Monday, July 25, 2011

Jack Sparrow's Compass

You never think things are going to change. It's not that you're inept or unaware of the way the world works. When you're caught up in the moment you're not thinking of when it's all going to go south.

We never thought the band would change or that the music would change. If anything in the back of our minds we thought we'd all drift apart before our foundation fell out from underneath us. That the music would always be there. I think that's why we're sadden and embittered by the decline - the heart fell out of the music. And we feel betrayed by the uncouth treatment of the organization we came to love. We were unceremoniously laid off without severance. We stand in the parking lot in disbelief holding cardboard boxes filled with our remnants and mementos. No gold watch, no speech, no thank yous for years of loyal service and dedication, just a swift kick in the ass to make room for the younger recruits who will do more for less.

We were a family. What's more, we are a family still. The dissemination of the inspiration for our meeting doesn't negate our experiences. And what an amazing ride it's been. For 11 years this family has been my world. The experience of following a band around the country, meeting people from the internet and forging the strong bonds we have is not something most people understand. We've all had to defend our choices and endure strange looks. It's not something that can be rightly explained. We all eventually came to not care what others thought. This was our way, these were our friends, and we'll see you on the beach in Mexico. And now the ride is over. Our season passes expired. We're still milling around the parking lot with our boxes and wondering what the next step is. What is the next adventure? Where are we all headed? Are we going there together or will we meet up at the reunion?

I put my box in the car and headed into the sunset, destination known. Yet as I sit here in the city I have longed to call home, I find that I am without an identity. Lost. I've been this late night, dive bar, local band, built in camaraderie, Arizona resident for so long and now the page is clear.What will the next chapter be? There's an outline but what will I fill it in with? What will be the meat of my experience? What will the rhythm and atmosphere be? Who am I now?  It's like I'm the teenager I never was trying on different guises of my personality to see which one stands out the strongest, spinning into different directions, starting off and stopping...what new niche do I belong to? Beach bunny? Bohemian artist? Hollywood socialite? Trend setting combination of all of the above and more? I thought I'd know by now. Really, I never thought I'd have this quandary to begin with, but I don't know. For the first time in my life, I don't know. It's frustrating, exciting, maddening, exhausting, trying, infuriating, inspiring, irritating, exasperating, bewildering, daunting, frightening, challenging, adventurous and anxiety inducing.

The reality is I'm trying to watch the pot boil. Right now I feel like a man without a country and before long I'll turn around and find my passport stamped. I stand here with Jack Sparrow's compass concentrating on what I want most and trusting it will show me the way. I just hope there's enough rum.

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