Sitting in a little NY cafe, watching the workers bustle back and forth.  Someone making omelettes, one at the register, one running about brewing coffee, baking muffins, and perfecting pastry displays. Another is cleaning and stocking shelves, somewhere in the back metal bowls and pans are clattering about, and every now and then the distinct sound of salsa music makes its way through the noise. 
They've clearly done all of this before. 

It's 6AM, yet they are happily working, and even laughing with each other! Which, if you've been in my life for any length of time, you know this is indeed an anomaly to me. 
Thanks to my 3-years of high school Spanish, and my sister Sarah, I'm able to decipher enough of their "secret" language to discover they are all probably related (the managers, I'm guessing, are brother and sister as they banter about who is going to bring "mama" breakfast). Although one could simply look at them to conclude that every single person behind that counter is indeed part of one, big family. 

I wonder if this cafe was their dream? It is spotless and clearly well cared for. There is not one apathetic worker among them. The house specialty seems to be omelettes (perhaps like "mama" used to make?) and pastries (old family recipes?) but they have a well thought out menu which advertises a delicious array of edible offerings to the hungry public. 
One by one customers come in, about 5 minutes in between each one. An order of coffee here, a bagel there, and a fresh, steaming, cheesy omelette every now and then. The workers like a machine anticipating the imminent kick into full gear...

As I sit in my quiet corner, nursing my french vanilla coffee, staring blankly ahead, still wondering how they are all so darn happy, and trying to overcome my usual morning mind fog, I can't help but reminisce about my history with this particular city... 

A bright eyed, beautiful, tall, young lady once believed this was going to be my big start, the chance to get my dream, my music career was supposed to kick off here, and right now I'm supposed to be starring alongside Aaron Lazar in some fantastical new musical on The Great White Way!

Of course, I will always wonder what could have been here. Wondering is the blessing and curse of a perfectionist and a dreamer, but as one who is well versed in how her mind palace operates, I've learned not to live there. The road of wondering quickly becomes regret and before you know it you've taken a sharp left turn over the cliffs of self-loathing and doubt. 

This time though, my wondering has brought me to contentment with the life I lead now. 

I have started the race, and am experiencing little victories and dreams every day. I DO have a music career, one that is slowly, but surely thriving, and I am starring as the leading lady of my own life every day alongside my amazing, supportive husband. 

Not only is my outward musical expression growing and gaining recognition, but my inner music is finally finding and settling into its own voice. 

I've noticed that I've begun to sing again. 

I know what you're thinking, and, YES, of course I SING! It's my job so to speak, but THIS, this is different. 
It's like discovering a secret treasure that you thought was lost to you forever. I am not performing the obligatory warm- ups, or rehearsing a song, or playing a gig, but music is once again overflowing within me. When I would once go about my business quietly thinking and stressing and analyzing every career move and decision, I am instead happily humming and scatting out new and familiar tunes. 

My eyes are shining brightly with smile creases in each corner instead of dimming with intensity and furrowing inward giving away an internal frown. I can not pinpoint where this change started, but it has indeed begun. 

The cafe is bustling now. They've started blaring the once faint salsa music.  Lines of customers at each station. Money and breakfast goods passing quickly between hands. Business men and women with phones in hand, Bright eyed young ladies, ambitious young gentlemen, mothers, fathers, children, an elderly couple decides to sit and enjoy.
The family business thrives on. 

All gears are fully functional and this well oiled machine welcomes the fast-pace with a grin. They're ready, because they know those who are hungry will come. They know that their omelettes and pastries will always be in demand. Perhaps there is another breakfast joint across the street, but they have found their specialty, they've practiced and perfected it, and they offer it day after day with confidence. 

After all, a body needs food like a soul needs music. 

No matter where I chose to set up shop. I'm learning that hungry souls will find me. They'll hear my music, and they'll come.

So I practice, persist, and perfect being ME, and I anticipate the day when I get to feed the masses. 



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