When I Wasn’t Watching

When I Wasn’t Watching

It was somewhere around late 1999. The nearby mall booked Mandy Moore to perform at its grand opening events. Although I was sixteen, I didn’t yet have my license and I begged my dad to take me. He adamantly refused with the argument that I wouldn’t like her music in a year. Well, dad? Here we are, twenty years later and I am still fan-girling hard over Mandy Moore. She released “When I Wasn’t Watching,” her first new song in a decade today and it is deeply resonating with me.

In “When I Wasn’t Watching,” Mandy sings of coming out on the other side of hardship as a different person. It’s a song about growth and change, but how it’s hard to see those things happening in the process. As I listened, the lyrics hit so hard.

My favorite version of me disappeared
Through longer days and shorter years
So where was I when this was going down?
Assumed the world would come around

For as long as I can remember, I cling to songs that represent a season of my life. A soundtrack, if you will. In the years when I ran all the races, power anthems like “Fight Song” dominated. Earlier this year, and even still today, I needed songs of self-love and empowerment. Right now, I’m leaning into songs about growth and new beginnings. I knew immediately this song would be a part of my newest soundtrack.

According to Billboard, she said this about the song: “I think everyone’s had the experience of feeling lost and not quite understanding how you’ve found yourself at a certain point in your life. And I think the key is not to judge yourself for that. I’m a big believer in the idea that what you’ve journeyed through is ultimately going to factor into the person you become, and how you’ll greet whatever big challenge you face next.”

To who we are
When no one is looking
Nobody’s looking
What I became
When I wasn’t watching

If this doesn’t completely describe how I’m feeling about my life right now, then I don’t know what does. This last chapter of my life broke me and I’m starting to discover the person I’m becoming on the other side of that. I started to change and rediscover myself without fully realizing it was happening. And, I couldn’t be more grateful, even for the heartbreak.​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​

Thank you, Mandy, for this beautiful new song and for the lyrics I didn’t know I needed. I can’t wait to hear the rest of the album.

Photo credit(s): Marianna Mercado

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