My teen years were marked by music. Lyrics and melody played to every relationship, emotion and milestone in my life. Music was inspiring, uplifting and at times served to commiserate my heartbreaks and plights. Like most of this age group I listened to it every chance I got. But I had one other inspiration that many of my peers did not. I was an avid reader, specifically of all accounts of great women. In fact I spent many summers and every weekend checking out then absorbing all biographies the library shelves held. I was seeking any female that made an impact in their culture, righted wrongs, accomplished heroic acts, thwarted evil.
My imagination was ignited straight from the shelves of The Eckhart Public Library a place I dearly loved. Growing up in a small town in Indiana (population 7,388 my first year of high school) I was captivated by a bigger world with unlimited possibilities. I would envision myself as a hero in a war, a person of indignation righting wrongs, a spy changing the course of history, whatever I read I wanted to live. Becoming that person of impact was the future pinnacle of this lofty goal. It was the inspiration that kept me dreaming, desiring and determining I would be more.
Believing that I was created for so much my small community, circumstances or even what my culture led me to believe kept me on an optimistic track as I set out to make my mark. Leaving that small Indiana town at 18 years of age to “live independently” I set my course. Sometimes set it well, others not so much so. I can only imagine my parent’s emotions as they watched me load up my belongings. Leaving with all my clothes, a bed, dresser and rattan chair, I headed off to make it on my own. Moving into a bedroom of a home owned by my older brother, I was seeking my own road to adventure. Living for a short stint in my brother’s house was my parent’s compromise for my independence.
I began my journey not by going to college I went to work. A few years of jobs, a stint in a commune, running a campground, then entering the music business my road was not predictable. This was just the beginning of my foray into adult life figuring out I may not be that spy, that heroine, or that activist that changed history. I was not one that could be constantly cooped up in an office in a regular job and I was finding my life barometer. Who was I going to be? I just needed to find my path to become that purposed and complete female that in my heart I desired. My path, my purpose, my value and my worth were what I was truly looking for. I’m here to tell you it didn’t come without mistakes, difficulties and challenges. In fact it is probably some of those times that served best to lead me to whom I was to become.
But I did find what I wanted out of life in those years. It was to have real purpose in others lives. I realized I was never content with just a job; I needed to fight for the betterment of those around me. When I joined the commune it was with the goal of sharing, being a part of something greater. Running the operations of a campground allowed me to be a part of a life-changing week in kids from every race, culture, and socio economic background. My foray into the music business led me to partner with some wonderful musicians whose music impacted our culture. Married to the man I loved, my best friend and business partner showed me how to be half of a better whole. Then having my daughters showed me how to love ferociously and unconditionally. Through all of these landmarks my purpose was set and it was trying to help others achieve theirs. And it’s there I still live.
So whatever road you are on, adventure you want to undertake, and passion you want to fulfill I want to encourage you to go for it. The lyrics of one of my all time favorite songs Stand, from one of my all time favorite bands, Sly and the Family Stone encourage what you need to do….“Stand! In the end you'll still be you. One that's done all the things you set out to do”. Find your inspiration to be something great, the great that no one but you can be… to your friends, your family, and your community. Finding your purpose, talents and abilities will indeed help you to stand for right and make your world a better place.