Friday, April 19, 2013

Making Peace With the Past: Current Events Edition

NOTE: I wrote the majority of this blog post before the details about the bombing suspects began to emerge last night. Today I have been riveted by the unfolding manhunt, and I pray that law enforcement can get the second suspect with no further harm to their force or bystanders. 

The national news this week has been absolutely horrifying, and I just want to acknowledge the widespread hurt and confusion before delving into my self-centered blogity-blog about life in Boston. In other words, I know it's not all about me. Much love and respect going out to those who died, to those whose lives are changed forever, and to those who ran toward the fireballs (and handled the suspicious powder) to save whomever they could.
  I’ve been having a hard time taming my thoughts since the explosions at the Boston Marathon on Monday. Of course I have the big picture thoughts: We are not safe. Anywhere. At all. Ever. A couple of sick bastards decided to pepper a large crowd with projectiles designed to inflict maximum carnage. People lost their limbs. People lost their lives. And millions more people lost what little sense of security they’ve clung to in this post-9/11 world.

Interlaced with my big picture thoughts are the me-only thoughts, mostly in the form of long repressed forgotten memories. And since this is my blog I’m going to indulge in a some me-thought time. You have been warned.  

My personal angle on the Boston attack is rooted in a segment of my misspent youth. Back when I was young and stupid misguided delusional ambitious, I lived in Boston as a student at Berklee College of Music. I lived in a dorm on Mass Ave, near Boylston Street, just a couple of blocks from Copley Square. In other words, right around the area we keep hearing about in the news.

The news reports from Boston have unleashed a whirlwind of memories from the dustiest recesses of my mind. Not of terrorist attacks – back then we didn’t have to worry about those. Terrorism was something that you heard about on the news, happening to Other People in lands that are distant our cozy little nation here. 

Where was I? Oh yeah. Whirlwind of memories. Picture it: Boston, 1991. A fresh-faced girl with stars in her eyes arrives at Berklee College of Music with her fancy-schmancy keyboard and plans to take the music industry by storm. That was Day One. From Day Two forward, the story kinda tanks. 

After the novelty of being at the college of my dreams wore off, my two years in Boston were difficult at best. What I didn't realize at the time was that I was in the grips of untreated depression. To add insult to injury, I was hundreds of miles away from my family and closest friends, trying to figure out my place in a world where all the awards and accolades I’d gotten for my musical prowess at home didn’t mean squat. In a world of talented musicians, turns out I wasn't that good. At home, I won competitions and wowed people at recitals. I was praised by music teachers and students alike. Music was my thing. It's what made me special... as long as there weren't any other hard-core musicians around. 

Had I not been wallowing in untreated depression I might have been happy to tackle the challenge to improve my mad skillz and outshine all those other people who thought they were so great. But that wasn’t the case. My mind was not healthy enough to use the discovery of my relative mediocrity as a driver to get better. I failed to develop the ego necessary to believe I was as great as I'd thought I was the day I applied to Berklee. Instead, the more I hung out with fellow musicians, the more I realized I so did totally NOT have what it takes to be a successful one. Over the course of two years I painstakingly folded my big dreams away and embarked on an existential crisis that lasted for years.

Oddly enough, with all these depression-stained memories comes a sense of nostalgia. Yeah, I was a hot mess back then. But there were some good times. I had some friends. We had some fun. I learned a lot about music. I learned a lot about life. Sometimes I really wish I could go back and do it all again WITHOUT the untreated depression, so that the good times would be pleasant memories instead of bittersweet reminders of my first spectacular failure at life.

But since my car does not have a plutonium-fueled flux capacitor capable of generating 1.21 jigawatts of energy, going back in time does not seem to be an option. Instead I have to settle for trying to pluck the good memories out of the wreckage of my psyche, and then hosing them down until they look all purty again. And I can inject a little perspective: Had my big dreams come true, I’d be a washed-up rock star by now. I’d be going on summertime nostalgia tours with Poison between recurring stints on Celebrity Rehab and Celebrity Fit Club, desperate to get my own VH1 reality show so I could extend my 15 minutes of fame as far as possible.

Despite the challenges life throws my way these days, I would not trade the comfy little life I have now for what I thought I wanted back then. I have a husband who loves me, two amazing children who bring light into my world (even when I’m tempted to wring their precious little necks) (don’t judge, you know you've thought the same thing about your kids), a quiet suburban lifestyle that would not be possible if there were paparazzi all over the place trying to get pictures of how fat my butt has gotten, and the love and support of nearby family and friends. Nowadays I have the tools and resources I need to manage what comes my way. Life might bring me to my knees from time to time, but now I know to just stand down for a bit, engage in some prayer, and then start to get back on my feet again.

1 comment:

  1. I read this today and it's so appropriate.

    There is no failure except in no longer trying.

    I don't believe in failure. It is not failure if you enjoyed the process

    Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.

    Love you...Auntie K


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