Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Me_cc Every now and then I come across blog posts or articles written by mothers who miss who they used to be. They long for their old freedoms and careers. They talk about what they used to look like and the trips they used to take. How they used to be someone else.

I have to admit, I never really related.

I was never so happy than to have my husband suggest that I leave my job when I got pregnant. It's not that I didn't enjoy working. I loved my job, but I was tired and ready to shed that skin.

I was ready to be needed by my family, not 100 different families. I didn't have the ability to distance myself while working in the non-profit sector and ended up self-extending my job description far beyond just providing music lessons for children from low-income families.

That part of my life was rewarding, and while Kevin admits he misses seeing me in a business suit and heels (he says with a "rawr)", we are both happy with me staying at home.

There is another part of my life, however, that didn't end with such a definitive line. It simply has faded away and before I realized what was happening, it was completely gone.

I will never be a rock star.

When I moved to the Triangle 11 years ago, the first thing I did after finding a job was to look for a band. Within six months, I had joined up with three amazing guys who actually wanted to play my songs. I was in heaven. Add that to the weekly open mics at the Berkeley Cafe, and I was honing my chops like never possible in Mississippi.

Over the next several years, I was in and out of different groups, hauling my Fender Rhodes mostly by myself, using a handtruck and a rather ingenious system my ex-husband designed for getting it in and out of our hatchback.

I liked walking into a club or a music store and being treated like a musician and not a groupie girl. I liked the spotlight. I even liked being behind the spotlight, trading my lead singer days for back up vocals and keys in the last group.

Last week, Kevin, Little Bird, and I went into Sam Ash just to see what they still had in stock during this dismal economy. As we walked through, it felt completely foreign to me. Even though I had worked there a decade ago when it was still Mars Music, nothing felt familiar. I realized as we were leaving that it was me who had changed, not the store.

I presented as a pregnant woman with her toddler in tow, following her musician husband through the racks of guitars. There was no reason for them to perceive me as anything but a mother.

I have a confession. Sometimes when I meet new people, either in real life or online, I wish they knew me when I was "cooler." You know, you might have caught me at The Pour House or The Cave, do you remember? Maybe we met at The Berkley? I'm sure we know some of the same people . . .

But that's not who I am. Not anymore. Granted, I still get to perform and record with a musician who holds my utmost respect. We get gigs in theaters where someone else lugs my gear, or better yet, I have a beautiful grand piano to use. We get to play with the North Carolina Symphony. We are home before 3:00 AM and don't smell like stale cigarette smoke. Oh, and we get paid well. There is that very distinctive difference.

Of course the whole rock star thing is tongue in cheek, but the realization that even though I love my new skin, I'm not entirely comfortable in it? That's pretty on the mark, and I guess I relate a little more than I originally thought.

Photo by Gail Anne Photography.

Marty blogs about mothering and music at Don't Take the Repeats and sings only phrases on Twitter.

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