I woke up, changed my clothes, and started my 40 minute commute (thanks, traffic) from Studio City to West Hollywood. I went to bed last night telling myself to “just breathe” and woke up with Anna Nalick’s “Breathe (2 am)” stuck in my head. I hooked up my iphone’s bluetooth and played the song in my car. On repeat. For forty minutes.
“No one can find the rewind button, girl,” she sang as I glanced at the once blooming and colorful foliage of Laurel Canyon now looking soggy and droopy from last night’s downpour. I contemplated how I used to confidently correct people on the punctuation, informing other eleven year olds she was addressing particular people in that song. Instead of having the comma between button and girl or boy, I thought said comma didn’t exist. I told my friends it was “rewind button girl” and “rewind button boy”. I believed these rewind button people could close their eyes and project themselves into the past, like magic. I laughed, recollecting that passionate fallacy I once possessed regarding the punctuation of a music stanza. I’d like to believe I’m a little wiser than I was in 2004, but I could be wrong.
Thoughts blossomed throughout my previously quiet mind. The next thing I knew, the car stopped. Okay, that was dramatic, the car was already stopped (thanks again, traffic). I considered that I was onto something back then. “Rewind button girl,” I thought. “Why did I think there was no comma? Did I want to be one all those years ago, too? Or solely now?”
Rewind Button Girl goes back and tells her parents the first time her younger brother mentioned suicide, breaking his trust but ensuring his future. Rewind Button Girl comes home from college on weekends she’s not doing anything to visit him and the rest of her family. Rewind Button Girl takes him somewhere special on his sixteenth birthday instead of skipping it to party with her friends. Rewind Button Girl magically returns to fix the mistakes.
Rewind Button Girl isn’t afraid to talk to her older sister after their brother’s death. Rewind Button Girl takes her out for a drink to help numb the pain. Rewind Button Girl doesn’t run away from the unknown, and treats her sister like...a sister. Rewind Button Girl ignores her parents wishes and drives two and a half hours to see her sister in the hospital before she dies.
Rewind Button Girl rewinds to her last relationship and makes her slow down. Rewind Button Girl takes away any of her actions that ever caused any pain. Rewind Button Girl doesn’t makeout with guys with girlfriends. Rewind Button Girl goes to therapy sooner. Rewind Button Girl knows exactly what to say and when to say it. Rewind Button Girl isn’t a prick to her family when all she needs is a long hug from someone who cares. If I were a rewind button girl, I could breathe. Just breathe.
Breathe. I forget how to breathe. Crown me The Queen of Reflection, constantly wishing I was one of those rewind button girls. I learn from my mistakes, but I wish was smart enough to not make them in the first place. That’s why I’m never relaxed. I’m always on the go, working like the madwoman I am and chiseling down my never-ending to do list. Rewind Button Girl is chill. I am not, nor do I have any “chill.” I go full force into everything I know: my career, my friendships, my relationships, events, social media, my writing, my music, every little thing I love. I’m a train going at full speed yet running on empty. Rewind Button Girl stops to refuel every now and then.
Anna Nalick’s “Breathe (2 am)” haunted me for a month, playing at the airport, on the radio, at work, Target, The Grove. Each time I heard the strum of the first chord, an irritating question sprang into my head. Over and over again, I rolled my eyes and dismissed it. Today as I’m off to work, driving along the traffic-jammed Laurel Canyon, that song plays once again. I look out the window and notice the plants along the road starting to bloom. Traffic lightens up. I breathe and let the question I ignored for seemingly so long take over me. “How do I become a person who doesn’t feel the perpetual need to be a rewind button girl?”
Then it hits me. I don’t.
Wanting to be a rewind button girl taught me that I shouldn’t need one. I will never be able to live my life without wishing I was a rewind button girl if I can’t let go of my regrets. No longer can I live like that, attempting to fill the empty void with solutions for problems I can never fix. The traffic is vastly out of my control, so there is no need to be bothered by it. Furthermore, I might as well admire the plants. You know what helps? Remembering to breathe. Just breathe.
Jackie Webb has been one of our guest stars for a number of It's Personal shows. She is joining us again for our 2nd show of the year, Gross. We hope you liked her piece about Letting Go.