Sticking your toe in the lake and testing the waters can be a very scary thing. I’ve been very hesitant to take a leap of faith for the past few years which is very unlike me. However, I’m quite lucky that my braver, gutsier self seems to be visiting more and more as of late. I had one of those strange realizations that just came out of nowhere yesterday while getting a manicure (exactly 25 minutes before the stomach bug of doom consumed the rest of my evening – I’ll get back to how that might be connected to the topic in a moment).
A couple of months into my first semester of college, I decided that the University of Texas was not a good fit at all. 50% of the reason I chose to attend UT was to march in the Longhorn Band. When my dreams were crushed that late August evening with the realization that my name was not on the final cut list, I was left with nothing more to do but practice the heck out of my bassoon and make the best grades I made the entire time I attended college. Good for the brain and GPA, terrible for the soul. I was so unhappy that I packed up the car and went home to go to a branch of UT closer to things more familiar. While that doesn’t sound crazy, the idea of it was completely scary. I didn’t know anyone in the music department at the new school. I didn’t even think I wanted to graduate with the degrees they offered in Music. However, home I went. Something pulled me there.
During the 3 months I was at that school, I managed to make terrible grades, wait tables 40+ hours a week, stay out WAY too late almost every night, start to fall out of love with my then boyfriend, and lead the UT-Arlington cymbal line to a 1st place victory at PASIC (for you percussionists out there, you know that’s kind of a big deal).
It was JUST what I needed at that point in my life. All of those things above (some cooler than others) started to form an arrow pointing me back to Austin. I began to value attending a school that inspired me to get better grades. I left a relationship that was sucking the tears right out of me. I also regained the confidence in my ability to crash 2, huge metal plates together, while marching, and doing it well. My time spent in the unknown played a huge part in forming who I am today.
The quick and dirty end to that story is that I went back to UT-Austin, successfully auditioned for the Longhorn Band, ended up being a section leader before graduation, and had a BALL. Some grades upon my return were great (the music ones, that is, and really that was all that mattered in my head) and some were not. My soul was happy, I finally valued where I was, and the Erin I am today started to peek out from behind my youthful ways.
I could go on and on about what my return to Austin did for me, but that wasn’t the point of this post. The point was that doing something unfamiliar and a bit scary was 100 times better than staying put. Sure, I ended up back where I started, but I was on a different path. Currently, I feel as though I’m being presented with some scary and unfamiliar paths and when this story popped into my head yesterday, it was a complete “a-hah!” moment for me. This is no different than then. Sure, walking down the unknown path might mean I’ll run through some brambles and pot holes along the way, but somewhere down that path is greatness… wouldn’t it be worth checking out?
And now back to that stomach bug – it’s quite possible that my completelyunabletodealwithstresslately self created the stomach bug that led to some champion porcelain God worshiping… but that just means it’s important to me, right?
See, I told you I’d get back to that stomach bug 🙂