My Turn to Decide

It’s been two-and-a-half years since I penned a blog post. Someday I’d like to finish the blog series, “Broken,” that I started in 2017 about my personal experience with depression. But for now, I’d simply like to get back in the habit of writing. So my birthday present to myself this year is a day off to do whatever I want. Today that includes blogging.

October 17, 2007
My fiancé and I were living in trendy Westport—minutes from his new law office in downtown Kansas City, Missouri; walkable to bars aplenty; and just sketchy enough that I wouldn’t walk our dog without a chaperone. We scored tickets to see Paulo Nutini in concert at the nearby Uptown Theatre, and I was stoked.

Days before, the concert was moved to a smaller, more intimate venue. The night of the concert I hesitantly walked inside the dark, dank bar. It smelled of stale beer, and my shoes sporadically stuck to the floor. My excitement waned, but Dave grabbed me a vodka tonic and assured me that it would still be fun. The lights dimmed and a woman I didn’t recognize started caressing a keyboard while belting out the song I now know as “Love Song.” You guessed it. It was Sara Bareilles.

After her captivating set, Paulo Nutini stumbles up on stage. He’s grasping the microphone to keep from tumbling to the floor and slurring his speech—disappointing, in part, because his Scottish accent would otherwise be endearing. His band played their part, and we sung along, trying to ignore his obvious inebriation. While Paulo’s performance was disappointing, it turned out to be an incredible concert experience thanks to our close encounter with Sara Bareilles before she made it big.

June 2020
Fast forward to present day. I was driving through light Houston traffic (courtesy of the coronavirus pandemic) to pick up my kids from summer day camp when Apple Music dishes up Sara Bareilles’ “King of Anything.” I started awkwardly dancing in my chair and singing along. The quiet allowed me to really listen to the lyrics, and something stood out to me that simply passed me by when I first heard the song in 2010.

“All my life I’ve tried to make everybody happy
While I just hurt and hide
Waiting for someone to tell me it’s my turn to decide”

Sara Bareilles

This resonated with me because I’m a people-pleaser and end up spending a great deal of time doing what makes others happy. Turns out that doing what you think you should be doing while denying yourself is a recipe for disaster. For me, it contributed to my depression, manifesting in a perception that my voice was being silenced. I have since discovered that I’m the one who has been silencing my own voice all along. So today, on my 36th birthday, I’m reclaiming my voice and doing whatever I fancy. It’s my turn to decide.