Why I Walked Away

Pink Think: “You can learn to fly and you can chase your dreams; you can laugh and cry, but everybody knows you’ll always find your way back home, where they know exactly who you are; where the real you is a superstar.” – from the song You’ll Always Find Your Way Back Home in Hannah Montana: The Movie

photo by SEI PROD on Flickr

It was ridiculous, really.

I was watching Hannah Montana last night with my family and in the middle of one of Miley Cyrus’ rock numbers, I had to leave and bawl like a baby in the bedroom.

I thought, I’ll never rock again.

Sorry. I know that was a little melodramatic. But after a few days of wrangling over my decision to quit my rock band and finally doing it, a good cry felt good.

Quit. Ugh. I hate that word. I’d just as soon stick my toes in a bathtub of ravenous piranha than be a quitter.

I really didn’t want to quit. I wanted to just grit my teeth and try to make it work, but I couldn’t. I had to walk away before we committed to another gig.

Saying I quit for “family reasons” is a little simplistic, although I was missing a lot of my kids’ games. On the day of our recent performance, I skipped out on my oldest’s volleyball game, her last one in a season where I had not been able to attend a single game of hers due to band practice.

I suppose when push came to shove, the band could have met another time, or less frequently. Ultimately, it was about family though. As in protecting my marriage. My male band mates were always gentlemanly, but working with them week in and week out, having to make that creative connection, was making demands on me emotionally and drawing away from my loyalty to my husband and kids. I tried just being professional and showing up to “work” but it felt about as fun as a root canal.

Also, as accommodating as my band had been about our playlist, I conceded some ground to songs that made me feel uncomfortable, even though to the casual listener – like my conservative husband – they seemed fairly innocuous. It wasn’t just songs with explicit lyrics, but songs that had a definite sensual undertone – heck, even just guitar riffs – that I’d never noticed before. When I had to practice the songs daily, I felt like I was constantly standing in a spiritually shadowy place. Although fairly amicable, the debates wrenched my gut. And I didn’t really look forward to further battles or eventually relaxing my standards.

I wish I’d realized this before I started. Or maybe I did and threw all caution to the wind because I wanted a chance to prove I could do it. And I didn’t want to say, years from now, what if?

I think I got the better end of the deal. My band has been generous with their patience and support, giving me the opportunity of a lifetime many people only dream about. The experience gave me confidence as a singer, nudged me towards songwriting, and rekindled my love of acoustic guitar. I hope, while I was in it, they couldn’t fault me for my dedication.

I won’t be giving up music. I plan to take group guitar lessons and hopefully perform solo on acoustic guitar. I will be scaling it back, however, and hopefully not have it consume my life. Because yes, there are other important things. Like family. And writing. And who knows what else is in store for me.

As I mulled my decision, I told my husband (who has been very hands-off in this whole process), “But I’ll be boring!” And my ever-patient husband looked me in the eye and said, in a knowing voice, “You’re never boring.”