Life has an ironic way of making us see things in new lights. When I was a lot younger, I felt invincible. I had the feeling of power through not only sexuality but also in what I did. I felt powerful in the world that was mine in the sense that I ran with a musical crowd, I let my studies lapse, I didn’t care about the effect that I was having on my life, I only cared about the here and now. There was a freedom that I experienced unlike any other. I called the shots as to when and where I was. I determined that partying was fun and I didn’t want the party to end. Responsibility was something that I didn’t want to deal with. I could drink with the boys and hold my own. I was a holy terror on a motorcycle and I dared to do things that as I aged I learned that there is a reason we are young once. It is a time of exploration, growth, acceptance, and more importantly, – one of the lessons.
I no longer recognize the woman I was then from who I am now. My strength has gotten stronger. My individuality has strengthened and I no longer look at the world in just a sexual connotation. I see the errors of my decisions and have corrected a few of them. Others I know will never be corrected. That’s okay. They weren’t meant to be. They were meant to be an educational journey I would grow and learn to respect myself with. Responsibility has become important to me. Reputations have become integral to me because if you don’t respect yourself, no one else will either. I’ve become selective in my associations with people along with relationships. It’s no longer about what feels good in the moment. It’s become more about challenging myself and being challenged. Growing in faith and intellect has become critical to becoming a truer sense of me. I make no apologies for the mistakes I made in my late teens and early twenties because it gave me a strong sense of who I didn’t want to be. I no longer see the girl from those days when I look in the mirror. I see a survivor. One who has gotten wrinkles, a few gray hairs, extra weight, but armor of life’s lessons. I’m happy that I can see past my insecurities and acknowledge that my journey hasn’t been a simple one.
When I married, everything was about keeping my husband happy. I lost my sense of identity. I guess you could say that I had to lose everything I thought was important to me to recognize the strength within my core. I mean how can you know who you are if you are trying to be someone else for a person that you love? Those scenarios rarely play out well. Somewhere along the way, you have to admit your faults and be willing to forge ahead. You can’t think you know what someone else wants. Even if they were to tell you the type of person they want if you conform to who you think that person is, you are sacrificing every unique quality you have.
I spoke with a man the other day who is a tenant of mine at the storage facility I manage. We started talking about sound engineering and I told him a little bit about my background. He and I have a lot of common variables and he was telling me how not to let the skills I picked up back then, dissipate from my life. Both of us worked in concert dwellings. I had worked with the other students at ECU (East Carolina University) when DeGarmo and Key, Heart, Anita Baker, and other groups that entertained there during the late ’80s and early ’90s, and I learned a lot about sound setups, acoustics, and props. At one time I was the only female technician on staff. That was a little intimidating but the boys took me under their wing and exposed me to the world of wiring. One of the things that my tenant reminded me of was that if you love something as much as he and I love music, never stop doing the things you love. I told him I used to play but hadn’t played in eons. He asked me if I wanted to get back into it and I replied “no”, but told him that I was grateful for the experiences it had given me. I told him I enjoy writing now more than ever. Before we got off the phone, his wife got on the call because she had been listening to me. She asked me questions about various groups of different genres. She was pleased to find out that I knew my information because we spoke of musical genres like Classical, Classic Rock, Pop, Country, Alternative, Heavy Metal, Jazz, Bluegrass, and almost every compilation you could think of. Before we got off the phone, she thanked me. “For what?” I asked. She said, “there are a lot of people who try to say they know about various subjects, but when you can back up those statements with facts, that’s how you know a person understands the subject matter.” She and her husband met years ago and shared interests in the sound engineering world.
The point I’m making is this. We all change on a daily basis. Some of the changes are so minuscule that we don’t recognize the changes immediately. We evolve, endure metamorphosis, and hopefully continue to expand our abilities. Wherever life is taking you, never forget to remember where you’ve been. Don’t dwell on the past but be sure to fly towards empowering yourself and others. Life is quick. The long days become short quickly. Don’t live with regret. Keep improving yourself and forging forward. The past is a springboard to where we eventually end up. Don’t be afraid to jump and leap. You never know how far you’ll go.