December 11, 2008
How has your past impacted your perspective on life?

It was a summer afternoon sometime before face clocks made sense, or junk foods were bad. I was walking with my mom when I turned to her, describing a mistake Dad made in one of his songs. I thought he might feel better if his wife corrected him as opposed to his five-year-old daughter.

"It says 'she never growed up.' Growed isn't a word, Mom." My mom flashed an amused smile, explaining that music didn't have to follow the same rules as books and conversations. Music is a world where anything goes. Things aren't black and white. They aren't really gray either. They just are. Music is where expression exists without rules. This is amazing, I thought.

Glancing through my baby pictures, it's easy to see how I became a fan of music. There are countless shots of me curled up in my dad's fur-lined guitar case with him serenading me from the couch beside it. This was my favorite place as a youngster. The day I grew too big for a cozy fit was a sad day indeed, but the comfort it once gave me has never faded. To this day, notes and melodies journey through my ears, straight to my heart. No matter where I am in life, listening to music takes me home again.

I haven't always appreciated Dad's passion. Growing up, I wished for him to be more like other fathers--suits, ties, and business trips. I yearned for 'normal.' Having since learned that 'normal' is nonexistent, I am grateful for my unique childhood. Looking back, it seems like every weekend I was dragged to some house party or bar-be-que. Each one was full of live music, as most of Dad's friends were musicians, too. Those nights, the lawn turned into the living room and the starry sky was our ceiling. The air was clean, and the atmosphere vibrant, yet carefree. I would run around chasing fire flies, discovering my own constellations, or just listening.

Conversations floated along with the notes. If I learned anything about musicians, it was their love of story telling. I remember hearing about hitch hiking to concerts at the Capital Center, backpacking across the Appalachians, and that time so-and-so ended up as an extra in The Terminator. This was even more astounding to me as a kid, when the world seemed much bigger. I could listen for hours on end. Each story, like every song, had a unique rhythm and theme, valuable in its own respect.

The more people I meet, the more I realize how much my upbringing impacted me. The atmosphere of those late night music bashes has forever rubbed off on me. I am endlessly captivated by knowledge of new things, of new people, of new ideas. I will have never learned enough, but music will keep me company as I try.

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