The Pain of Childhood, And How Music Got Me Through It
I was always an outgoing kid. I was one of those fearless, brave children who loved to be in the spotlight. From the time I could talk, I wanted to sing, dance and perform for anyone who would listen. I started songwriting at age 7, and wrote my first musical by age 10. It was clear from a young age that I love everything related to music.
I was different than the other kids. I stood out. I was unafraid to vocalize my hopes and dreams publicly. I didn’t try to fit in, and young kids don’t like things that are different.
My reality started changing when I got into the 3rd grade. I had a school teacher who didn’t understand or support me. She talked me down in front of other children, and told me to my face that I didn’t have any friends. I became a loner.
I started fearing school. I noticed the other children were treating me differently. Mocking me behind my back, and distancing themselves. I didn’t understand why, only that I was becoming a very lonely little girl at school. This pattern continued to worsen through 4th grade, and hit the peak when I entered the 5th grade.
No one can say for certain why children bully other children, or why some children are targets, but I became the target of the “mean girls”. It was a constant barrage of teasing and harassment, that no adult seemed to pick up on. I was at the center of all their ugliness. I became the untouchable. No other child wanted to be my friend, for fear of becoming a target, as well.
I started to hate myself.
The little girl who was fearless, who shone so bright, and had big hopes and dreams, was gone. I wanted and desired so many things, but was afraid to say any of it. I was called stupid, fat and ugly every single school day of my 5th grade life.
I began to find excuses to miss school. I faked sick. I would fake an injury so I could check out of class. I pretended to have a learning disability so I could attend the resource class for part of the day. Anything to get me out. I thought no one believed in me. That no one understood my pain. And I kept it hidden, because I wanted to be strong.
I knew deep down that my spark and fire were still there. I only needed a way to connect with it.
Throughout the whole horrible experience of being the target of bullying for YEARS of my life, I had one constant thing that kept me together. That kept the embers of my inner strength burning.
Music saved my childhood.
Music saved my life.
When the 6th grade rolled around, my parents enrolled me in singing and dancing lessons. This was the first opportunity I had to step away from the kids at school, and create my own community of people who understood me, and had the same hopes and desires as me. I found friends and love.
As those relationships grew, I started caring less about the children at school, and turned my focus on developing my talents and my friendships with my new friends.
I found HOPE.
The conduit of music was my salvation.
It didn’t change the fact that school was still hard. That I was still very unpopular. But, it gave me the outlet I needed to be myself, and to do it with likeminded people.
I went on to have very successful relationships throughout Junior High and High School. My music training gave me the CONFIDENCE I needed to succeed in my music career, and in life.
I owe the “mean girls” so much. Through the experience of bullying, and through the healing music brought me, I became a fighter.
Music saved my life then, and it has saved my life many times since. I owe the success of my life to the foundation I found as a child in music.