Originally from Austin, Texas, Jennie’s inherent nature is to create community — often hosting friends at her home. She sees art, too, as a form of kinship or hospitality, not expressing her own tastes, but pairing pure colors with the stories of others.

Meet Jennie Lou

A few weeks ago, my roommate and I prompted a few friends to attend the Clay Walker concert at a dancehall called, the “Grizzly Rose” in Denver. We bought general admission tickets with the only great expectations of having an enjoyable Friday night, singing along to classic Clay Walker songs with a decent view of his black hat, tight jeans and big smile.

But, not long after arriving, I was approached by a staff member who informed me Clay Walker wants girls (assuming this meant I was one of the only girls in the mix without a rhinestone covered tank-top and butterfly tattoos) on the front row and offered an “All-Access” pass to the front of the stage. Nonetheless, flattered and beyond excited, I agreed upon the terms that I could bring a few friends.

Apart from the five of us, there were only three other girls up-close and personal with the stage and eight band members. This meant great news for us, we had plennn-ty of space to stomp our boots, swing our hips and lasso our arms to a solid set of songs including, “Rumor Has It”, “I Can’t Sleep”, “Fall”, “What’s it to you”… Clay constantly came over and entertained our excitement, at one point singing about six inches from my face and asking me to assist him putting a Hawaiian lei over his head.

As Clay and his band finished the set and left the stage, it was late into the night and I was perfectly satisfied going home with my expectations already completely obliterated, or so I thought…

Before I could steer my boots to the door, he returned to the stage and announced with a twang he was just getting “warmed-up”. Beside ourselves with excitement, we continued our stomping and singing along to George Strait and Garth Brooks covers. After “Amarillo by Morning”, Clay stopped to inform the crowd he had heard from Garth Brooks recently and he knew he would not mind if he played us one of his “new songs”…he started playing a classic of all classics, “Friends in Low Places”. 

Mid-song chorus he stopped strumming his guitar and announced he had forgotten the words. In an instant his eyes met mine and said, “I know you know the lyrics to this one. I could use your help, get on up here!”. Somehow in utter shock, I pounced up on the stage, kept my cool and boldly sang into the microphone with Clay Walker himself. It was the night of a LIFETIME to say the least, and he even crowned me with the autographed cap on his head. As I stepped off a cloud, I landed on the floor again to a dozen women staring at the hat on my head, ready to pounce. 

“Hey, I didn’t mean to cause a big scene…” 

Needless to say, as I shuddered looking into the faces of these envious women, it made me revaluate my understanding of “expectations” and “disappointment”. So often we get trapped in a toxic tangle of expectations and severe disappointment when we approach anything from jobs, friendships, family, to a fun night attending a concert with friends. 

What if instead of convincing ourselves we know exactly how things should go, we actually approached life in gratitude for what is handed to us. Although I would definitely have been envious of the girl who got to dance on stage with Clay Walker, I hope I would also have been the girl who stood in the back, content with enjoying the show and thankful for friends and a fun Friday night. 

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