Miranda Kenneally

Mexican Food Cures Writer's Block

Bright Before Sunrise blog tour: One Night that Changed Me

Bright Before Sunrise - 300 dpiI’m so excited for Tiffany Schmidt, whose book BRIGHT BEFORE SUNRISE came out this week! Here’s what it’s about:

Jonah and Brighton are about to have the most awkwardly awful night of their lives. For Jonah, every aspect of his new life reminds him of what he has had to give up. All he wants is to be left alone. Brighton is popular, pretty, and always there to help anyone . . . but has no idea of what she wants for herself. Her seemingly perfect life is marred only by Jonah, the one person who won’t give her the time of day, but also makes her feel, well, something. So when they are repeatedly thrown together over the course of one night, anything can—and does—happen. Told in alternating chapters, this poignant, beautiful novel’s energy and tension, amidst the humor and romance, builds to a new beginning of self-acceptance and hope.

So, in celebration of Tiffany’s book, I am writing about one night that changed my life. When I was 16, a friend from another city gave me a ticket to an Aerosmith concert in Nashville. My friend wanted me to meet her there. I had several problems, most notably 1) I had no ride to the concert, as my parents had told me I wasn’t a good enough driver to drive over an hour to Nashville at night. 2) It was a school night. 3) I had a soccer game the night of the concert.

But I just had to go! This was Aerosmith. Love in an Elevator! I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing! Sweet Emotion!

So, I told my parents I needed to borrow their car to go to a church event. Lie! I phoned it in at my soccer game and jetted out of there as soon as it was over. I barely played hard because all I could concentrate on was the concert. My team lost to a team we should not have lost to.

I made it to the concert, but this was before the age of cell phones, so I never even found my friend. I saw two girls from school, so I ended up sitting with them. We went out to Waffle House afterwards, where we met LeAnn Rimes, who wasn’t very nice to us. We got her autograph on a Waffle House napkin, though.

The concert ended up being great, but when I look back on that night, I don’t immediately think about the music blaring or letting go and dancing in circles or the smell of weed wafting in the air. I remember the aftermath.

When I got home at 2am, my parents knew I hadn’t been at a church event. I was grounded for a couple weeks. That had never happened to me before.

But that wasn’t what changed me. The next day, my soccer coach yelled at me and cried because I’d played so badly. I couldn’t believe she cried.

I think that was the first time I realized that my actions affected the feelings of other people. When my soccer coach cried, she told me that she worked hard trying to help our team win, and I hadn’t cared at all: all I cared about was the concert. For her, it stunk that she stayed after school every day of the week with my team, missing out on time she could’ve been spending with her husband. What did any of her hard work matter if I didn’t try hard?

I wish that when I look back on the night I would feel excitement, but all I feel is shame. I learned that if I want great memories to be strong in my mind, they can’t be tainted by lies or hurt.

They have to be true.

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