"I had to resign myself, many years ago that I'm not too articulate when it comes to explaining how I feel about things, but my music does that for me. It really does." David Bowie
One of the great things about Rock music is it's ability to mobilize, inspire and empower people. For Rock fans, a show can be a place to feel unified with like minded people. It creates life long memories to sing along to songs that have hugely impacted them in some way. For the performers, the stage is that sacred place where energy and adrenaline rules. It's a place to feel in the moment and on a good night completely in control. The stage is a place where fans look at great performers as powerful and charismatic, even when they sing songs about their heartbreaks and struggles. Although songs can bleed of artists vulnerability and struggles the stage often can filter out the true reality of that persons weaknesses. Nobody likes to feel weak. Music is an outlet to turn weakness into strength. Transparent Soul's EP, "Proving Ground" sums up my story of many times feeling like an underdog in the fight to overcome my physical and mental disabilities. Even to this day, I find it highly uncomfortable at times to confront the fact that I was born with Cerebral Palsy and Dyscalculia. The Cerebral Palsy was caused by a premature birth and a traumatic brain injury in the womb. It was said by many in the medical field that I would not survive birth and if I did, I would be blind and/or unable to walk. I was able to prove them wrong on that front but it has presented me with many setbacks while growing up.
I remember going to elementary school having mobility issues with walking. I remember going to many physical therapy sessions and having to go through phases where I had to wear a left leg brace to straighten my leg and right eye patch in efforts to cure my lazy eye. These complications often made me clumsy and accident prone and as you may have guessed resulted in me being bullied. As I grew older, educators were baffled by some of my setbacks and spend countless hours trying to figure out the scope of my disabilities. My struggles in depth perception, mathematical concepts, keeping time, counting money, getting easily lost and distracted, losing things and falling behind in many areas while excelling in others made me an anomaly that was hard to categorize and understand. The struggles often resulted in me feeling depressed and as I grew up I became very isolated and withdrawn.
At age 19, I was finally diagnosed with Dyscalculia which only 4% of the world has. It explained much of my struggles but still prevents me from living a "normal" life. It mainly is a math disability and impairs many abilities that are often taken for granted. Budgeting, navigating and mastering surroundings, recalling dates, times, and sequences of events or information, driving a car, schedules, understanding units of measurements to name a few. The hardest thing growing up was the self esteem issues that accompanied not being able to complete many common milestones of those my age; such as, graduating traditionally, getting your first car, and having the freedom to get out independently, unable to understand financial things and socializing in traditional ways.
Music was and is still one of the things that makes me feel the most empowered. It gives me a voice to vent, take a stand, and relay my story. In life people often doubted or belittled my aspirations and my own self doubt was as crippling as my physical and mental disabilities. In many cases I was forced to fight while being an underdog. This music gives me strength, it gives me Hope, and it is my PROVING GROUND!
Thanks for reading...Rock On and Stay Strong