What a Long Strange Trip It's Been

Life changing experiences happen in many ways; mine came in the form of my first concert, one summer night at Red Rocks Amphitheater.   Feeling trapped as a pre-teen, early teenager is common.  Kids feel as though they will NEVER graduate, NEVER move out; that their life will forever be under the thumb of their parents.  That feeling sucks, but when you are growing up in a household in which you have been abused both emotionally and sexually, that feeling is so oppressive that you often are not sure how you can go on.   Late in middle school I had some friends that took me under their wings following a very embarrassing lunch episode during which my best friend from elementary school dumped our friendship when I left the lunch area to make a trip to the bathroom.  These new friends saved me from many days of eating a lunch alone in the commons area.    The summer after our freshman year in high school, these same friends and I had the opportunity to go to a Grateful Dead concert at Red Rocks.  Unable to pass up that experience, we went.   It was an amazing time during which I met people from all over the country.  These people were different than anyone I had in my small suburban life.  They encouraged me to join them in their travels.   I was tempted.  I knew I could leave everything at home behind and not be tormented by the home life and I had been experiencing for the previous 15 years.  I didn't go that night; my friends would not let me, saying that if we came together, we had to leave together.  I love my friends for that.  I also love the change in my live that occurred that night.  I finally realized that my homelife did NOT define my life or how my life would be.  I realized that I could be who I wanted.  I realized that I was not stuck in my home; I had choices and that if I made the right choices I would be able to one day have a whole other life.    That concert was 28 years ago and I have been to many other concerts and made many bad decisions.  However, never does a week (or a Grateful Dead song) go by that I don't think about how freeing that experience felt, to realize that there are choices and that life doesn't have to leave you feeling like shit. 


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