How’s it going everybody! I hope everyone had a great Christmas. I had a pretty decent one myself, but that’s done and over with. I come here today to tell you a little story about struggle, and the power of music. 

    Here’s the deal. I’m in the middle of one of the most trying times of my life as we speak. I’m dealing with ongoing mental health issues, job loss, and some troubling news about a sibling of mine when I was but a wee lad. Sometimes I feel as if the world is out to get me at every turn, and that failure will surround me every chance it gets. Aside from Basic and deployments, its the largest trial by fire I’ve ever endured. I’m in a fight for my happiness, and every day is a choice to get up and moving. One of the things I turn to is music. I’ve been a fan of music (specifically metal and hard rock) since I can remember. My sisters always had music playing in the house when I was a kid, so I think that’s where it comes from. 

Anyhoo, around the time I came home from my 2nd deployment in 2011, I decided to up my music game and get a drum kit and learn how to play it. I got super lucky and had a buddy I deployed with that was selling his music shop in Northern Illinois, and was willing to give me a kit he had laying around that he’d taken in on trade. It’s nothing special at all; a starter kit at best, but I still have it all these years later and I still beat the hell out of it whenever I can. 

Behind that kit is where I developed my deep appreciation for metal’s intricacies and quirks. I remember the first time I tried to play double-bass, was an EPIC fail. I kept at it, and I eventually learned how to play decently. But, if you’ve ever tried to play the song “Bleed” by Meshuggah, you’ll know that some people are just on another level. I hope to be as good as Thomas Haake (Meshuggah’s drummer) one day, but I yet again digress. 

Those hours and hours spent behind the kit have, at times, led me to moments of triumph that I can only describe as utter salvation. I’ve also gotten a lot of pent-up frustration and anger out on that kit. It’s quite literally been a life-saver. It’s something that I refuse to part with. Even in these trying times, with that kit damn near falling apart at the seams, it’s still there for me when I need it. That goes a long way when times are the toughest. 

This has been half of a 2-part piece that I’m doing to explain one of my deepest passions in life, and how it might, just might, be a beacon of light in the future. Thanks for taking a few minutes and reading this. I hope at least one of you can take something from this and find some sort of help or motivation from this. 

We are all in this together.

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