Look What You've Done.
Ten years ago, Aubrey Drake Graham released his first album called So Far Gone.
Ten years ago, I won my first pageant, Miss India New York.
I remember working at Abercrombie on 5th avenue with my ripped low rise jeans, white tank tops, blue hoodies, leather jacket, and combat boots with flip flops and a book in my bag..and tbh a bottle of Jack too. I'd be running from my shift, to class, then rehearsal; my brother was doing construction on the house, he'd just proposed and wanted to ensure that he brought his lady to live in a nice space.
Usually, he'd be the one driving me around, but he knew I could handle myself without him, and instead he would offer me a couple bucks when I was heading out to the subway.
Most of the boys I knew didn't like me getting in the subway. We grew up together, they were looking out for their homie, so whenever I needed a ride there was one.
I'd get into the Hondas, they smelled of Axe and cigarettes. I'd yell over Drake blasting through their speakers, "Will you ever stop?! It's bad for you and... UGGH!!! it makes me sick!"
They would laugh and say something like they appreciate how I always look out, and then tell me to listen to the new playlist they burned, and if I liked it I could keep it. I never kept it, UNLESS they made a duplicate for me, I didn't want them to have to listen to the radio until they got home.
I'd be practicing my runway walk like a psycho, walking around the house in heels because the pageant trainer said there was no hope for me; I didn't fuck around with heels so how was I supposed to know how to move in this horrible thing. I had songs like "Little Bit", "Best I Ever Had", and "Uptown" playing through my laptop speakers.
On my way back home from rehearsal, "8pm is too late for you to get on the train, gimme ten minutes, I'll scoop you."
I'd always bring snacks because everyone loves a samosa or two, its the least I could do for consideration.
Open the car door, "Hey there pretty girl, you know exactly what you got, and I don't blame you at all...Houstatlantavegas... she doesn't ever worry, if she wants it, she'll get it on her own, she knows there's more to life...Houstatlantavegas... Priya, this one reminds me of you, Houstatlantavegas."
Saturday, November 14th, 2009 I was crowned Miss India New York. On Wednesday, November 18th homie pulls up on 5th ave, after my shift at Abercrombie. I open the car door, "Yo, look what I found at Apna Bazaar. Congrats pretty girl."
There was my face plastered on the cover of Desi Talk newspaper, I throw it back at him, "YO! Ew! That's so gross!"
He turns up the volume..
"It's about like 11 pm and you just rolling through the city...
It feels like everything just moving slow.
Let's take my time,
I pace it baby, yeah I'm gone."
He tells me to check the backseat, he brought me some Halal Guys.
"You wanna go straight home? Or you got some rehearsal or something?"
I didn't have rehearsal, I had to go to the mall, I needed some stuff for my trip to Tampa, Florida to compete in Miss India USA.
"You're gonna bag it at that one too, I dunno why you always so stressed out about everything. Who you texting? You know, one day you're gonna have to pick one, right?"
I placed top ten, won Miss Congeniality, landed Monday morning, went straight to class.
"Hey Priya, how did the pageant go?"
I told him how it went.
"I made this cd for you, lemme know what you think?"
"Sure." I said.
I dropped it in my bag, I had a few others to listen to, and none of these boys realized I only listened to Rock n' Roll and EDM; I was really going out of my way to listen to these 12 track CDs of only hip hop, but I did look forward to hearing some of this new kid, Drake... he was on all the mixes.
Today, ten years later, I look back and see that I was so focused on my goals I barely recognized what these boys were doing.
I type this whilst listening to "Unstoppable".
"Truly you're bad enough that ya'll don't even need it.
You could show up at the party on dirty public transit
And I guarantee the cameraman will still be snappin' candids of you and your posse partying Drinking what you get handed with your Virgin Island tans, all looking like you just landed..."
That's some shit they would say.
They all still hit me up.
Some days, we bump into each other on my run.
Sometimes, its a Saturday night text, late night text.
Sometimes its a DM saying, "You always so hard on yourself, stay beautiful."
Other times its a, "Let's catch up and grab a drink, you still like Jack?"
They all still like Drake.
And, no, I don't drink Jack.
I feel like I grew up with Drake.
2010, I am a full fledged pageant girl, Drake released Thank Me Later, I am also a full fledged Drake fan.
Walking to the subway in my heels for my last semester of classes, I hear the boys, "Oh you fancy, huh?"
Flying to Suriname for an appearance at Miss India Suriname,
I text, "Know I used to be around more, but you should miss me a little when I'm gone."
"Alright Drake, safe flight, call me when you land." he'd say.
Bouncing around the city, late night, he picks me up,
"Its more than just a mission,
You hear but you don't listen,
You better pay attention,
And get what you been missing.
I better find your loving.
I better find your heart."
In 2011, after competing in the Miss India Worldwide pageant and placing 2nd runner up and Miss Photogenic, I land in JFK from Dubai.
Incoming text, "Congrats, you knew I knew you'd kill it since the first time I saw you on a stage."
Put my headphones on,
"I swear it feels like the last few nights we've been everywhere and back,
but I just can't remember it all.
What am I doing? What am I doing?
Oh yeah, thats what I'm doing me. I'm doing me.
I'm living life right now, man.
And this is what I'ma do till its over."
I guess you could say I chose one. I can't lie, I wasn't too committed, with one foot out the door at all times. When they noticed that I "chose one", Marvin's Room was the Youtube link I received on FB messenger.
When they show up in front of my house, Saturday night, late night, talking some late night shit... I'd be listening to Headlines, studying... "cause I live like this, it isn't just a hobby like that."
Met "the one", the one I didn't have my foot out of the door with, and we danced to Hold on, We're Going Home in the kitchen while eating nachos and sipping Jameson.
Though he was the one I prayed for, I can't say that I was in love, but I loved him.
All of our days were filled jokes, we made each other's "Hotline Bling" with IMGUR and Reddit updates.
Evenings and weekends we would dance the night away,
"All the energy that you bring to me.
My last girl would tear me apart...
Do things when you want me to like controlla, controlla, controlla.
Summer Sixteen was amazing, I got to see Drake in concert for my birthday.
One random Monday night we broke up, and this was the moment I fully accepted that I loved Drake.
I would drop my sister to work every morning, and as I hopped into the car, ready to spill the details, the wonderful rhythm of "Passionfruit" hit my soul and I found More Life.
Haha, see what I did there.
So there I was jamming out to the beat, and my sister was like," UM! Didn't you get dumped?"
I said, "But aren't you hearing this sick beat, dude the smooth rhythm. I'll tell you about the break up later, hey Google, what song is this?"
Got home, and for the next few months, "Passionfruit" was on replay, I am this song personified.
"Seeing you got ritualistic
Cleansing my soul of addiction for now
'Cause I'm fallin' apart"
To this day, it is THE song that flips my mood, with the reality hitting lyrics, and smooth energy.
"Nonstop" is a song that really fueled my workouts while I worked on my revenge body.
"I'm Upset" powered me through accepting that I feel things, while I ran in below freezing weather.
While I build the life I dream of, it is so much fun to look back on these little moments of my life that have shaped me emotionally, and listen to Drake singing along; an audible journal, I can simply pick a song, and remember the feeling when...
I think about my crown, I think about how focused I was, I think about being vulnerable. I think about my heart taking a blow, I think about picking up and dusting off.
I think about falling down again, I think about the ice melting.
And, I think:
"Is this shit real, should I pinch you?
After all the things that we been through.
I got you.
Look what you've done.
You knew that I was gonna be something, when you stressed out, or you need something,
I got you."