Christmas time was here, retail and online businesses made lots of money with all of the gift buying that went on, and there were those in Christian community that were reminding us that gifts aren’t the real reason for this season. I can tell you that this year Christmas meant something more to me than I anticipated. Christmas signified a rebirth of sorts for me. This rebirth by and large has to do with a lot of what I’ve gone through this year and some of the more recent changes I made for the rest of my life. Some of you who know me personally know that at the beginning of this year I was on my way to being divorced from my wife of 7 years and going through a lot of changes because of it. I began to wonder if there was something wrong with me that I just wasn’t seeing. I really began to devalue who I am until I found solace in the one thing that has kept me sane for a very long time, music. I found 1 particular album very helpful (and I still listen to it regularly today) Soul Movement vol. 1 by Slakah the Beatchild (if you’ve never heard Slakah’s beats or music along with some of Canada’s best and brightest, PICK THIS ALBUM UP!!!!!!!) . Not only did I find comfort in listening to this and other albums I have, I found comfort, joy, and an emotional outlet again in playing and writing music. This was a great re-discovery for me that has carried me throughout this year and will continue on for the rest of my life.
The middle of this year found me very agitated at the political doublespeak, excuses, and just overall stupidity of playing, teaching, and being a part of the Black American Music/African-American Music/Jazz (yes I did that on purpose) Scene of Hartford. I said scene instead of community because the truth is that there’s only a handful of people that truly believe in the community as a whole while others are more concerned with keeping themselves as the “kings” of this scene and planning out their own personal agenda at the expense of others. I don’t say this lightly, as I have great respect for the musicians that work hard here in Hartford to make something happen, but I also don’t’ apologize for airing what some people all ready know or what some people would rather keep secret. Hartford is a place with a lot of potential that never seems to realize what it’s capable of because some (rather influential )people (in certain circles) are more concerned with making excuses and trying to put their favorites in places that they haven’t earned rather than allowing things to take their natural course. This is something that irritated me in particular during the middle of this year because this attitude cost me a few opportunities that I’ve worked hard for and most definitely earned.
But on the brighter side, the middle of this year also brought the beginning of reconciliation between my wife and I, something that I definitely wasn’t expecting, but am happy to work on. You see, if you were serious when you took those marriage vows, there’s very little that can keep you away from working on making it right. And this is definitely a process, but I believe it’s a worthwhile to work on it. The middle of this year also brought 3 goals that I’ve wanted to achieve for quite a while now to fruition. Playing at a few Jazz Festivals and playing in my hometown of NYC for the first time in several years and I was able to celebrate my wedding anniversary, something I didn’t think was possible at the beginning of this year.
The end of this year has brought me back to a place I 0nce was, and to a new place I am just beginning to explore. The end of this year has brought me back to being a student both figuratively and literally. This has also brought me to a place of new boldness in which I not only have stood up to somethings that were wrong and needed to be challenged, but somethings that have allowed me to be bold enough to get a promotion at my current job even though my employer knows my long term plans lie away from them. This opportunity will help me to better provide for my family as well as reach some goals for 2012 that require a financial investment. I have also regained a new respect for my health, not because of any health scare, but because of my own choice and began taking better care of my health, because without it, I can’t do or enjoy anything in this life.
The new year is only a few days away, but it’s already going to be a lot brighter with new challenges that I’m looking forward to tackling.