Las Vegas Travel Diary

As you might have seen on my Instagram, I was in fabulous Las Vegas last week. Randomly, and I mean, randomly, I’ve been going to Vegas ever since I was a little girl, to visit my mom’s aunt and then later, after her aunt passed away, my parents bought her house. We used to vacation there for March break and shit.

K, it’s a long story.

Fortunately, about 15 years ago, the best vocal coach in Las Vegas moved in across the street. Let me be frank. I’ve been involved in music in one way or another my whole life. So, for some of you, my proclamation to start singing again might sound like I got hit on the side of the head with a makeup palette. Well, that never happened, no matter how much histrionic goes into my beauty videos.

You see, my story is complicated. I love to sing. In fact, there is nothing I love more in the world than singing. You know when people say that we all have a purpose? I’ve always known that my life’s purpose is to sing. When I sing, I feel complete in a way that I have never ever felt doing anything else. However, I was emotionally abused by my choir conductor when I was thirteen years old, and I lost my voice (figuratively and literally). I’m not here to point fingers, anyone who was in that choir will know of the abusive methods that were once used to keep the choir running in tip top shape. The fear she instilled in me after many encounters (one of which she forced me to meet her in private so I could show her all the clothing I was planning on bringing on tour with me, and try them on in front of her, so she could make sure that my newfound boobs and ass weren’t highlighted, otherwise I wouldn’t be allowed on tour). My hands are shaking as I write this.

She made me afraid to speak, let alone sing. And she would praise everyone except me. She would yell at me, single me out. Because I was Italian. I wasn’t white enough for her standards. I didn’t go to Havergal. I was not worthy. No matter how much I loved to sing, the fear inside of me slowly began to cripple me. Every time I would go to open my mouth to sing in front on anyone, I would choke. For a few years after the choir, I tried. I took classical voice lessons at the RCM. I even went to audition to be part of the music program at UofT and barely made it out of my audition alive. I couldn’t project. I lost it.

Breathe, Justine.

My heart is shaking as I write this.

I began to tell myself a narrative: Even though I know my true purpose is to sing, I must be OK with not ever achieving it in this lifetime. I’m just not ever going to be rid of the fear, so, pick something else.

This is the story I’ve said over and over to myself for the past 15 years.

Well, as you all know, a few months ago, Gabby Bernstein came into my life. As much as I love blogging and taking pictures and working with cool brands, something inside of me was at a breaking point. Everything in life happens for a reason and I am learning that the journey is supposed to be exactly as it is. Anyway, I started Gabby’s miracle plan hoping that I would find some inner peace so I could go on in my current career. So I could be more confident. That’s really all I was hoping to get out of it.

I never even thought about singing.

Well, I finished Gabby’s miracle plan. I forgave everyone in my life, including my choir conductor, and cleared all the fear in my life. And a funny thing happened. When I cleared the fear, the only thing left was my purpose. My purpose is love. The love I have inside of me is inextricably bound to my voice. For me, singing is love. Singing is my purpose because love is my purpose.

So, you see, there isn’t anything in the world that has made more sense than to make music. This is my journey. This is my story. And I hope you all stick around for the ride. Because I’ve never been more sure of anything in my life before. And don’t worry, my blog isn’t going anywhere! I love writing almost as much as I love singing – I am a lyricist. It all goes hand in hand.

I went to Vegas to take a few lessons with my vocal coach, who still lives across the street. It was amazing to reconnect with him. And he’s super excited for me, which means the world. It’s never too late to follow your dreams and I hope I can be an inspiration to all of you to follow your dreams!

Love you all!

xoxo

Hope you enjoy some more pics from my time in Vegas with my mom!

20 Comments

  1. Sirena Abalian
    April 19, 2017 / 5:24 pm

    Hi Justine,
    I just found your blog about a week ago when searching for Toronto bloggers and I absolutely love your writing style and how your smile is so infectious! Reading this blog post hit home for me in a lot of ways and I really appreciate that you were able to move past your anxieties and write it all out (I know how difficult that can be). Nevertheless, I am taking a similar leap of faith and moving to Toronto in a couple of months to pursue something way out of my comfort zone and knowing that amazing women like you are killing it makes me feel so empowered!
    Wishing you the best and sending so much love <3
    @sirena__a

    • Justine Iaboni
      April 23, 2017 / 5:37 pm

      Hi Sirena!
      This is such a sweet comment to read. I am so happy you are inspired to do something risky like move to Toronto! You’re going to love this city. I wish you so so so so much luck. Just remember to stay true to yourself.
      Sending you lots of love. Thank you so much for your support it means the world.
      xoxo J

  2. April 19, 2017 / 6:16 pm

    um wow Justine!! for as long as I have known you and Alex I didnt even know this beautiful and yet powerful story! Thank YOU for sharing and for giving others hope and inspiration to follow their dreams. Best of luck to you in this new but not so new journey! Will be rooting for ya!! xoxo -Yvette

    • Justine Iaboni
      April 23, 2017 / 5:37 pm

      Thanks so much, Yvette. I am so excited for this next chapter in my life!!!!! xoxo J

  3. April 19, 2017 / 7:33 pm

    First off, gorgeous pics! Secondly, I’m excited to see how your next life chapter will unfold! Baby got her groove back!

    Xo, Nathalie

    • Justine Iaboni
      April 23, 2017 / 5:38 pm

      Totally getting my groove back. lol Thanks for stopping by to read this. xoxoxo J

  4. April 19, 2017 / 8:32 pm

    You go girl!!! It takes a lot of courage to follow your dreams and even more courage to share it with all of us (well because it makes it more real!) hope it works out for you and can’t wait to follow along!

    • Justine Iaboni
      April 23, 2017 / 5:39 pm

      Thank you so so much, Mary. You don’t know how much your support means to me (everything!). I am so embarrassed that I got sidetracked from my goals but there is no time like the present. Sometimes, you need to do what you don’t like, to realize that it’s not working.

  5. Lauren
    April 19, 2017 / 8:36 pm

    Super inspiring! I was working at the bank for over 5 years and decided to quit and take over my family business sometimes the risk is worth the reward!! Could I have the name of this amazing book you read?? xo

    • Justine Iaboni
      April 23, 2017 / 5:40 pm

      You go girl! That’s amazing to hear your story too. It’s always so hard to be in these liminal spaces but I have been here before, and know that there is only one way—— up!

      The book is called: May Cause Miracles by Gabrielle Bernstein.

      Thanks for stopping by! xoxo J

  6. April 20, 2017 / 5:10 pm

    Wow, what a powerful story. I’m so sorry that happened to you. Emotional abuse is such a beast. I’m so glad you’ve been able to forgive this person. I also love how you talked about going into your Gabby B. readings with one expectation and coming out on the other side with something completely different; you know what they say about the best laid plans. I guess I finally need to get one of her books!

    Sending so much digital love xoxo

    ps: awesome pics too

    • Justine Iaboni
      April 23, 2017 / 5:42 pm

      Thank you, Joce! I am so so so so so excited for these next few months. I feel like I’m jumping off a cliff but in the most peaceful and confident way possible. Seriously, if it wasn’t for people like you, I would not have kept going as long as I have in this whole blogosphere. Part of me is like, fuck. I owe it to my followers, readers, friends, family, strangers, to give them a piece of my heart. Not spending so much of my time and energy on sponsored posts, etc. Like, sure, we need to make money – but at what cost? There’s more than this.

      Thank you for being there for me, girl. It means more to me than you will ever know.

      xo J

  7. Mary
    April 20, 2017 / 5:38 pm

    Amazing and so inspirational. Inspires me to follow my dreams. From one Italian to another, I look forward to watching you succeed.

    • Justine Iaboni
      April 23, 2017 / 5:43 pm

      Thank you. I mean it from the bottom of my heart. I hope you follow your dreams and I hope you succeed in everything you do in life. un abbraccio!

      xoxo J

  8. Mom
    April 21, 2017 / 11:53 am

    I’m sooo excited for you sweetheart! I always loved your singing! Can’t wait!
    xoxo
    Mom

    • Justine Iaboni
      April 23, 2017 / 5:44 pm

      Love you, Mom!

  9. April 21, 2017 / 12:53 pm

    I’m so proud of you! Following your love amidst fear is a courageous and brave feat! These are the stories we need to hear more of, because the way each of our journeys and paths have taken us, does not dictate our outcome. We can choose a different path, and that is ok at any point. But I am so encouraged by your strength, tenacity, and vision to go after what gives you life. I cannot wait to see what this road holds for you!
    You are going to be GREAT!
    xo
    Amanda

    • Justine Iaboni
      April 23, 2017 / 5:46 pm

      Thanks girl. Ah, you’ve definitely been there to hear the beginnings of all of this! What a difference a year can make. It’s definitely ok to change path. Life is not linear. It’s contemporaneous. It’s all here, right now.

      I’m so happy to call you my friend! You’re such an amazing person and you totally get it.

      xoxo J

  10. REGINA
    April 23, 2017 / 1:33 pm

    God bless you and your journey. The best moments in your life are yet to be experienced!

    • Justine Iaboni
      April 23, 2017 / 5:44 pm

      Thank you, Regina. Your words have brightened my day. xoxo J

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