Where do we learn the behaviors that make up who we are? For some reason I was retrospective today. Thinking about my childhood, my teens, college, and my early professional career. At each stage I was a different person and I am still growing into who that is today.
As a kid I was definitely strategic (even if I did not know it at the time). I would find a way to con candy out of the old ladies at church (maybe I would not have resorted to it if it was given a little more freely at home). I learned early on that my sister would get sick on rides at the county fair, so if I asked to go on the spinning ones first I could potentially get the rest of her ride tickets. I was often quiet in the presence of my father when I knew he was in a bad mood, I did not dare piss him off. And I was fun and playful. I liked to be silly.
Somehow as I grew into being a teenager, I grew quieter and more introverted. I had seen too much in my life. Death, anger, poverty, sickness, desertion. As I look back at my senior year of high school, I feel a sadness. I barely made it through to graduation. I was lost and sad, but did not really know it at the time. On the outside I probably looked fairly normal. I was social, had friends, was a cheerleader, but my sadness came from not really having a home or parents to ground my day-to-day life. My last three years of high school were spent at a boarding school, so living away from home (that did not exist) sans parents was strange and so different from my classmates and friends. There was no one I could really relate to.
In college, I eventually found my way and I found my voice. That voice evolved into my professional life and experiences. I began to speak up for what I believed in without fear and decided that I had something to say and did not care what others thought of me.
Throughout it all I have been strategic, relentless, and thrifty. When I decide I want something I figure out how I am going to get it. I had to be that way. No one was taking care of me through high school or college so I learned early on to depend on no one but myself. While I now have people I depend on in my life, there is still always a thread that floats in the back of my mind. Will they drop the ball and I will have to pick it up? Will they follow through with what they said they will do? Each stage of my life has evolved into who I am today. Strategic, sometimes introverted, sometimes extroverted, intuitive, blunt, thrifty, and relentless. I have to trust you, and when I do the rest is history.
I had to wait a day or two to formulate my thoughts about the shooting in a local Troutdale, Oregon school. Social media sites are being bombarded with statistics about the number of school shootings all across the United States, and comparing them to other countries. Maybe I am thinking about it more because it happened less than 30 minutes away from me, or maybe I am sick and tired of watching innocent children be injured or die.
Bulletproof blankets for schools at the low price of $1000 a blanket, metal detectors in all school entrances. What has it come to? I do not really care about your politics or your personal opinions on gun control. I want to talk about the real issue, which is whether our children are safe or not in schools. Children go to school to learn, to trust, to push our boundaries. How can children learn when they are afraid of their fellow students? When they might fear that those that bully them might kill them to? It scares the crap out of me to think about sending my future kids to school. Will all parents have to start home schooling because we do not have the proper security and safety in our schools? Gun control, gun rights, politics, bearing arms aside, what are we going to do to protect our children?
I am angry.
What are we doing as a country to handle and resolve this issue? There was a visual icon on a friend’s Facebook page that said: “NOT ONE MORE” in support of finding a solution to school shootings. We all remember Columbine. We remember Virginia Tech where it was a massacre of lives. We remember Newtown. Are the shootings where one or two kids are shot not as important, or does the large volume of schools where incidents have occurred (fatalities or not) matter? They all add up do they not? There is a real issue, and we need to resolve it.
What are we going to do? What are you going to do? What am I going to do to step up and be apart of the change that needs to happen? How long are we going to continue to watch the news each day, and continue to be desensitized to the issues with guns? This Bill Moyers article lists the actual gun deaths or injuries in schools by date since Newtown – a shocking 79 in the last 18 months.
I am shocked. I am disappointed. I want answers. I want solutions.
We listened to music in the kitchen a lot this weekend. A song came on Spotify and instantly I was transported to October 2012, while on a run in my new neighborhood. We had yet to fix our treadmill after our move so I instantly got to know the homes and street in our neighborhood. The song that was constantly repeating on my iPhone while I ran? “Shine bright like a diamond” by Rihanna. When I hear that song, I instantly think of moving into our new home.
As I mixed ingredients to make cookies, my mind started to wander to other moments in my life when a song was on repeat so much that a specific event always brings a song to my mind. I remembered a job I had almost 11 years ago. I was a recruiter at a staffing firm, and over and over was asked to lie to potential clients in order for the company to make the most money out of each placement. I would go to my car at lunch and cry. I would go home at the end of the day and cry. Honesty and integrity are the core of my identity, and I struggled so much to be me at this job. The song that was on repeat in my car, on the way to work, during lunch, and on my way home? “Clearest Indication” by Great Big Sea. Interesting that the title is Clearest Indication, could it be any clearer to me? Yes, it is about someone who has been left by another, but somehow I think it was what I needed to hear. I needed to leave, and I did.
Every time I hear the song “Always on my mind” by Pet Shop Boys, I think of my mom and my brother. I remember when my mom died in the hospital. On one day that week I was with my brother in his black Chevy Blazer and this was the song he had on repeat on his car CD player. If I remember correctly it was on repeat for weeks. I knew it was what he needed to hear as his heart ached at the loss of our mom. That song will always remind me of those days surrounding my mom’s death.
We all have songs that leave memories ingrained in our thoughts and hearts. It might have been the song playing when you met your life partner, or what you selected to play at your wedding, it might have been during that aha moment in your car when you made the decision of your life. Music impacts us sometimes in ways we do not even realize until we look back and ponder how we have been changed by it.