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How a Music Festival Taught Me Self-Love

My first relationship was not like it is in the movies. But I found self-love in a sea of thousands through thumping bass in New York City.

Photo by danny howe on Unsplash

2017 was an interesting time in my life.

I was a sophomore in college, finding myself in a big city, but lost in a new relationship. At this time, I felt as if my relationship defined me. It’s how people knew me—as “his girl.” I couldn’t even walk to class alone without people assuming that we’d broken up. Behind the scenes, though, I was slowly suffocating in my own battle of self-doubt and wondering if I could even function without my first relationship.

However, pre-toxic relationship, I was scrolling through Instagram. The only men on my mind were Chance the Rapper and Logic. I’d immersed myself in all things rap culture, and wasn’t showing any signs of coming up for air. It was as if the stars had aligned the moment I saw Chance’s post about the 2017 Governor's Ball in New York City. There it was: The infamous Gov Ball poster, advertising the recently released lineup of artists across all genres, including both Chance the Rapper and Logic, as well as Lorde, Flume, and Wu-Tang Clan, to name a few. My world slowed. Was I dreaming? Was it really possible to see all of my favorite artists in one location over the span of three days? Would my summer really be like the Coachella promotional videos?

Indeed, it would.

With no obligations like having to check in with another human every hour, my heart raced as I bought the tickets. I had no plan of how I was going to get to New York, where I was going to stay, or what method I was going to use to tell my mom that $300 had disappeared from my account to be put toward my ultimate summer concert.

Skip ahead to June and questions arose from friends asking me, “What about him? You’re leaving him behind?!” To which I replied, “YES! He is a grown man and this is something for me.”

At the end of the school year, I overpacked my bags and headed to NYC. New York has always had a special place in my heart. From the memories of eating at the American Girl Cafe to watching Broadway shows in the nosebleeds, New York City is like an escape for me. New York has been there throughout the many stages of my life, the good and the bad.

The city was boiling. With temperatures over 90 degrees, I’m pretty sure an egg could’ve been cooked on the asphalt. (Kylie Jenner tried it once.) And for the first time since making things official with my first ever boyfriend, I was not attached to him. The city was mine for the taking, where no one knew my name or my story. I’d be in a sea of thousands, enjoying music and living my best life.

Over the three days, I had to pinch myself that this was the life I was living. On day one, I saw Lorde, Flume, and Chance the Rapper. On day two, Childish Gambino gave me life. Finally, on day three, Logic and Wiz Khalifa performed back-to-back and I’m pretty sure I got some secondhand smoke inhalation from all the weed that was in the air. But over those three days, I didn’t have to explain where I was or who I was with. Frankly, my boyfriend didn’t even text or call me the entire time, claiming days later that he didn’t want to be annoying or smothering. But in those three days, I learned that a relationship doesn’t shape you.

A relationship is just a piece of you that you can carry or leave behind at any time.

Months later, I and said boy would breakup in a nasty feud after he accused me of being lazy and hounded me for spending money on once-in-a-lifetime experiences like the Governor's Ball. There’s nothing that I would change about that weekend. Other than possibly breaking up with him prior to the concert to avoid the most draining arguments of my life.

June 2017 taught me how to love myself. I was proud of myself for saving my money for a moment like this. I was proud of myself for going ahead to the concert without him. I was proud of myself for not holding back. The memories I made at Gov Ball 2017 are some that I will cherish for the rest of my life because he wasn’t in them. And that is the last time a man will complain about how much I spend on concerts.

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How a Music Festival Taught Me Self-Love
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