Chicago Diaries,  Life,  Self-Love

Ketchup

Hidey-ho, Crickets!

While it’s only been a month since I last wrote you, it feels like it’s been more like four months. Once upon a time, I thought graduating from school meant that I would have breezy filled spring afternoons of flowers and coffee for fun (not survival). I thought I’d get 8 hours of sleep and never have allergies and that horrible spring time stress would leave me alone for good.

Lol. I was so cute. And naïve.

Life has been busybusybusy and I’m trying my best to pick my battles, spend my time wisely, take care of me and my lil’ family, meet expectations, and idk just be happy.

In the past month I wrapped up the first year of my young artist program with Chicago Opera Theater. And man, oh man, am I grateful to be with this company at this point in its development and growth. They’re constantly trying to better themselves and the work they put on and that makes me so proud to be a part of everything.

Before the year officially ended for me, I sang at the end of the season gala. Which was held at the Blackstone hotel and it was v fancy and fun. I was nervous af to perform so I didn’t take a lot of pictures, but I did snag this fab one of me on my way out after performing.

THEN, later in April I went to the first Trans, Media and Fashion show that was a part of Chicago Fashion Week. I deff struggled with ideas of what to wear to this event, because I wanted to look *cool* and *minimalist* and *sophisticated* and I scoured my closet for all of these things and realized that I am none of those things and that is okay, so I went with my comfort zone: florals and kitsch.

I also scored VIP tickets to this event (they were like $35) and I felt ~special~ all night with my free wine and comfy couch seat. The fashion show itself was so cool! It featured beautiful pieces made by Angela Wang and all of the models were trans women. All of the pieces of clothing were feminine and badass and colorful and the models were so FUN. It was incredibly empowering to be in a space that celebrated and uplifted them and their beauty.

I went to TWO DOPE AMAZING LIFE ALTERING concerts with Kyle (and some pals).
First, we went and saw Lucius at Thalia Hall in Pilsen for their all acoustic tour.

Lucius is my favorite band of all time. Like hands down. I love their music so much. It’s supported me, made me happy, made me cry, made me feel alive and excited. I just have a lot of feelings about them. (Their first album is PERFECT and if you haven’t listened to it WHAT R U DOING).

Kyle and I saw them once before in concert for their first tour for their first album and they were magical and amazing and this time was no different.

And if you do know Lucius, then lemme tell you there is something magical about hearing them perform “Wildewoman” live in Chicago and every person in the space scream “fearless like Chicago winds in the wintertime”.

They were amazing and you already know I CRIED when they performed “Two of Us on the Run”, which is the song for me and Kyle.
We’re planning on dancing to it at our wedding.
It’s the song we’d send to each other when we were missing each other over long distance.
It’s a song that got me through so much.
To this day, when I listen to it I get all mushy and misty-eyed and hearing it live, with my person hugging me, knowing that after the concert we were headed to our home together…I just lost it. Like ugly kind of crying, haha.

Anyway, it was a magical evening and I got to spend the day alone in Pilsen (blog post coming up about the National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen that I explored!!!) which was so much fun. The shirt and socks that I grabbed from the merch table for this concert are also fun. (Shirt for me, cool socks for Kyle)


Then just two weeks ago, Kyle and I and two of our friends went to see Lizzo + Haim at the Aragon Ballroom in Uptown!


Ok. If you do not know who Lizzo is, pls close this window on your phone or computer and go listen to anything by her on Spotify or Youtube or wherever you get your music. Watch her videos. Follow her on Instagram and watch your life literally blossom into a vibrant life of self-love, confidence, celebration and JOY.

She was so AMAZING live. So full of energy, so funny, and just so damn wonderful. Seeing a woman with a body like mine literally KILL it and dance and sing and be sexy on stage was so so SO DAMN COOL.


She wore this dope leopard print jumpsuit and halfway through her set she yelled at a photographer to help her take off the top part of her costume because she was HOT.

SO SHE PERFORMED THE REST OF HER SET WITH JUST THE BOTTOM HALF OF HER JUMPSUIT ON AND HER BRA AS HER TOP. I. LOVE. LIZZO.

After one of her songs, her and her dancers threw bouquets of flowers into the audience and I ended up getting a handful of chamomile flowers and my heart was HAPPY.


Then Haim came out and completely melted the entire place. Kyle and I saw them like 4 years ago on their first tour and they were so fun then and they’ve only grown even more into themselves and their music since. I’m obsessed.

I think the best coincidence that happened that night was that we ended up on the left side of the stage: right in front of Este Haim.

Este Haim is everything you’ve ever wanted to be.

At the beginning of their set, they raised the house lights so they could see the audience. Me and my friends were front row in front of Este and I was wearing a shirt that I bought from their first tour with Este’s “bass face” on it and her name emblazoned across the chest. SHE SAW ME and made a motion that she liked my shirt and I died right there RIP me.

Then they continued their set and when they took a break, Este started eating a snickers. At first we all thought it was just her being a lil’ quirky? But then she said she needed a chair and a coke because her blood sugar was low and she’s diabetic!! SO. This badass was brought a chair and she played like two songs from it and bounced back so quickly and killed the rest of the show. Like we’re talking HERO STATUS y’all.

At the end of the show, as Haim was walking off stage we were all watching them and waving and yelling “WE LOVE YOU” because we’re adults and Este stopped before exiting and pointed to me and just said “You!”
So again, you are all invited to my funeral because DED.


And the sisters ended the night with the most outrageously perfect confetti drop I’ve ever experienced like 10/10 I’ll be chasing that feeling for the rest of my life probably.

After I recovered from the Haim concert, I went to see Jesus Christ, Superstar at the Lyric with one of my best friends Elyssa. We scored free tickets thanks to the angel goddess that is my friend Anna. Before going, I was a little skeptical. Like, ok a rock musical at an opera house????

BUT Y’ALL LEMME EAT MY WORDS REAL QUICK OK.

It was so so so so good. The signing was out of this world, the staging was so fun and animated and special, even the lighting was amazing. I was stunned. The Lyric is capable of putting on some of the best art in the country and I hope they keep it up in this vein of work and effort.

Also, going with my friend E was amazing. She is a theology student workin’ hard on her PhD and she told me all of the greatest stories and details about the show and her excitement made ME excited. Please always go and do things with people who make you excited. Afterwards we went and got dinner and literally talked about the show and CRAZY biblical stories for like an hour. Y’all the church is wild omg. But it was so interesting and I always feel like my soul has been replenished after I hang out with E, so also find you a friend who helps you find that kind of peace.

AAAaaaaaaaand a few days ago I went back to my purple hair.

When I first dyed my hair purple, I was spending the summer “alone” in Rochester (I did have my bff John who saved my ass that summer a lot so I wasn’t completely alone). I was broke and lonely and missing Kyle and Chicago and working at a deli and smelling like the deli and I’d go weeks with $3 in my bank account and living off of mac and cheese boxes and I hated everything.

But I dyed my hair purple that summer and despite how hard life was at the moment, it offered me a kind of happy that I needed. It brought joy into my life. And oh, man I have missed having this purple hair!

In some ways, dying it has been my own little form of rebellion. When I dyed it, it was my choice to look the way I wanted to and no one else’s opinion held merit to my appearance. For now, I’m saying I’m dying it for the summer…but part of me wants to keep it for maybe forever. I feel more “me” with it. I know I’ll have to juggle the “when are you dying it back” and “places won’t take you seriously” but maybe my little joy of having purple hair is more important that those nagging comments? I’ll see how I feel. For now, I’m gonna soak it up in these ultra violet locks and smile and feel real good.

Lastly, I’ve been enjoying this view (that a 15 minute walk from my apartment) for the past month.
Trying to get there as much as I can this summer.
It’s literally insane to me that I live this close to a small lake oasis in the heart of Chicago’s Northside. I’m v ready for lake days spent reading books and drinking rosè and napping in the sunshine.


WOW that was a lot of catching up.
Thanks for hanging in like the true champs you are and always sticking this thing out with me.
Ok, love you all like crazy.

Light & Love,

Emma

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