Title: A Smiley Miley Kind of Day.
I've had some free time on my hands, and a few days ago, I decided to embark on a little journey down memory lane. You see, I restarted "Hannah Montana" from the very beginning, and it's been a fun experience. This iconic show was released back in March of 2006 and holds a very special place in my heart. Let me tell you why.
I'll take you back to November of 2005, the day after Miley Cyrus's 13th birthday. That's when I lost someone who meant the world to me, my grandpa. His passing occurred on Thanksgiving, which, coincidentally, was also my brother Beau's birthday, falling on November 24th. I was merely 7 years old at the time, and the loss of my grandpa had a profound impact on me. He was the one who made me laugh until my stomach hurt and I ached without him.
But just a few short months later, in March, a new show burst onto the scene, a show that would become my everything: "Hannah Montana." It was a ray of light in my life, a comforting presence that helped me cope with the loss of my grandpa. This show became more than just a TV series; it became my entire personality. Everything in my world began to revolve around Miley Cyrus and her alter ego, Hannah Montana. I wanted to be just like her, with her double life, her glamorous career, and her relatable struggles.
I remember vividly, in third grade, after only six months of the show being out on Disney Channel, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I couldn't wait for the stores to have a Hannah Montana Halloween costume, so I made my own. And let me tell you, that Halloween was one to remember. I felt so cool during the school's Halloween parade, and I can still hear the 8th graders saying, "Oh my God, it's Hannah Montana!" That moment made me feel like the coolest girl in the entire school because I was dressed as my idol.
But my obsession didn't stop at Halloween. My birthday, Christmas, Easter – you name it, my gifts were always something related to Hannah Montana or Miley. I was even lucky enough to go to her concert not just once but twice, and both times felt like a dream come true.
Now, let's flash forward to present day, October 2023. I decided to restart my favorite show from my childhood. As I was doing work with "Hannah Montana" playing in the background, I found myself saying, "I really couldn't be happier." Today, in my pilates class, Miley's newest song "Used To Be Young" started playing while we were stretching, and tears welled up in my eyes. Miley, my childhood idol, had written a song about making mistakes and overcoming them in her adult life, now in her thirty's. Although I'd heard it many times before, it struck a nerve today.
On my way home, I started listening to her old music and the classic Hannah Montana tunes. As a kid, I was brimming with confidence because I had Miley to look up to. She sang songs like "Nobody's Perfect," and they made me feel strong and I was full of bliss while watching "Hannah Montana." Her songs from her youth have so many great life lessons and as adult I love singing them with such pride. Instead of going out on this Friday night, I chose to stay in and watch the "Hannah Montana: The Movie." That film is packed with valuable lessons, and one song, in particular, hit home – "The Climb." It's a reminder that life is a journey, and though there are challenges, the view from the top is worth every step.
As the years have passed since "Hannah Montana" ended, I've gone through my own ups and downs. I've faced significant health issues in the last few years, but through it all, I've held onto my faith. Watching the movie, I had goosebumps throughout, and when "The Climb" started playing, I couldn't hold back the tears. Miley's words, "life's a climb, but the view is great," resonated with me deeply. Her message has been a guiding light in my life, and it's been a source of inspiration since I was a child.
Some may not know that Miley was born with the name Destiny Hope Cyrus. She was always smiley, and the nickname "Smiley Miley" stuck. Just like her middle name, she provided me with hope as a kid, encouraging me to follow my dreams and never look back. Just like her, I wanted to be my authentic self. As I grew older, I lost my confidence and myself. At the same time, Miley went on a different path after Hannah Montana ended. She wanted to have an older image and wanted to forget about Hannah. As a kid, I would say I was heart broken when the show ended and she wanted to be something different. I was confused that she didn't want to be this "Disney kid" that I loved so much. I now understand the struggle she went through with wanting to break away and just be known as Miley Cyrus, not Miley Stewart or Hannah Montana.
Looking back, we both made mistakes, but hers were just displayed for the whole world to see. We both may have lost our way a little bit along the path of life, but we've found our way back home, as one of her song aptly puts it. We are alike in the sense that we both have grown from our mistakes and now we want to help others along their own journeys. We are both sharing our personal stories, just in different ways. Miley is helping people through her music and I hope I can help others through my public speaking. She has shown me that dreams do come true and to never stop chasing them!
Miley's song "Used To Be Young" reminds us that our past doesn't define us, and we all make mistakes that contribute to our growth. I empathize with Miley's journey, as her teenage and adult years were recorded for all to see. I can't even imagine my own challenging and confusing years being on display for the world. In the music video for "Used To Be Young," Miley starts out crying and ends with a smile. The song beautifully illustrates that we can feel joy and sorrow simultaneously.
Miley provided me with immense joy when I lost my grandpa in the 2nd grade and my whole childhood, and now, as an adult, she continues to help me navigate through life. I'm so grateful for her voice, her dedication to her craft, and her vulnerability. Leading up to her new single, Miley had a TikTok series where she showed old clips of herself and shared her thoughts with us directly. It was an amazing campaign that brought me so much joy, giving us insight into her personal life through her own eyes.
My 7-year-old self and 25-year-old self love Miley the same, and I couldn't be prouder of how far she has come. Miley Cyrus will always hold a special place in my heart, and I'll forever be thankful for the joy and inspiration she's brought into my life. Here's to the power of music, nostalgia, and growth.