by Monica Zamora-Lawrence
Since I was a small child, I always had a desire for music. At a young age I began studying the piano. I became an advanced pianist for my age and felt a sense of peace when I played. In 2001, my family and I moved to Kansas to be closer to my mother’s side of the family. This is when my life started to change in ways I could never imagine.
I remember walking in to my new middle school, feeling an extreme amount of fear. Different state, different school, different people, and a completely different culture. I had no idea, once again, what I was doing. For a tween, that is a terrifying feeling! Especially if that tween was just as shy as I was.
The day I decided to join band, I found a special place of belonging. I found an amazing group of friends within that class. I found a different kind of confidence within myself as well. (Don’t get me wrong, I was still awkward, but it was a “band geek” awkward.) Transitioning in to a school was hard, but finding an instrument that could help me get through all the “new” a tween could handle, was something my soul was absolutely searching for.
Going in to high school, I still actively participated in band. I thought I had found a safe place for the last 4 years of my childhood, but I was wrong. There were people outside of band, and even in band, that became bullies towards me. I thought the nick-names that they had made up for me, were special for a moment, until I found out otherwise. “Big Red” is the one I remember the most, and it wasn’t until one of the bullies came up to me and explained the reason why they all called me that, that I realized I was actually being made fun of by a group that I thought I could call a second family. I was extremely hurt, embarrassed, and humiliated. I went home that evening and cried my eyes out. After I had let out all my sadness, I turned to my instrument. I went back to school the next day, and owned up to the nick-name “Big Red,” but this time, in a different way. Now I would no longer be known as the bigger girl with red hair…no. This time, I was going to focus on my music and show them the talented, unstoppable, I-don’t-care-what-you-think-of-me, “Big Red.” Eventually I became lead of my section, but soon found a different kind of calling.
Right next door to the band room, was a choir room. As I was walking past the choir room one day, I heard the most beautiful harmonies. Now, I knew I loved to sing, so I contemplated joining at first. Then I made my decision to be bold and just go after it! Well, I made it! And not only did I get an offer to join the choir, but several members of the high school show choir asked me to join them! And that’s when, I became a member of the most amazing group of people I have ever met. This group truly showed me the meaning of how a school group family really cares about each other. I found my voice, and I found out I could dance as well! Who knew?!
My junior year of high school, I began suffering from major depression and anxiety. I continued with schooling, and kept going without anyone ever knowing how much I was actually suffering. I kept turning to music. Always, turning to music. Every time I felt low, angry, bitter, etc., I turned to music. Any kind of music. There is always something out there that makes a person realize that others have either been there, or maybe have seen a loved one go through whatever is ailing them.
Over the summer, that year, I tried to take my own music away. I had ended on a path that I couldn’t see my way out of. I thought the music had died for me…I couldn’t sing the songs anymore. But when I woke up in the hospital, with all my friends and family around me, I felt foolish. How could I think the music ended? I had so many more symphonies to write in my life. So what did I do?! I got up, and shook it off. I declared that no matter how bad my depression and anxiety got to me, I would ALWAYS turn to music.
Ever since then, I have written many varieties of songs: hate, pain, loss, heartache, hope, friendship, break-ups….but above all, LOVE. This is the reason music is so important to us individually, and especially our youth. Music builds a person up, from beginning to end. Music is always in our souls. Even our hearts beat to their own drum. Music creates a path to a successful life, and a road to walk down to share every emotion with.
Now, I am a Certified Surgical Technologist with an Associates Degree in Applied Science, a part-time teacher in the Surgical Technology Lab, I work with mentally disabled consumers and mentor them through their ever day struggles, and I’m buying my own home! Every day I thank what music, and my teachers, have given me….
My own, personal, musical of a life!
So the next time you’re unsure of where to turn…turn on your favorite song and remember that you have plenty of time to create your own symphony for you life, and the building blocks of all the little ones’ lives. Let’s give them some hope for their precious future, and expand their minds to what wonderful things music can bring to their lives.