A Love Letter to Ariana Grande
The “Thank U, Next” video is everything I ever hoped for. The looks, the set design, the cameos, and the nostalgia all had me grinning like a maniac. Somehow, you continuously exceed my expectations and keep establishing a higher standard for yourself and all other artists. But, more importantly, you’ve taught me how to find strength in my pain. You’ve experienced more trauma than any one person should ever have to go through, in the public eye no less, and yet you continue to come out stronger than ever. In an industry that promotes the fallacy of perfection, you’ve been so honest about your struggle. Your openness and dedication to spreading love have been a major source of enlightenment for me, so I want to take the time to thank you for a couple things.
Thank you for your vulnerability. I deeply appreciate how honest you are about your mental health. Your efforts to normalize therapy do not go unnoticed. I admire that you choose to share parts of your mental health journey because it shows us that we can’t be strong all the time and that’s completely okay. Pain is an inevitable part of life. In order to grow from it, we must validate and face the pain because true strength is borne from a willingness to be vulnerable. We, as humans, are emotional creatures, and you, Ariana, have taught me that we should be listening to our emotions, not shutting them out.
Thank you for your resilience. Through it all, you’ve never let fear take control of you or your happiness. You continue to do what you love and send messages of positivity to your fans. Despite the negativity that is thrown at you, your inner strength always rises to the top, and your music is a clear example of your tenacity. Witnessing your perseverance has taught me that I am in control of my life, that I have the power to look fear in the eye and say, “You’re not gonna win this time.”
Thank you for your positive light. I cannot even begin to fathom how much pain you’ve endured in your life, but you never seem to let the darkness consume you. It would be easy to become disillusioned with the state of the world. However, you work so hard to continue living your dreams and supporting those around you. Positivity is a choice and you actively make that choice everyday.
Ariana, you are an inspiration to me and countless others. Learning to say “Thank U, Next” has changed my life and is a gift I can never truly repay. Thank you for being who you are.
Julia Eunji Choi