Music, Personal
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Today could have been the best day of my life.

the national

On missing The National:

For those of you who didn’t know, I was supposed to fly out to Singapore with my brother to watch The National play in Esplanade for the Mosaic Festival. The show was supposed to be on tonight, but due to circumstances concerning the recent tsunami in Japan, the Asian leg of the tour had to be canceled. My brother and I have been dragging around heavy hearts since Saturday afternoon, and we decided not to fly out anymore. (We were just there last month. It seemed redundant and unnecessary.)

The fact that this is the thing that I am most upset about says a lot about how blessed I am. But that I am here blogging about how sad I am instead of singing my throat raw really, really breaks my heart. It’s not a secret that I have been having a rough year, and while it’s been rewarding in a few aspects, it’s mostly shit. Every time some new nightmare presents itself to me, I console myself and say, It’s OK—you’re going to see The National in March, and I honestly feel tons better about my situation.

My brother and I have been watching the livestreams of their shows in the last year, and while those are rousing, experiences, it doesn’t change the fact that we are still separated by screens and pixels. Very few things compare to that feeling of being there, with your lungs on fire, along with hundreds, maybe thousands, of other screaming people whose hearts have been touched and whose lives have been changed by the same things that touched and changed you.

One of my friends from LiveJournal once Tweeted: “Matt Berninger’s voice is a hug around my heavy heart,” and that is precisely why I love it so much. It’s all-at-once elegiac and optimistic, and it cuts through your bones—not violently, but earnestly. It’s funny how a lot of people are turned off by them because of it, but that it exactly one of the reasons why I keep coming back to their music. It’s a brilliant example of only being able to appreciate something when you find yourself looking at it up close.

I didn’t like The National when I first heard them, and now I can’t stop listening.

I am really grieving on the inside. Today, I woke up and went about my day as usual. I walked to the drugstore with my brother—“This should have been a walk to Esplanade!”—ate a little bit of cake, felt guilty for not buying flowers from a starving child even though I probably could have spared some change. I read and understood a bit of the Book of Job.

I tried to think about other things, because I refuse to concede to that nagging little thought in my head that this might have been the only chance that I could have seen them. I choose to be optimistic. I choose to believe that there are going to be a lot more different opportunities, not just for this one letdown, but for other things in the future. I choose to be happy despite this enormous disappointment, because I honestly feel like it’s the better option.

The running trend for my 2011, so far, is being faced with that option to be happy. I think that’s partly why I started Maybe Very Happy. There are so many things to grieve for, but I feel like there is also a lot of space for happiness. I choose to be happy, even though it’s so much easier to be sad. Wallowing in sadness and feeling like the world hates me are things that are easy to do, because there are so many things that can make me believe in that. But I have been realizing that the possibility of happiness is always there. I just need to learn how to see it amidst the rest of the muck.

P.S. This is what we did instead. Hahaha sobrang lugi: