I have never been a model employee. From the age of 14 until I was 25, I've held around 12 jobs (I may be forgetting a couple). In each and every one of these positions, I would show up to work and do my job with one foot out the door. When I worked at Wal-Mart, I was forever filling up receipt tape with random notes to myself. Story ideas, song lyrics, scraps of poetry, random observations. I'd watch the customers for inspiration for character's that I would one day write about. I'd fantasize about what life would be like when I finally found my "real" job.
No matter where I worked, it was always the same. If I had internet access, I'd spend every spare minute I could find researching other opportunities. I'd fill up every scrap of paper I could find with my plans and ideas. I'm only doing this until I can finish my book, I'd tell myself. I'm only doing this until I can get my music off the ground. I'm only doing this until I can open my record store. I had a ton of dreams, all of which I sort of used as a carrot to push myself to continue doing whatever it was I was doing.
Eventually, I hit a point where I "realized" that these things just weren't going to happen. Depression got a hold of me and I gave up. When I made the decision to become a stay-at-home-mom, it was with the notion of having free time to pursue these dreams. But time's a funny thing, and it never seemed that I had enough of it. I started this blog with the idea that if I had people to report my progress to, that would sort of hold me accountable, I would work harder at achieving my goals.
Then, depression got in the way again. Self-doubt clouded my mind and I found myself spinning my wheels. The blog didn't seem to be going anywhere, I could never find the time to write fiction. I certainly couldn't find the time to pick up my guitar or do anything music related. It was a terrible feeling. This feeling of being utterly stuck. This feeling of being entirely consumed with my duties as a mother and losing the bit of myself that I had fought to reclaim.
I can't tell you when this changed, but somewhere along the line I realized that I didn't need to give up on my dreams. Sure, a few of them needed modified, but I didn't need to scrap them entirely.
I started by revamping this blog and working harder to get the word out there. Then I started working on creating time to write non-blog related things. I'm not going to lie and say it's all been smooth sailing, but just making those small adjustments gave me a sense of accomplishment. That accomplishment in turn gave me the strength to keep trying. All that was missing was the musical aspect.
Music, as you probably know by now, has always been my greatest passion. From a little girl trying to force her friends to learn instruments and start a band, to a teenager who, okay, did the same thing, to a young adult recording demos of original songs and playing gigs, there was never a doubt in my mind that I'd do something music-related with my life.
In fact, one of my greatest regrets is not going to school for sound engineering. By the time I was in high school, I had a pretty clear vision of what I wanted to do with my life. I'd start my own record label and run the studio out of the basement of a record store I'd open in some college town. Obviously, I'd be able to sell the albums and merchandise of the bands I worked with in my store. Then, I'd open a bar and grill as close as possible and use it to scout talent and to showcase the bands I worked with. In my free time I'd record my own albums and write novels. It was the perfect set-up!
Some people dream of tropical beaches, I dream of sound boards.
With these huge goals in mind, I was over the moon when I met man who had his own studio in town. I was around 16 at the time and jumped at the chance to work with him and learn the ropes. Incidentally, this is where I met Almost-Husband, but that's another story for another time. Of course, life happens, and I floated away from that, but I still had the dream. I applied for a couple colleges that offered degrees in audio engineering and music business and was thrilled to be accepted to my first choice.I paid my deposit, set up financially aid, and celebrated when I got my start date by looking at housing. However, many factors--mostly fear--kept me from attending.
Undeterred, I bought a ton of books that would have been used in my classes and found some great online resources and kept trying to teach myself. I'd sit around reading EQ and TapeOp magazine, dreaming of the day when I could afford good equipment and really put all this information to use.
Over time, I lost track of that enthusiasm. The dream became a fond escape and nothing more. I relegated all thoughts of working with music to the realm of "someday". To be perfectly honest, it ate away at me daily.
Then, something miraculous happened. My friend JP--the man who introduced me to my partner--contacted me via Facebook and asked if I'd want to help mix an album. I was excited about the offer, but time constraints, plus the fact that I lived 30 miles away and had no car, got in the way. He contacted me a few more times, and each time it was a matter of "when I move back to town" or "when I get a car". It seemed hopeless.
But, there's a happy ending!
I finally got a car a couple months ago, which meant that when JP contacted me again, I could say yes! So, last Friday I drove to town and helped him get the studio reorganized and ready to go. From now on, I will be spending my Fridays mixing the upcoming album for his band, in addition to running the soundboard and singing backup at live shows. Plus, I have the studio available to me to work on some of my own stuff. Score!
Buttons and knobs and faders, oh my!
It may not be the big-time, but it's perfect for me. While I would still welcome the chance to make a living from my creative pursuits, at this stage in my life I am more concerned with just creating for the sake of creating. I just want to do things I enjoy, first and foremost.
Through all of this, my biggest hope is that I can show my daughter to follow her dreams and that it is never too late to start chasing them. I want her to know that while being a good mom comes first, it doesn't mean giving up who you are. In fact, it's easier to be a good mom when your own cup is full.
All that being said, I'm extremely excited about this project! If you'd like to check out the band I'll be working with, you can hear the John Paul Jones Group on Reverbnation.
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