I love music. I love it so much that a good tune gives me goosebumps. I love all kinds of different music too, a good song is a good song.
I have to thank my parents, in particular my Dad for all the music in my life. My dad introduced me to Classic Rock long before I knew what it was. He would make me tapes off his records so I could ride the [horrendous] school bus with tunes in my ear. He bought me my first Sony Cassette Walkman which I used until I could not use it anymore. He bought me my first CD Walkman in 7th grade. It was one of those super-bright, super-awesome Panasonic anti-skip CD Walkmans. I think I actually still have that one. That puppy had me ‘jammin all through high school. Thank god. Without my music I may have gone insane.
I was a very shy and anxious child, teenager, and young adult. I was also lucky enough to have been bullied since the first grade. I don’t know what I did to invite the bullying. I was always quiet and wanted nothing but some friends. Somehow this made me different.
I wasn’t born here. I was born in Newmarket, Ontario which is just north of Toronto. I was born in the same hospital that I watched my father die in.
Newmarket was a lovely little town to [begin] growing up in. I remember going to Grandma’s often, I remember Pre-School (and the sand in my mouth that I could NEVER seem to avoid no matter how far away I stayed away from that damn sandbox). I remember trips to the Zoo and Canada’s Wonderland. I remember being surrounded by love and care. I also remember the night we left.
My parents never really got a long and by the time I was 3 it was long over. My mom packed her Jeep up, put me in it, and drove for what seemed like forever into the darkness. Little did I know I was headed straight for hell.
We moved 3 hours south to the Niagara Region. I still remember arriving that night. I knew instantly I hated it. I hated the house. I hated this new man I didn’t recognize. Nothing felt right and after that night nothing was ever the same again.
My mom was too busy re-kindling a [bad] high school relationship to notice that I was falling deeper and deeper into despair. I was a very lonely child. I missed my father and my grandparents terribly. I started to feel more like a burden, like I was more in the way then I was wanted. All I wanted was a friend. I made up a few imaginary ones. They were nice, they always listened and never made me feel sad. There was a time when my mother would not let my father see me. To this day I don’t know if she even realizes how much that hurt both him and I. She was becoming so blinded by her new boyfriend.
She married that boyfriend a few years later. I was not a part of the wedding. I got shipped off the the babysitters. I was so confused and again, I did not get to see my father or stay with him. My mom was busy planning her new life and I feel like my father and myself we just big problems she wanted to ignore.
When my (half) sisters came along I thought I would finally have some friends. Someone to talk to and play with. What I didn’t realize until they came home from the hospital is that they are babies and cannot talk to play yet. I also learned that babies need a lot of attention from mom which meant even less attention for me.
It also meant there was more time for her “husband” to start playing with me. By the time I was in Kindergarten I dreaded coming home. I became a very terrified little girl. I did not feel safe at home. I never knew when he would come pluck me from my bed and take me to his to undress me and play with me for the night. My mom would be out on some errand or with a sick sister at the hospital, he kept her busy enough so he could have me all alone. This went on for years until one fateful July day in 1991 when I said something peculiar to my mom. I must applaud that she did not waste one millisecond, she jumped into action immediately and called the Police. I wasn’t even 8 years old yet.
I had to tell my story repeatedly to Police Officers, Investigators, and Family and Children’s Services. It was all very frightening and embarrassing. I did not know what he was doing was so wrong. I hated it but I didn’t know. I was just a child.
This incident turned my mom into a very angry, bitter, sleep deprived, and somewhat crazy woman. Which is understandable, but she became more mean. I was punished for any kind of emotional outburst. I was made to feel bad for trying to express my feelings. My mom was always yelling at me, thinking she was shaping me for the better when really she was yelling at a child who badly needed help.
By this time I was allowed to see my real father again. It was glorious. Through him I could escape. Literally, mentally, and emotionally. He took me away from this awful town on weekends. We would go back to Newmarket where I felt safe and loved. Nobody there made me feel bad about myself. They encouraged me to be me, they told me I was their Princess, I felt wanted. My grandma knit me sweaters that I would wear when my dad took me ice skating in the Winter. In the summer Dad would take me to Wasaga Beach and we’d go camping by by Algonquin Park. And there was always music.
We were Rockin’ everywhere we went. We drove to Ottawa (7+ hours) to see my cousin play squash. We drove the Trans-Canada Hwy East all the way to Cape Breton to see Grandma and Grandpa. We flew West to Alberta for Christmas ’99/NYE 2000. There was always music a long the way. He introduced to me Nazareth, ACDC, The Doors, The Rolling Stones … the list is endless. The music made me feel free. It still does.
It wasn’t long before I had my own music collection which became my armour and my saviour. When I was sad and lonely, music was there. When I missed Dad our favourite albums were (and are) a trot down memory lane. When I felt no one understood me, music did. Music has been my friend since I was a child. It is the only constant positive I have had though out my entire life.
A friend’s mom once told my mom “Carla idolizes Rock Stars”, as if there were cause for concern. Yes, I do idolize Rock Stars but not because I desire to be them per se but because their talent and music has helped me immensely. If not for the music I don’t know that I could have lived through the last few decades. I cannot thank my father enough for the music. He let my ears taste many different types of music and gave me the tools to listen. I also cannot thank him enough for leaving me his stereo, he knew I wanted it and I do cherish it. It is priceless to me for so many reasons.
As I continue to struggle music is here to comfort me. To tell me that I am okay, I am not alone. It makes me feel sublimely happy to hear a good tune loud and proud. For a brief time I can forget all the sadness and negativity that I am trying to work through and just be me.
- FEATURED PHOTO is my own creation. It’s a finished project from my Graphic Design Days, created for Typography class circa 2003.