitting next to me, all of it.
Life is such an extraordinary creature. It truly, sincerely is. I refused to see it for most of my life. Or maybe I just wasn’t ready to. Maybe I couldn’t accept the beauty of life. And, sometimes, it’s easier to just look around and complain about the bad things. I had always found excuses as to why my life wasn’t good enough – or why I wasn’t good enough – but I get it now. We are beautiful, as we are. We have such power to make this world magnificent just by being in it. It all makes sense.
And it’s all thanks to a man in a hat (which, funnily enough, he no longer wears).
I know, for sure, that 2012 is going to be the best year ever. I’m going to make sure of that.
Oh, did I also mention that Jen and I also won tickets to the taping of the Late Show with David Letterman where - surprise! – the musical guest was Jason Mraz?
It’s been 2 years since I started this community, and it has come to my attention that I have not even shared how my Mraz fandom came to existence! Unacceptable, right?
I know I still owe a recap of my recently concluded Mraz Pilgrimage in San Diego, but before that, let me share with you the birth of yet another blog project:
Here I plan to regularly blog my thoughts about Mraz, his music, his fans, his musician friends, and anything related to those four. I have begun my new journey in the form of a blog entry series recapping my history as a fan of Mraz. So far, I have two:
History of MrazGal – This talks about the first time I heard a Mraz song and my first few times seeing him in concert.
I hope readers and authors of this Mraz fan blog will also honor my new one.
…and yes, the pilgrimage recap is coming soon. I promise!
Be radical love,
Jam a.k.a MrazGal