Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Growing Up

Thanks to this ongoing website project and a recent reunion with old friends, I have a new perspective on something that a young fan of Stay At Home Bomb once asked me about.  This person told me that she had been under a lot of pressure from her family to grow up and find her way in life. She asked me if you ever grow out of being a punk. She felt at odds with society at large because the things she valued were so out of sync with the mainstream. Digging further, I realized that what she was really asking was whether the things that seem so important to you as a young person stay important as you grow older, or if you have to change at some point and put those things away in order to grow up. Seeing an "oldster" like me perform in Stay At Home Bomb made her think that maybe she didn't have to change so much.

Growing up is something I've always resisted. By that I mean getting mentally old and afraid to try new things, afraid of taking risks. I tried to explain to this young person that if something is really an important, integral part of who you are then that thing can never change.  It's not something you can or should try to suppress. Trying to "grow up" or change by turning your back on something that's special to you (like music is to me, for example) would be like taking a really magical part of yourself, putting it in a shoebox and tucking it safely away on the top shelf of your closet. Time passes, sometimes years go by, but one day you will find that box, take it down and open it up. You'll be shocked that you could ever have put this special part of yourself away for so long because seeing it again will remind you of just how much it meant to you.

I think that's what started to happen to me when I became a mother. I thought I could put away some of my hopes and dreams and replace them with the new sense of fulfillment I would get from being a mom. I don't want to imply that motherhood is not fulfilling; like most mothers, I wouldn't trade it for the world. But the way I was experiencing motherhood did not begin to address the part of me that needed to express my musical ideas. Recognizing and acknowledging that this part of me existed was very difficult because it felt as if I was admitting that I was a failure as a mother. I had been conditioned to believe that being a mother should be completely fulfilling, in and of itself. The realization that it wasn't eventually led me to put together Stay At Home Bomb.

Now that I'm back in touch with many of my friends from the past, it's just so exciting to be around them again, talking about making music, spending time together. The spark is still there. I was at Don Bolles' birthday party last night and he was dancing around the room to crazy, fun music, a big smile on his face, enjoying the company of friends and well-wishers. The joy that radiated off him was like the joy of a kid, beautiful and pure. The good stuff of what we all had as kids - the important stuff - is still inside of us, if we can just get in touch with it and stay in touch with it.


Anonymous said...

I just found this blog today from your website and wanted to say I plan on reading all of the archives until the present ones. It's really nice to see a female perspective regarding the early punk scene. The bags will always be one of my favorite early so cal punk bands. Thanks for all the great music.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for some of the best Punk music ever made and for this post. I'm 15 and trying to figure out what I'm going to do in life or IF I want to do anything with it, and this post kinda gives me hope for the future. Thanks again, Alice.