There’s something about live music that always captures my attention. People playing music, making art together right in front of me. I will automatically gravitate towards them, and that’s exactly what I did. After doing a bit of writing at The Night Owl Café, I walked outside to hear the beautiful sound of voices singing ad libs to some really gnarly guitar playing. I approached them, and ended up hanging out with them all night. My heart felt warm when they accepted me so quickly, and I soon came to learn that they had all pretty much just met as well. It was a very lovely night, with some very lovely people. We played music and talked about our lives like we had known each other forever. I was inspired by one of them in particular, so I took her to the side and asked her my favorite question,
“So, how do you define love?”
It took her a moment, but she was willing to share her wisdom with me. After learning a bit about her, I knew that something good was coming.
“So, my name is Justine. I define myself as an artist. My medium is music, words, and writing. I define love, as I’m thinking about it now, as, that moment when you look into the mirror at yourself, and you’re alone, and you’re happy with what you see. However long it takes, however many times you looked into the mirror throughout your entire life. I feel like that love is that time in your life when you are able to see that person and love that person with all the imperfections, and be able to smile back at your reflection because you love yourself. You love yourself in a humble way, where that love manifests when you walk away from the mirror and you go about your life. That love that you saw in your reflection is manifested in everyone around you, in a way that you treat others based off of how you feel within yourself. It’s how you treat others with kindness, respect, dignity, empathy, and compassion. You understand that with love, and having love for yourself, you know what pain is. You know that other human beings feel that pain in their own way. Why would I ever want to put that pain upon somebody, when I myself know what pain is. It is not something that I would want as an intention, even though I have pain and struggle, but I love myself enough to not dwell in pain. Love to me is loving yourself, and letting that manifest through your family, the people that you care about, and even strangers.”
“So you love yourself in order to love others?”
“I believe that true love starts with loving yourself. I believe that I’m not alone, and that the universe, or God, is there. I’m not alone in this journey, something beyond me loves me and believes that I am special, and that I do have something to offer. I believe that loving myself makes me more with God and the universe. I do believe it’s connected, and that things are always happening for a reason. I feel like I have to meet it half way, when I have a feeling to do something I have to love myself enough to go do that. To say that I deserve to go there. We’ll just go home and go to bed, we go through this routine. I feel like I met halfway just by putting myself here in this environment. I came here to the Night Owl because I wanted to come play guitar and I wanted to sing. This gentleman over here came up to me and told me ‘Hey you did a great job at open mic’ and I said thank you and we started hanging out. Everything happens for a reason, I put myself in these open mics for a reason. To meet other musicians, to perform, and share what I have been spending so much time creating. If I didn’t put myself in that open mic, we all wouldn’t have met. “