In grad school, I was surrounded by folks who wanted to talk about spiritually and purpose. When I think about my “old job” I remember my first semester at my first real job and how I knew, from the beginning, that it wasn’t a good “fit”. Thought not all bad, most of my feelings about my ill fitting employment were further reinforced. I felt silenced, unsupported, and like the work I did, I felt like didn’t matter. I got the work done because someone else didn’t want to do it. I could be “fired up” with projects that circled around my passions, but I’m not sure how much they mattered to my boss or his boss, or her boss, as long as those things got done. Someone could check my job off of their list. So was my list full or empty? Soul empty? I also guess, looking back, that I had to make my work matter. To me, it did. I did.
Moving on isn’t always the worst thing in the world, especially when we realize that something isn’t fitting. If I’m smart, I should take those lessons with me. I should hold on to the skills. I grow bigger, smarter, and looking to find new challenges. Some will try to stop me. I even try to stop myself. I’ve learned, advice should only be taken to heart when it is from someone who has given me their presence and attention, and most importantly, their communication. Without that, without giving themselves an opportunity to know and see me, their input doesn’t matter. They will never understand why I do what I do. I have to learn, and keep reminding myself, to be that person for myself. I have to know my worth. I’ve walked away from many jobs and I miss some more than others, but more than the job, I miss the students. I can see their faces. I’ve stayed at jobs for my students. I had to realize that there are more, other, and different people who can hear my message. I had to forgive myself for being so angry when it was time to move on. I see myself in so many of my students. At some time, I believe we all feel refreshed and excited about learning. Our enthusiasm forces us to share, with others, all that we know. There are so many people who can use my gifts. I am called to teach and to learn.
In my past, so many misunderstood me. I was trying to figure things out for myself, decipher why things didn’t “fit” anymore. Isn’t that what we’re all supposed to do? Ask ourselves where we stand? As a songwriter, I have to make sure my story is heard. Being silenced is my kryponite. When I am not writing it all down, I often feel lost. I am never lost when I’m doing work that feeds my passions. Never when I look back through my journal and read my past entries. Writing holds my strength. I write down the places that I want to see, the way my album will look. I write about traveling. I write my fears. I conquer them. When I’m working with my calling, I never question why or how. Education. Music. Creativity.
Epiphanies come like light switches. These experiences spawn creativity. My partner, she reminds me to stay in the light, no matter how bad things get. When she looks into my eyes, I truly believe she sees my heart and knows that I am a good person, my intentions are all pointed toward fulfilling my ultimate desire, which is to be happy and be in control, to stay in the light. I want to be the same source of support for her. I’ll not let anyone or anything take me back to where I was when I started this journey. I’m watching an era end, and another begin, and I’m fortunate to document it all. This era started the day I choose not to accept a job and decided to begin my life’s work. That was an epiphany. That was me turning on a light. I made friends. I lost friends. Many of them became strangers. Today, some of my closest friends and the people that I see most often and intimately, are the ones who knew me way back then. My partner has watched me come so far. The night we met, I had holes in my jeans . . . There is no sense in going back to darkness. It’d be like pretending all those struggles and work didn’t matter, like they were gone, all the things that challenged me, all the lessons that made me smarter, all the hurdles and labyrinths I had to circumvent. If I stumble or fall into darkness, I am the only one who can turn the lights back on. Those “things” will still be there. I’ve a better chance of navigating successfully when my eyes are open. I need the light. How fortunate to have true friends that can guide, whether I ask for help or not.
What does this have to do with music? I will be finishing the recording of Adult Contemporary with many folks from the place where the last chapter ended. Whether they know it or not, they’ve walked with me. We’ve come such a long way and are symbolically ending an era. This is all appropriate and synchronistic. I can feel that I am redefining myself and more than that, I want to make sure I tell the stories that got me thought those challenges. One song, originally appearing on my first recording Extended4Play, is, like me, in a brand new form. “How Do You Know When You’re Finished” has been reconstructed and will be just a preview of what’s to come. I am proud to be in the final stages of production. I cannot wait for you to hear it. For that chapter in my life, this song is my benediction and my processional.
Why Adult Contemporary? Isn’t that what we hear in the speakers when we’re shopping? Playing in the elevator? Sure. Why can’t that be me? Why can’t my song be the one stuck in your head? Why can’t my words be the ones that tell your story? More than that, to me, the title speaks to growth and unprecedented direction, far from the usual and predictable. I’ve never been one to rack up accomplishments for the sake of my naysayers. This album is dedicated to anyone who knows what it feels like to conquer, to grow, to reach atonement.