Is it possible to be human?

While at home on a Saturday night (while Matt and the guys are jamming down in Ocean City, MD), I spent my time trying to figure out ways to keep myself amused and occupied. Let's face it: after this past week of catching up on EVERYTHING that I needed to, tonight I was at a loss of what to do. So, as a way to keep myself busy, I turned a website that has never let me down: YouTube. And in turn, I decided to start looking up some obscure videos of my favorite actors........in particular, Seth Rogen.

Now I remember seeing Seth Rogen in several different movies and TV shows that I grew up watching in high school. When Dawson's Creek was a hit TV show, I remember he made a cameo in an episode playing the one-night-stand of one of the supporting characters. Re-watching those scenes, I now have a deeper appreciation for his brand of humor and the way he seems to deliver lines. While his characters seem to always be similar in their demeanor and comedic value, I do love how he brings a distinct part of himself to each role. As I kept watching, I located old clips of Freaks and Geeks, one of his first shows (with which he was part of a cast of some of my favorite new actors), as well as a video of his early performances at age 13. Nothing but positive and meaningful clips.........until I reach the papparazzi clips.

Unfortunately, the papparazzi have a very negative view of Seth Rogen. In one particular clip, as they catch him walking down the street after grabbing lunch, he refuses to speak to any of them or keeps limited contact. After their encounter, I watched videos of these guys saying how Seth was horrible at showing fan appreciation because all he wants to do is sell his product to you and then blow you off, just like any entertainer.

After this clip in particular, it made me think about why someone would act so cold and indifferent to the camera and the answer is simple: THEY ARE NORMAL PEOPLE! Even during or after a performance or an appearance, an entertainer is just a person like you or me. While their faces are plastered everywhere, I'm sure there's that want and desire to have some time away from the cameras and away from the public. They run and hide to just retain some form of sanity. In fact, they crave the need to be alone and be with their thoughts just like anyone else. Just because they are famous does not make their needs any different from Joe Regular.  

I can relate in this instance, as even in the cover band world, the crowd gets so engrossed in the show that when all is said and done, their one hope is that the band is willing to party afterwards and continue giving of themselves. Sometimes, this is a possibility, as some fans are very down to earth and just want to hang out. Unfortunately, this is not the case all the time. I have encountered the fans that, for a lack of better phrasing, practically throw themselves onto the guys, despite wedding rings or girlfriends. Believe me, I've seen everything from girls blatantly inviting band members back to their rooms (with their spouses there and excluded from the invite) to girls who will grab one of the guys and force themself onto them.

Yet, just like any performer, it's a show.....and like any entertainer, they try to sell their product when they're in "show" mode. After that, however, all of the band members just have the opportunity to be normal people. Granted, the performance makes them look larger than life, yet they're just human. And like all humans, there's a need (and desire) to be normal.

~Jenny Rockstar


The Power of a Smile

In my current job as a school photographer, it's my job to get the kiddies (and the faculty) to crack a smile when I take their picture. Sometimes I've been successful in this venture......sometimes not so much as the kid or teacher gives me that reminder that "they don't smile." In fact, I'll bet some of them wonder why I stress the importance of that smile. As for me, you can tell it doesn't take much to get me to crack a smile for the camera.

Frankly, it doesn't matter to me what they do in their school picture, just so long as they pose nicely and do the few, simple moves that I ask of them. I need to be able to do my job effectively so that they feel it's satisfactory to show to everyone else. But when it comes down to it, there's just that something warms me inside the minute I know that that smile was made for me (or by me). Like last week, I was taking pictures of six little preschooler girls at an academy......and they were adorable! Each one came up to me, posed perfectly, gave me their best smile, then went back to sit with their class. After calling each of them by name and interacting, they inquired my first name. I said, "my name is Jennifer," which was followed by the teacher saying, "say thank you to Miss Jennifer." In unison, they thanked me.....and I was reminded of why I love children! Just that moment that they gave me one extra smile after the camera was turned off reminded me that it's those simple moments that mean the most.

Now in the world of a rockstar, that smile still applies to my life. Since I love taking pictures at shows, I enjoy the moments where I watch the guys take in the craziness of the crowd, the intensity of a song, and smile in that moment, because I know what's on their mind. It's knowing that even in that small frame of time, they've reached their crowd.......that "it" factor that reminds them of why they got into doing music in the first place. Sometimes, it even warrants some of the funniest onstage antics I have ever seen and I can't help but be grateful to capture that very instance with a camera. Since I'm always in the midst of that crowd when they're playing, I take in that energy and let it wash over me.......breathing in that moment with them. And just like them, I give into that feeling and all the emotions that follow with it.

It's what drives me to be at shows as much as I do......aside from the opportunity to hang out with all of the new friends I've made along the way! Here's me with my friend Melissa at the Whiskey Bar in Hoboken. While I may not get to see her as much (since she lives so far away), I always enjoy knowing that when we hang out, there's a lot of laughter, stories, and good energy. It has always been said that when you are a positive person and you surround yourself with even more positivity, that that positive energy multiplies exponentially.......and it's wonderful!

Life is full of simple pleasures and I believe that a smile is one of them. Whether it be the child who looks up at me and gives me the best picture......or a friendly face onstage or in the crowd......even the way Matt smiles at me while he's up on stage watching me have a good time, all of it has a profound and positive effect on me. Smiling is the simplest form of showing someone that you're happy and enjoying their company.....or just that when they're around it makes you light up! So to smiling, I salute you.

~Jenny Rockstar~


Finding my voice......

I've come to the conclusion that every now and then, even a rockstar needs a break! On occasion, I have been known to miss a show or two in exchange for Matt to have a "boys weekend" with the band. And while at times it hurts me a little that I'll be missing him (and his show), it gives me the perfect opportunity to relax and reflect on just how lucky I truly am.

Before the band scene majorly factored into my life, one would be hard pressed to find me out at a show. In fact, one would be hard pressed to find me anywhere without my ex. As a West Point cadet, Kyle (my ex) always had to follow certain rules and regulations. I can distinctly remember one weekend where I waited nearly 90 minutes in a parking lot until he was released by his commanding officers. Needless to say, I was not happy about it, but I learned to adapt to these rules and regulations myself. It was almost as though I was living his lifestyle with him......only from outside the barracks of West Point.

We did have some wonderful moments. Aside from our random trips to the Jersey Shore, California, and a few to PA and Boston, we tried to get out and do small fun things with one another. I can remember some of our best memories being the ones where we found a photo booth on the Seaside boardwalk and just had fun being silly! The picture on the right was one I would consider one of our better moments together......we were always goofing off when in a good mood. In fact, just looking at this picture makes me smile a little, because it reminds me that even though we weren't right for one another, we still did make each other happy at one point. It wasn't always fighting or belittling one another. We genuinely did want to make things work and have as much fun as we could along the way.

Unfortunately, I also sacrificed a lot, especially with seeing any of my friends, my family, even having to skip out on huge family events, if it meant I got to spend some more time with Kyle. It also meant a complete lifestyle change for me as those little pieces of what made me who I am started to slip away. I watched more Fox News, dressed a little more conservatively, and learned that supporting the troops also meant supporting our current president (even though I think that he lacked the ability to lead our country). My opinions became very muted at this time, because anything against Kyle's beliefs meant I was against making the relationship work. He disliked my friends and as a result I would spend less time with them. Instead, I fought more with my friends, cut people off who should have never been cut off in the first place, and lost "Jenn" somewhere in that mix.

If there's one thing I now understand, being alone as an Army girlfriend was one of the loneliest existences one could ever face. I can't remember a day where I didn't cry myself to sleep or worry about the future of my relationship. And I couldn't even talk to other Army spouses without Kyle having an issue. It was isolating and cold feeling like that. I needed warmth and love beyond all other things............and it was lacking. The picture below on the right was taken about a month after Kyle broke up with me........I wasn't ready to face life. I wanted to hide, especially after the way I had isolated myself from everyone. Luckily enough, when I really needed them, my friends were there for me, without question. I'm grateful that they stayed in my life.

Looking back on it all, I was determined that in my next relationship, I would not only try and give more time to my friends, but also to the person I was with. I wanted to be able to spend time with them whenever I wanted to, without any restrictions in my way. It was also important to find someone who would want me as I am, not who they imagined me to be. Because if I couldn't be myself, then who was I, really? So I spent more time going out with everyone.....and on those days that I needed to cry, my friends allowed me to get it all out and then they would take me out for a nice relaxing night. After a while, I forgot what a night by myself felt like, since it always felt like everyone took turns kidnapping me for a little while. All I wanted was to return to those moments where I felt the most alive.......and happy. I needed to get back into the music scene by any means necessary, no matter what. It was where I felt alive and happy and safe, away from anything that reminded me of my past relationship and the path it had taken me down. I needed to find the girl that danced to the beat of her own drum.

I wondered where this girl had gone for so long.......and why it took four years of a bad relationship to rediscover that this was where I was most at home. Then I realized I had silenced her, just to make myself what someone else wanted me to be. And the funny thing is, when Kyle and I talked about it and I told him how much I compromised and sacrificed, he told me he would have rather me been myself instead of changing......when clearly at the time he seemed to prefer the opposite of that. But it didn't matter anymore. I needed to go down my own path for a while and figure things out. There was no more "us"......we were now just Jenn and Kyle, two people who were once right for one another, but drifted down two different paths.

A few months later, after taking some time doing whatever I wanted to do, Matt came into my life.......and as they say, the rest is history! Without that journey, I'm sure I wouldn't be the same person I am now. And while I do still get sad missing certain shows, I also know that it reminds me to appreciate the journey.

~Jenny Rockstar~


In the beginning.......

It all started with a cover band show.
And what amazes me before I really got into the scene was that I could've cared less about it. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE music, but I was more about the original songs and what they had to offer. While I have to admit now it's kinda cool that I see bands who play all my favorite songs from childhood (and adulthood), at the time I felt that cover bands were a waste of my time.

In fact, I felt they were a COMPLETE waste of my time! A recent college graduate, engaged to my West Point sweetheart, I was ready to embrace being an Army Wife. I had no time to waste on frivolous things like going to the club or a bar for amusement. I had to worry about formals and deployment dates. It felt like living in a constant state of panic, because here I was, only 22 years old, having to worry about my fiancee never coming home from his deployment. While it was a little less than two years off, it scared me senseless. Never had I had to worry about adult responsibilities of this caliber. I was still focused on my new full-time job and making ends meet as I moved out of my house.

I was soon to find out post-West Point that my life was not going to go in the direction I had thought. Just after a year of being engaged and four years together, my ex ended our relationship while posted at Fort Sill in OK. There was no conversation, no interaction of any kind. Just a text message explaining that he did not feel the way a future husband should feel about his future wife. The pain in the end tore me apart in ways I refuse to re-hash here, but I know ended up better for me. I started to hang out with friends more and re-connect with the world I had come to let go of for so long. And when I started to go back to seeing cover bands, I felt at home.

As I learned, time changes perspective, people come and go, and even I started to respect and admire the musicians who took their time to play my favorite songs. In fact, if it hadn't been for returning to shows, I don't think I would have been dating my current boyfriend, Matt. That's him, kissing my face. Strangely enough, he's a cover band musician himself, performing in one of the biggest cover bands in NJ. I don't know where I would be if it had not been for his ability to remind me that while one door closes, another one opens right before you. I would not be the person I am today had it not been for him. Where my dreams in my previous relationship were encouraged then discouraged, Matt has always supported anything that I decided I wanted to do in my life and because of that, I've found my niche.

And after almost a year of my boyfriend performing in his current band, I decided to start a blog to process all those thoughts and moments that I've learned and experienced. Whether it be the crazy girls who come out and drunkenly jump out on stage, to onstage antics that provide much laughter and fun, there's always something to be learned from each experience I have had in this current chapter of my life!
And so yes, while it all started with a cover band, I've gained so much more than that! I've had the opportunity of a lifetime to make several new friends, travel to places that I never thought I would go, and partake in those special moments that only those from within the "family" can only appreciate and love. I'm grateful that for once in my life, I opened my eyes to new experiences and traveled outside of that comfort zone I had grown accustomed to. I hope that maybe, just maybe, you'll get to see the world through my eyes......and maybe it'll teach you new and exciting things, just like it taught me.
So starts a new chapter........
~Jenny Rockstar~