Are you there Internet? It’s me, Stacey.
I know sometimes taking too many pictures and oversharing on social media can ruin the experience of being present and really enjoying things. I also know it can ruin the lives of whoever follows you online because they are subjected to the slew of random pictures you decided to flood their feed with at all times of the day. But..I was looking back at my photos from this year and I love every, single one of them. I’ve taken 297 photos in the last 9 months. That sounds like a crap ton of annoying Instagram pictures, for sure. But, I’m also sure they mean the world to me. I’ve taken 297 photos since I left an old life. 297 photos of me being silly or feeling cute or wearing something obnoxious. 297 photos of my crazy, beautiful friends. Of their adorable children giggling and dancing or cracking pinatas. Of my brothers making me laugh. 297 photos of my mother with dramatic sunglasses on and her go-to silly face of tilting her head to the side and an open-mouthed, goofy grin which looks awfully familiar. 297 photos of my father making meatballs and standing by his prized pool with his jolly, drunk children floating in it. 297 photos of new places, favorite places. Photos of my beautiful sister-friends who I’ve watched grow as humans, as professionals, as mothers. Pictures of them holding their babies, holding wine glasses, holding shit down. And also, just being wild AF. 297 photos of friends’ bands. Strangers’ bands. New music. Old music. 297 photos and videos of tipsy Sheetz walks. Of watching Game of Thrones at 3 am..also drunk with Sheetz. 297 photos of cute dogs and even cuter doughnuts. My family’s ridiculous group text messages. Band practice. New friends. A new bed. New hair. I have 297 documented new memories of literally ALL OF THE THINGS I LOVE AND THAT GOT ME THROUGH THIS YEAR. Some of the moments earlier on were mere survival pictures. Me just trying not to die. It seriously could have been an Animal Planet documentary of everyone watching life sneaking up on me and trying to kill me. It was getting pretty close. But, most of the pictures, thankfully, are me being in love with all of my people and in love with a life I wasn’t expecting, but at the same time, had in front of me all along. I was always going to be pulled and surrounded by all of you wonderful, little angel bunnies. You’ve either been here the whole time or you were waiting for me. It was always going to break this way. And I’m so glad. And I am so thankful.
I know Thanksgiving is over, but if you are family, friend, or a co-worker you already know time isn’t really my thing.
And I am thankful on so many days. This year, for sure.
I’ve been thankful and I’ve been super busy.
Busy watching my hair grow and playing bangers on the juke box and dancing to bangers on the juke box and recording vocal tracks and going to friends’ shows and listening to them sing beautiful songs and stroke pretty guitars.
Real busy taking pickle backs and eating gummy bears and watching two year olds turn three and watching my savings account dip dangerously low but still buying earrings because they’re pretty and hot dogs because they’re fucking good.
Busy meeting friends in coffee shops and talking for hours on end about nothing but also everything.
Busy smiling and giggling and crossing paths with gentle, but giant glowing souls that make my heart burst to just be in the presence of their beautiful existence.
I’ve been busy shouting at women in bathrooms and bars that they are beautiful and can do and be whatever they want and I’ll fight anyone that even blinks the wrong way in their direction. And then I’ve been busy going home and wondering if this is off-putting or creepy of me, but then remembering I don’t give a fuck and it’s out of love and I’m adorable when I’m on a tipsy, aggressively loving soap box.
I’ve even been busy writing and just not posting because I have so many fleeting thoughts and sometimes I get too passionate and picky about something that I over edit it and by the time I’m done editing it I don’t really give a shit about it anymore. I’ve written a lot of “don’t do this, don’t do that, shitty people blah, blah” stuff and again, I think about it for a second and then I just don’t want to spend my energy on it anymore.
I’ve been busy trying to focus more on positive shit and learning new things and diving deeper into music and loving people and trying the whole loving myself thing.
297 times I loved myself this year by surrounding myself with people I love, live music, junk food, cold beers, dogs, cute kids, walks around the neighborhood, sleeping in, being hungover, being sober, being drunk, sitting in front of a bubble machine, brushing my hair, not brushing my hair, singing, dancing, laughing, living. 297 times I lived more in the last few months than I have in the last couple of years. My brother pointed that out to me. He was right. I don’t want him to say that to me ever again. That I wasn’t living. I don’t want to ever back myself into a corner or walk on eggshells or stuff myself down a hole or feel trapped ever again. I don’t ever want to find myself in another situation where I am internally fighting myself and snuffing myself out and numbing myself over to tolerate things I know in my heart are not okay. I like things. I like people. I like life. I like love. I like spending my energy on those things. It makes me feel whole. It makes me happy. These past 297 pictures make me so, so happy.
I love you all so much.
If you have lent your hearts, or ears, or homes to me, you are a fucking saint and I will never forget it. I will never forget that you pulled me in and fed me and kept me safe and sane at a time when I felt like evaporating. Thank you. If we have locked eyes, or smiles, or hands, or arms, thank you. If we have exchanged giggles or dance moves or phone numbers or hilariously vulgar or uplifting-ly sweet messages, thank you. If we have shared beers or coffee or songs or snacks or kisses or embraces, thank you. Thank you so fucking much.
I can’t wait to see what comes next with all of you beautiful babes.