Change is a natural element in our experience. Yearly, we observe the seasons pass the torch, phasing consistently through our experience. Watching the mirror, we fail to see the changes in our bodies, but discover a shoebox full of old pictures, and suddenly change is right there in front of our faces.
Frequently change is scary. Change is different, it is the great unknown. No matter how often or lengthy we announce the desire to change, secretly we fear the transformation. I know that I have been a victim of change-fear many times in my life. Sometimes I have succumbed, others I have overcome the fear, moving forward into the next great chapter of my life. Many times, the eventuality of a changing element catches up to us, flipping our world on its ear despite our protestations.
Let me tell you my story of change. Growing up, I excelled in school. Math particular held a peculiar interest for me. I remembering enjoying the simple austerity of an equation. I knew I could always count on the certainties math provided for my life. Two plus two would always equal four. I also enjoyed reading, which I credit to my Mom, who always had a book in her hand. She is the kind of reader that can knock out three our four books in a week. As I grew older, I started to pick up the books she read, expanding my own vocabulary and world view. I remember being proud of myself for finishing the un-abridged version of Stephen King’s The Stand. It was the summer between fifth and sixth grade; I was eleven going on thirty.
During middle school I discovered another love of my life - music. My middle school band director for seventh and eighth grade - Dana Pradervand - did something special for me. She planted a seed in my soul that directed the next eighteen years of my life. Also, during middle school, I began to dabble in poetry, striving to find a voice for my hormonal teen soul. I was on staff for the yearbook and creative magazine.
In high school, another seed was planted. My sophomore english teacher - Shelia Richards - made me fall in love with words. I don’t have any clue how she did it. The only book I remember studying that year was Their Eyes Were Watching God, which I didn’t read (although I somehow managed to ace the final). I know she fascinated me, and I am sure I had a crush on her, but she took my hunger for reading and turned it into a hunger to create.
I chose the University of Houston as my collegiate destination, double majoring in Music Education and Bassoon Performance. I still was writing, and I still loved math. At one point during my first semester I strongly considered transferring to Texas A&M and majoring in math, but I pushed that aside, forging ahead. I filled journals with awkward poetry, still struggling to find my voice. While I loved to read fiction, the prospect of writing it frightened me so much I couldn’t get past the blank page, and so blank it stayed.
After graduating with a performance degree, I accepted a job performing with the new Blast!, Inc. shows Shockwave and Cyberjam. While it wasn’t playing bassoon, my main instrument, I was performing on saxophone, clarinet, and flute, and loving every minute of it. I saw the US, spending as much time on a bus as I did off. I began to explore fiction - my first short story was a analogy for the blank page I feared so much. Math had fallen by the wayside.
After our US tour and a stay in London, I came back to the US, still trying to find my voice. I decided to be an english teacher. I enrolled in post-baccalaureate english classes to earn my teaching certificate. Halfway through the semester, I decided my desire wasn’t for teaching english - I wanted to write. I changed my plans, deciding I would become certified in music and teach band while I wrote. I re-enrolled in the UH music school, also adding on a masters in bassoon performance. Two years later I emerged with my certificate and a masters and earned my first job. This was 2006.
It took four years before I wrote another word. I had no idea how easily high school band directing would consume time, and during those four years I couldn’t find the time or the energy to devote to my words. I enjoyed my job, loved the kids, and found satisfaction in my love for music, but the words were absent. Realizing that was the beginning of this current metamorphosis.
As I started my blog and began work on a novel I found that I truly love to write. I find such simply purity in the logical arrangements or letters into words, words into sentences, sentences into phrases, phrases into ideas, and ideas into stories. In a sense, I find in words the best things I have loved about music. I love the synergy, the emotional power, the push to think. I was transformed internally.
I have now manifested my internal change in my life. Tuesday of this week, I resigned my position as Associate Band Director at Conroe High School. I know I will miss the kids, my co-workers, and the music, but I am confident I am walking my path. Making the decision to move past so much personal history was difficult, and I struggled long with it, but now that I have acted, I strongly feel at peace.
I know the future is uncertain. I know there are still many questions that have to be answered, but I also hold onto the certainty that following your dream is one of the most powerful steps you can take in life. I encourage everyone to decide whether or not you are living your dream, or if you have hidden it away from yourself like I did for so long. Find your dream, live it. Go through the change. I know it will be worth it.