It’s easy to say you love music. But music has always been different for me. From the moment I was born I loved it. I know this love comes from my Mom. She played the music she loved constantly. In the car, in the house, and at work. I grew up loving the music she loved. She passed her love of music not only to me but to my brother also.
My brother is 7 years older than I am so I also listened to what he loved growing up. I grew up with music from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. I was lucky they both had such a wide variety of taste. It went from Oldies to Disco to Country to Rock to Metal and I loved it all. Eventually I figured out my own favorites.
I had a hard time making friends and spent a lot of time alone in my room listening to music. I knew I was different but I didn’t understand why. It would be many years before I did. I was bullied most days at school but kept it to myself. I kept everything to myself. To this day I still have the same 1 best friend. I’m lucky she knows all the bad and all the good about me and accepts me as I am. She was never good at confrontation either.
We both used music to express ourselves. If we were pissed off we would put in some Pantera or Metallica and blast it while driving fast in her black Trans Am (I probably got the car wrong but it was a T-top black sports car that looked cool). She knew if I was sad we were playing Aerosmith. My love of Aerosmith knew no bounds. I had every cassette they had made, every VHS tape, every album, and when they came to town I was at their shows.
In high school when we had study hall they did this odd thing where they would put you in the back of an ongoing class. So as a Junior I would sit in the back of a Freshman History class for Study Hall. One day I was bored and started listing all the Aerosmith songs I knew. A Freshman boy looked over to see what I was writing. He said “Are those Aerosmith songs?”. I told him they were. He said “What do you know about Aerosmith?”. I thought “Oh no he didn’t” but I didn’t talk to people not even little jackass Freshman. But he kept it up and people who know me do know that if you poke long and hard enough you will get a response.
Needless to say I was asked to leave Study Hall. The Front Office had never seen or heard of me, unfortunately my brother was well known. Even though he has a different last name they flagged my sister and I just in case. All for the love of Aerosmith and because I let the music do the talking.
When I began to stutter several years ago my relationship with music became even stronger. I don’t think people really understand what it’s like to be almost mute at crucial times. My stuttering isn’t a normal stutter. It sounds like jibberish.
When all you want to do is tell someone how you real feel but can’t because nonsense comes out of your mouth it’s frustrating. The more frustrated you get the worse your speech gets.
When I drank I had no problem with speaking. This wasn’t a good thing. Music also influenced my mood quite a bit while I was drinking. My best friend knew this before I did and would try to prevent certain songs from being played at a bar or party. But she wasn’t my babysitter and could only do so much.
She did know that if she put on Aerosmith I would usually calm down and go back to the somewhat happy drunk I started out as.
Mr. Steven Tyler’s words, music, and whimsical charm have saved me more times than I can count. I thank you for that often. I also thank you for showing honesty and generosity to younger versions of me. I may not be religious but I believe in the power of music.