If you know me, you know how vitally music is a part of my life. I play various instruments. I collect all kinds of music (it borders on an obsession, I won’t lie). I have playlists for every occasion, for myself and for my friends as well. There is always music playing near me, or if that’s not possible, I can guarantee a soundtrack plays in my head according to where I am, whether it’s shopping at Target, at work watching myself teach students, at home learning from my 4 year old son.
For me, music = life.
So very recently, I started thinking of my life in music terms. And I had a kind of epiphany. I realized that for a long time, I had been living life quietly, neatly, properly on the “1 and 3”.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with “1 and 3”. A lot of great things happened during my “1 and 3” period. I got married, bought a house, had a successful teaching career, had a child. It was a stage for setting the groundwork of sorts. It was….safe and quiet. Like a lullaby. But somewhere in that period I lost myself. I got too safe and too quiet. I stopped listening to my inner voice, followed too many rules, got carried away in the day to day survival mode as it is so easy to do. All of a sudden (or not really at all) I looked up one day and wondered “What the hell am I doing with my life? What’s the point?”.
Then it hit me – I am not a lullaby, I am jazz.”1 and 3″ never fit me quite right. I should have been groovin’ on the 2 and 4 all along! There is room for improvisation, for swinging it, for dancing any way I want no matter what style of music is playing, for not just coloring outside the lines, but mixing my own damn combination of colors until I get the exact perfect shade for that exact perfect moment in time……and just making that small shift internally opened my eyes to a whole new world.
So I worked hard on myself, got ready, prayed, got teachers, found my tribe, found my spirituality, found my voice, found myself again.
I feel like my “voice” had been silenced (although the silence was self imposed). But now, now I am ready to roar (insert Katy Perry song here). Now I can speak. Now I can breathe. Now I can see beauty and peace in life, in nature, in everything.
And I can dance. On the “2 and 4”.
And it doesn’tmatter who doesn’t understand or appreciate my music.
Because it is MY music.
I own it. It is MY gift to the world. I won’t apologize for it, defend it, or explain it really. It is who I am. And I am finally ready to own it completely, fearlessly.
I am not doing myself or anyone else any favors pretending I am not fully “me”. And I recognize that “my me” is a combination of lifetimes of music from all countries, styles, and generations. So “my me” may look and feel different everyday.
But it’s still me.
And it’s still great no matter what shape or form or mental state I may be in at the time.
So I will keep playing and living and loving and improving and revising and appreciating “my me” and my music. And since I’m finally “Brave” enough (insert Sara Bareilles song here), I will share it with you.