• Camie Dudziak

2018 Wrapped-Up

Ariana Grande really did say it best when she talked about 2018 being great for her career and terrible for her personal life. It’s hard to look at back on a year and see all these wonderful successes but still feel defeated. But that’s where I’m at, and I know there are countless others who feel the same. 2018 was both the best and worst year of my entire life, and a lot of it revolved around music – both in my career and in my personal life.

I’ve been thinking about this blog post for a while, what I want to say and how I want to say it. The lessons I’ve learned, the memories I made, the challenges that I had to face every single day. I don’t think I have the right words for this, and I’m sure I’ll look back and think “I wish I had said this” or “I wish I wrote this differently.” There is no way I’m going to write this as eloquently as I wish I could, and I’m definitely not doing it any justice. But actually sitting down and writing this not just in my head is what’s most important.

Deciding whether to write this chronologically or by situation has stumped me for some time. Writing the events in the order that they happened makes logical sense, but I would be lying if I said I learned my lesson from those events in the order that they occurred. Learning, healing, growing – these are all things that take their own time, sometimes longer than a year.

I realize this is a music blog, and I have yet to even talk about music. I’m getting there, I promise. But in the past year that I’ve worked on this website and changed who I am as a person, I’ve noticed that I don’t need another place to professionally talk about music. That was never the reason I decided to start Concerts With Camie. What I needed was an outlet for everything in my life related to music, and if I wanted to keep that personal drive to work in this industry, I would need a place to let it all out, to be vulnerable, to embrace the difficulties just as much as the opportunities and successes, and Concerts With Camie is the perfect place to do that.

My year started absolutely terribly. It was when I became incredibly sick with no diagnoses, and while I had friends here to help me with whatever I needed, I felt incredibly alone. There’s a reason for this: the few people I wanted to talk to, who could make it better, were just the people I couldn’t reach. Or I could, and I would be pushed to the side. Or I could, but I was afraid. My heart was broken – both metaphorically AND literally. The disease I was eventually diagnosed with involves my heart not working in the way it’s supposed to, and I was, at the same time, devastated. Heartbroken.

There was a time in being sick that I didn’t know if I would have the time to pursue my dreams or do any of the things I wanted to do. Coming out of that, I’ve learned to be okay with my life, every day. If I did what I could, that was enough. At the same time, I found that I was angry with a lot of people, and the majority of those people happened to be musicians. While I’m not going to talk about who I was angry at and why I was angry, I will say this: forgiveness, while difficult, is the first step to healing.

I learned later that forgiving someone doesn’t necessarily mean inviting them back into your life. Sometimes, it’s better to forgive, and not speak to them again. I learned that the hard way, too. But, releasing all of that negativity that I was holding on to put my head in a better space and made me more capable of handling my illness.

I mentioned a heartbreak earlier, and I want to say this about it – that wasn’t the last time I would feel that hurt over it, and some days I wish I could have done things differently, but if the situation had played out any other way in those few months, I wouldn’t be where I am now, in a career I absolutely love, working for someone I absolutely adore. I would never have even met the person I now see as such an important aspect of not only my career, but my life, if I hadn’t been at that concert in March and angry at the situation between me and the other. I am so thankful every day that I was at that concert and paid attention during the second opener.

Another thing that came out of being sick was my drive to pick up the pace on life, to stop waiting around for when the timing seems right and just go for it. This is how I got my job on Warped Tour this summer, this is how I messaged people about working for them, this is how I skyrocketed my career. I suddenly had a real place in the music industry, and I was building a real career. Moral of the story – stop waiting. Stop waiting to graduate college, stop waiting for an opportunity to be handed to you, stop waiting for “timing.” Good things don’t come to those who wait, good things come to those who work for it.

My summer was incredible in the music aspect of things. I traveled all over the North America for music. I spent time with good people, I made new friends, I fell more and more in love with being on the road, with touring, and with music. I got hired by one of my favorite artists, I began working at venues once I came back to Boston, I was deeper into music journalism than I had been before, and I was working a ton of freelance jobs all over the place. My health, while not great, was significantly better. The same heartbreak was there, but it was lessened. The forgiveness and the distraction helped. I knew that if it wasn’t for all of the things I thought were ruining my life, I wouldn’t be as happy as I was then, or as I am now.

There were plenty of aspects of my summer that weren’t incredible, however. The day after my last Warped Tour date in Indiana, I was angry at a boy and decided to last-minute apply for a freelance job that night in Chicago. I got it, and I thought to myself, “fine, don’t have time to see me? I’ll go do something better.” That same night, as I was working that freelance job, my phone got flooded with texts and calls. One of my best friends from high school had passed away. That night was an absolute whirlwind.

Julia was a light in my life and in the life of everyone she touched. And Julia loved music. Not only had she introduced me to some of my absolute favorite songs and had a passion for it as deep as anyone I’ve ever met in the industry, she was also pouring with talent herself. She had a voice that could chill an audience, genuinely the sound of angels. The next couple of days when I would get into my car, Shawn Mendes, her favorite artist, would automatically start playing, even though I hadn’t listened to him in months. I know in my heart that those were signs from her. Losing her was so hard, but I know she’s in a place where she’s happy now. If I hadn’t had music at that time, it would’ve been even harder.

Coming back to Boston and starting classes again was really hard for me. The first couple of nights I couldn’t sleep in my room alone because I kept having panic attacks. I slept in hotels, on my friend’s floors, anywhere that I wasn’t by myself. I felt like I shouldn’t be back at school, and in all honesty, I sometimes still feel that way. Music was trying to take over my entire life and it would have been so easy to let it, but I would have been disappointing a lot of people by not coming back, and maybe disappointing myself, too.

I got used to being back in school and, as I mentioned earlier, began working at venues to help stay involved in music. I was in a better place with everyone, I was in a better place with myself, and for the most part, I was happy. I wish I was on the road touring, but some things, I guess, do have to wait.

I was in a good place with everyone, until I wasn’t anymore. Back in 2017, I lost one of my favorite musicians and best friends, and I thought that that would be the last time I would ever lose my favorite music. I was wrong.

There are now two musicians in the entire world that I can’t listen to, not because the music isn’t there, but because I feel like it’s not my place anymore. Being heartbroken is one thing, but when the music that used to make you feel better is written by the same person who made you go from loving them to hating them in one conversation, that’s a completely different story. Sometimes I wish I would have just forgiven without letting them back into my life, because at least I would still have the music. I no longer have that anymore. Here’s how much I lost: I can barely listen to my 2018 Spotify Wrapped-Up playlist because it’s all them. Seeing that “you spent 49 hours with your favorite artist _____ this year” tore me apart.

What breaks my heart even more is that the album that this person wrote was the reason I got myself back into music after I lost my trust in it the first time. I can deal with losing the person, I can get over that. But losing the music is devastating. Even typing this out right now has me in tears. I’ve never missed songs so much.

The lesson I learned in forgiveness earlier in the year has really been testing me in November and December. I am trying to move forward without holding on to any resentment, but it is really, really hard. It’s hard for me to forgive again without any kind of acknowledgement from the other side. But I am trying. Needless to say, if they ever messaged me, I would still talk to them. I would be lying if I said I don’t want to hear from them. But I also know I probably never will, and I need to go on with my life on my own. I’m going to chase my own dreams. I just hope our dreams will cross paths again one day.

Somewhere along the line I picked up a new belief system that I’m not going to get too deep into because it doesn’t really have to do with music, but it has helped be tremendously and is part of the reason I am writing this. Instead of looking at life as “why is this happening to me?” I have learned to ask, “what lessons am I learning from this?”. I believe I have been given this specific life, with these specific people, and these specific situations in order to learn something I have been missing. And with that perspective, not only looking back at this year but at my entire life, I have learned to be more understanding, more grateful, and more accepting.

As I’m typing this, I’m lying in bed thinking about what’s next. I only have a few weeks left of the 2018, yet I still have so much to do. I’m flying back and forth from Boston and Chicago, working, traveling, catching up with old friends, making new memories. 2018 was terrible for my personal life, but wonderful for my career. I just hope that 2019 is filled with more opportunities, more successes, and most importantly, more love. If there’s one thing to take out of this, it’s that life is short - stop waiting around for something to happen and make it happen. In doing so you will find so much happiness and so much love.

2019 – as much as I’ve learned, please, I need a break. Just one good year. Please.

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