Last night I had the immense pleasure of celebrating Bleach’s 5 Year Anniversary. The Shrews and Blanco Bronco played great sets, bubbly and beers flowed, I was surrounded by friends old and new, and I’ve got my very own freshly printed tee to remember the evening by. Being back in Tacoma to enjoy this mark in the shop’s history was wonderful. It feels like a decade ago when I first walked through the doors of Bleach for my first day on the job and ages since I patrolled the parties that brought such fun and plenty a hangover.

So much has happened since the time I left my post at Bleach it’s difficult to believe it’s only been five years since they first opened their doors down on Pacific Avenue. I’ve lived abroad, I’ve loved fiercely, lost deeply, moved from place to place to place, worked at a number of places in entirely different roles, learned a lot, forgotten a lot, and fell a lot all through the process- and then got back up. I’ve traveled thousands of miles, slept in airports, pet weird animals, dated weird and wonderful men, broken up with them, dealt with horrible work environments, thrived in wonderful work settings, made unforgettable friends, and encountered some rather awful individuals.

It also feels so bizarre that five years has gone by so quickly. To have experienced what I have in those 1,825 days seems almost insane. Some friends and peers have gotten married, some have had children (or more children!), moved across the world, are old enough to drink beer now which is wild since I first met them when I was helping them with their math homework.

Having the five-year mark of Bleach’s birthday gave me an immense amount of insight and perspective into current life and the years to come. If you would have asked me where I would be, what I’d done, and who I’d be with those five years ago I would likely have given a very different answer of where I am today, who I am today, and what I feel today. It helps release me from the worry that can easily assail me and take away days that could very easily be wonderful if I didn’t allow the veil of anxiety cloud my outlook. I realize that while yes, it’s very important to set goals, to have dreams, and to want certain things it is just as important to accept that the way of getting there (or not) may not be the path you saw yourself taking. Accepting that there is a path that is good and beautiful ahead of me and that worrying will do nothing to propel me any faster on that road has been a massive encounter that I will have to daily affirm myself of.

Bleach continues to grow and be a place for entertainment, great clothing, and events- but most importantly community. Seeing so many familiar faces of people I care so much about or new people look forward to connecting more with in the future was something that felt sacred and warm in a city that I feel so at home in. Here’s to another year, Bleach, and thank you for being an environment where grew, where I have such strong memories of, and a place that will continue to affect Tacoma and its residents whether they’re aware of it or not.

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