What I Learned From My Solo Night Out

I don’t get out much. Shocker, I know, but ever since last year, I’ve been on a mission to do more things by myself. I know that sounds strange. Why would anyone actively try to be alone? Well, around a year ago, I read a very introspective article written by someone in their 30s talking about all the things they wished they’d done in their 20s. We’ve all seen these types of lists but what made this one special was that it focused on all the things she wished she had done by herself. Some of the things were simple such as going to see a summer blockbuster in theatres by herself or taking more nature walks in the park near her apartment, by herself.

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At first, it doesn’t seem so enlightening but the more she talked about why it’s important to do those types of things by yourself every now and then, the more I understood why she wrote the article. It has a lot to do with what we miss when we’re with our friends. Our attention is so focused on what our friends are doing or the conversation we’re having that we don’t notice all the stuff that’s happening around us. We miss parts of the movie. We don’t stop to smell the roses or notice the bird’s nest and the baby birds inside of them. As the list goes on, the things she wished she had done by herself became more extreme such as taking a solo road trip or going to a music concert by herself. After reading the article, I’ve been trying to do more stuff by myself. I’ve seen a summer blockbuster by myself in a foreign country (so a mini trip by myself, although that really doesn’t count). I’ve gone to more events in my hometown by myself and last Sunday, I went to the Bishop Briggs concert by myself.

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The concert was held in the Duck Room of the historical Blueberry Hill bar/restaurant. The bar is a historical landmark that draws tourist and locals to the Delmar Loop from all over the country. The sidewalks of the Delmar Loop are lined with gold plaques similar to the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The plaques tell the rich history of the famous people who hail from St. Louis. Right outside the Blueberry Hill bar stands a lively statue of the great Chuck Berry himself.

The Duck Room is located in the basement of the Blueberry Hill. It’s not a spacious room but it’s not cramped either. I took a few pictures of the place before it started to fill up. By the end of the night, the room probably had somewhere between 250-300 people in it. The show was sold out. The opener for the show was a band I was virtually unaware of until that night, Foreign Air. Foreign Air at the Blueberry Hill Duck Room
I enjoyed their live performance. It was a little jarring, I’ll admit. The lead singer does a lot of voice manipulation. If I had heard the songs on the radio, I would not have thought much of it. I probably would have thought it was the other members of the band providing backup vocals but seeing it live, that was something.

The main event was Bishop Briggs. When the band took the stage and started setting up their instruments the crowd started to stir but when Bishop herself came out, the crowd went wild and she met our energy and challenged it. Just from seeing her on stage, I could tell that she was quirky and kind and was genuinely happy to be performing in front of us. She was nervous the first two songs but once she knew she had the crowd and the air around all of us started to warm with our collective excitement, she relaxed and her voice grew steady and strong. I found myself swaying and dancing the same way I do in my bedroom when I’m listening to her music. img_2502I looked around and realized I wasn’t the only one. It felt so nice to just relax and enjoy myself. For three hours, I wasn’t worried about all my problems and anxieties about my future. I wasn’t stressing over my personal relationships imploding around me and I wasn’t missing people I would never get the chase to speak to again. In that moment, under the blue, red, and purple lights, I was fine. I was happy. I was alive and I was having fun.

 

 

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Bishop Briggs Live at the Blueberry Hill Duck Room

If you would like to see Bishop Briggs perform “Dead Man’s Arms” please click here.

Inspiration in the Dark

A while back I made a post about my yo-yoing weight and how I wanted to make a permanent change because I was tired of how my life was going. It’s been a few months now and I wanted to give you all an update.

It’s important to note that I have severe scoliosis—it just isn’t obvious—so my workouts are a bit limited. My limitations come in when I’m dealing with weights. I’ve been advised by a few doctors not to lift weights so my workouts usually consist of toning exercises (basic Pilates and resistance training with a resistance band) and cardio. I can do the Pilates and resistance training at home because I have yoga mats, medicine balls, exercise balls, kettlebells, small dumb bells, and several sets of resistance bands. But the one thing I can not do at home is the cardio because I hate running. So for the cardio, I was going to the gym and using the elliptical for an hour, four times a week.

This went on for about a month and a half before I lost my motivation and gave up. But wait, don’t roll your eyes just yet, let me explain. I lost my motivation because even though I was slowly slimming down I was losing a lot of muscle. Yeah, you see, I’d actually stopped doing the Pilates and resistance training and was focusing my time on the cardio because that’s all I had time for and it was working. But because I wasn’t toning my body, I lost a lot of the muscle I had in my core and ended up looking flappier than before. A good example of this is the fact that I am smaller than I was when I made the original post but I now have “love handles” because my stomach isn’t as firm as it used to be. Once I realized what was happening, I tried to correct my error but it was already too late. I’d lost some fat that used to sit around my tailbone area and because it wasn’t there to cushion me, getting down on the floor and doing the moves I used to do became painful. My tailbone and spine began to take on too much pressure and it became really painful. So I just stopped altogether.

I didn’t lose or gain any more weight until I went to Texas in the beginning of August. While I was down in Texas, I stayed with a family that was on a diet and I didn’t want to be rude so I ate what they ate and their portion sizes and I actually lost weight. I probably lost about four or five pounds over the span of two weeks just from eating better but because I don’t diet, the moment I got back to St. Louis I ate everything that I’d literally been dreaming about and gained the weight back.

This was around the time my brother became an inspirational figure to me. My fourteen-year-old brother has always been skinny and as he’s gotten older, he has also gotten taller. He has the same body type as our dad. He’s naturally skinny but with him growing so much, he was starting to look slender. He didn’t want to be slender going into high school so for the past month and a half, he’s been going to the gym and working out. Over this short amount of time, I’ve seen him put on muscle and start sculpting his body into the image he wanted. It was easy for him because he was already skinny, all he had to do was put on the muscle. But, just from watching my own friends try, I also know how hard it is to put on muscle and he’s done it all without taking supplements or drinking protein shakes or anything like that. He just eats up everything now, but I get it. He’s hungry, so I can’t really get mad at him for cleaning out the fridge. But watching him get abs, rounded shoulders, and develop the muscles in his back and pectoral region really inspired me to get back in the gym and on the yoga mat.

I know I can make a difference before the year ends.