escaping from escapism // part I

This time every year, I think back to my last year I lived in Tulsa, my hometown, 7 years ago. I had left Oklahoma City University after a mere semester there, moved back in with my parents, and was re-thinking my future.

It’s taken me years to actually put into words why I actually left OKCU. I really loved the school. I loved how small it was, and I loved the location. Of course, there were the obvious reasons: I was majoring in Vocal Music Education with Piano Emphasis. I was one of 3 other students who were also majoring in that. Otherwise, most of the undergrads there were either Vocal Performance, Musical Theater, or Dance majors. There really wasn’t a program for vocal music ed. I had no desire to be in any of the operas or musicals nor did I want to “waste my time” auditioning for things I didn’t want to be a part of. Yes, it was mandatory.

I had a big classical-music-training-stick up my ass and it was clear to me that it needed to be removed ASAP. The first step in doing so was by escaping the plan.

Anywho, LONG STORY short (from an ironically short amount of time), I made the decision that I wanted to pursue music on my own. I have never been a great student. I made great test scores but had pretty significant ego issues regarding people telling me what to do, how to do it, and for how long. I was pretty defiant and many of my teachers and professors found me to be quite paradoxical since I was so congenial, sharp and willing, otherwise. 

So, I packed up my dorm room into my little cavalier and drove back to Tulsa late one night in December of 2004. My parents were not too happy but, they also weren’t going to pay my tuition to a private school if I didn’t want to be there. 

I made a deal with them that I would pay for all of my groceries and gas and would be getting a job as soon as I could. I enrolled in the local community college and found a job at a clothing store in the mall. I would spend my free time researching local studios, teaching myself the guitar, and writing songs. 

Just so happens that I did not last long at the community college either. I made it through a whopping half of a semester and quit going to class. Go figure. 

By April or so of ‘05, I got a new job at a little boutique shop in midtown and sold incense, tibetan singing bowls, didgeridoos, broom skirts, crystals, and things to help balance people’s chakras. I spent a lot of that time sitting alone in that little shop drawing, writing, steaming clothes, making natal charts for friends, dusting, and thinking. 

These are early stages of lyrics from my song, “Girls Are Grown And Gone” before they belonged to that particular song. Plus, doodles from my journals. 
That’s me and always has been, a list maker.   
I knew I wanted to learn how to record these songs I had been writing. I also knew that recording in a traditional studio onto 2-inch, analog tape was a waning art form and ProTools was the new standard. I had absolutely no computer savvy and the only way I knew how to get that was to go to school. None of my friends were musicians and Tulsa, at the time, wasn’t exactly the best place to find my answers. 
I found a school in Phoenix, AZ called The Conservatory Of Recording Arts And Sciences. I applied and begged my parents to trust me just one last time with the whole “school thing”. It didn’t take long. I was accepted and my parents believed in me. I moved to Phoenix in January of 2006. 
Originally, I wanted to go to school to become a “producer”. Little did I know at the time was that  
#1 becoming a producer doesn’t just happen after you learn how to engineer
# 2 becoming a producer is much like that of becoming a shaman. It takes experience, an innate intuition about music and the technology, and an incomparable artistry (if you want to be a “real” producer”). 
Yeah….so I realized that once I was knee-deep into the program but THAT’S another story for another time.
The point of this post is to really highlight those last few weeks I spent in Tulsa before my life changed forever. 
My father and I had already driven out to Phoenix to find myself an apartment and drop off all of my belongings. During that time, my parents were also in the process of moving. They had closed on a house in midtown and were packing everything up. I would have no home to come home to. I couldn’t come back this time.
It was a surreal time. I was moving out, on my own to a state where I knew NO ONE to get an education of which myself nor my family knew anything about. 
I spent almost every night, late nights, going for runs around my extensive suburban neighborhood. I had mapped out a twisting route. I had ridden my bicycle on those streets for the last ten years of my life and this nightly run was almost like an effort to evaluate and reflect on my childhood there whislt giving me the feeling like I was running to my new life. It was late December of 2005 and many nights it was below 0˚F. I’d bundle myself up, leave around midnight and run/walk for about 2 hours. I’d listen to music from time to time but, mostly I’d just meditate on my run. I’d take in the silence the suburbs had to offer and the sights of all those houses and yards I grew up looking at. 
This time between Christmas and New Years, I get into that same headspace. That space of evaluation and reflection. This year, 7 years later, I’m yet again running towards a totally new chapter and yet, I feel like I’ve come full circle. I’m finally carrying on with my original dream which was/is to pursue my music.  
For many people, I’m sure it seems very simple but, it simply wasn’t for me. I had many distractions or rather, set-backs, be it waning confidence, work, relationships, and crippling anxiety and depression. 
It’s taken years of therapy, leaps of faith, endless support from family, friends, and colleagues, and learning how to truly love myself and others. 
Never in my life have I felt this happy and sure. It’s an absolute no-brainer now. So, 2013, BRING IT ON. I’m so ready.