As I have been reading these beautiful responses, I have been slowly answering them myself. Truly enjoying thinking back through life in this introspection.
Here is part one of my Beautifully Human...
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Tell me a story that shaped your life…
- I remember music always playing a role in my life. I never knew where it would take me but I knew it took me away from where I was when I was listening to it.
When I was growing up I was supposed to only listen to christian music. I would constantly get asked by my mom how I knew a song that came on the radio or a commercial and I would say...I heard it at the store!
I remember I got a sampler CD that had a song called Teenage Politics by MxPx on it. I had never heard anything like this style of music before but I was really glad it was on the compilation CD that I got because I knew it came from the christian bookstore that we went to on Friday nights at the time.
I remember being so excited for the first time to go back to the store because I would find out what other CD’s Mxpx had and I would be able to buy it again since it was at the bookstore.
I started buying any and every CD that was associated with this band, with punk rock. Some horrible now that I look back, but I absolutely loved it.
I then found a college radio station, 88.9 the eagle, who had a punk rock hour starting at 1 am on Friday nights. I remember waking up, putting in a tape and smashing down the record buttons and putting my headphones on and loving the music I was finding.
This was when I found Bad Religion, Pennywise, AFI, Millencolin, No Use For A Name, Anti Flag and countless others. I loved that they were standing up for what they believed in. They were fighting for what they believed to be right.
I knew in my life I was watching adults who were saying one thing and living a completely different life. That never made sense to me. Sundays we are good and the rest of the time we do life the way that is convenient for us. Oppressing your spouse in front of your two children who do not understand why. Oppressing others for no reason other than what you believe politically. Not truly standing for what you stand for on a Sunday. Not challenging yourself to get out and tell the world this good news. Keeping safe with like minded people and not letting others in because they are different or believe differently.
I still did not understand why this would be such a significant part of my life, even until recently. But it shaped my way of thinking. It opened my mind to thinking for myself. To stand for what I believe and go my own road.
I still know that these musical discoveries when I was in sixth grade shaped my life, it sent me on a path of my own and a life that I wanted to live. Not perfect but shaped by my beliefs and truly my own.
Tell me a story that enriched your life…
- I met this man the summer of 2019 living on the sidewalk on the walking path from Weehawken, New Jersey to Hoboken, New Jersey.
Syiad is his name. He told me to call him homeless man and that was not good enough for me.
The first night our interaction was shorter than our next one.
Lindsey and I stopped to speak with him and offer him our leftover dinner. It was Indian food and he was delighted.
Syiad speaks in numbers, riddles, and a rhythmic pattern that is almost lyrical.
I sat with him for a few hours one afternoon. He told me stories of his life on Wall Street. As a high end watch salesman and the parties and life this awarded him.
He then spoke of the mishaps that he had. How higher ups were threatened by him.
How a few massive mistakes with his money and his partying being out of control landed him on the streets.
He kept saying to me, I am sure you have places to be. I kept saying, there is nowhere I would rather be than here with you.
He got choked up and said that he had people that would say hi or leave food.
But no one took the time to sit with him. To listen, hear, and see him.