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Daily Prompt: Futures Past

31 May

Prompt:  As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? How close or far are you from that vision?

Wow. That’s a good and powerful question. Funny, but I had actually been thinking about this for some time now and surprising myself with the answers. There have only been three things that I can ever remember wanting to be, well four if you count that short stint with wanting to be a child psychologist…doesn’t every little girl want to be a child psychologist at one time or another in their life? Three things…but I’ve only had ONE burning desire.

The only “job” I ever aspired to, once I actually figured out what a job or career was, was in advertising. In high school, all I would answer when someone said, “What are you going to do?” was always advertising. Of course I did absolutely nothing at all about researching majors or getting into a college. It was just…”going to happen.” Right.

I also always knew that I would own a business one day. I never had a real passion for any business in particular, but I did have a passion for business in general…the art of “making the deal happen.” I loved that and especially marketing. Coming from a long line of entrepreneurs, I just always knew, felt, assumed, that I would own my own business. I started young, too.

Back in my grade school days we didn’t eat lunch at school unless it was five degrees or below. On the days that I knew we would be eating at school I would load my lunchbox up with penny candy and gumpops and sell the shit out of them at lunch. I’d make a lot of money, for a kid, and would restock for the next shut-in. For the kids out there…penny candy is like getting two pieces of Jolly Rancher for a penny…it was crazy! You could go to the store with a nickel, which, believe me wasn’t easy to get off your dad and you usually had to do a fair amount of chores to get it, but when you did you could transform that nickel into ten pieces of candy. Fifteen pieces if you were as charming as me! 🙂

So that leaves the BURNING DESIRE. The one thing that I’ve known, felt I was born for…the only thing that I’ve ever wanted to do my whole life. The one thing that makes me the happiest girl on earth…the thing that lets me breath. Singing. I’ve always wanted to be a singer. I want to stand on a stage in front of thousands of people and belt out some really sweet shit that will make you cry and get goosebumps. That’s the thing I was meant to do…the one thing that brings me more joy than seeing the smile on my son’s face. Alright…now that I think of that statement I really can’t say more joy…but I will say the same amount of joy. Song. Music. The sweet rhythm and beat, sway and tap…of music. Just thinking about it makes my heart race! Since I was six years old, whenever I was asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” My unwavering answer has always been, “A singer!” If not out loud, always in my head and heart. Once in high school the “singer” job really didn’t go over too well with the folks!

For the longest time I was about as far away from any of those things as you could imagine. It was sitting at the south pole starting my life. Working, married, and with a baby, and all of my hopes, dreams, and passions were hanging up there at the north pole smirking down at me. Polar opposites could not describe it better. I was not unhappy at all. Quite the contrary…I loved my life. I just found different things to occupy my mind-space.

Then something huge happened. Tragic. Life changing. My husband died. I became an instant widow with a 22 month old son. Shit just got real. WTF was I going to do?

I remember my therapist telling me, “Out of something bad comes something good.” I almost wanted to donkey punch her when she said that! I know now that I just wasn’t ready to hear it. It’s true…every cloud has a silver lining and you can find a blessing in every tragedy, if you’re open and willing to seek them out. Sometimes, like in my case, it can take years until you’re ready to see the something good, but when you’re ready, and with the right passage of time, it’s easy to find. Now, after surving being widowed at 25, and having that many more years of life experience, I actively seek the good, silver lining, and blessing in every bad situation. It just makes the damn thing more bearable. What other choice do we have, really? A never ending pity party? Not my style. 🙂

My life turned on a dime. After about a year I quit my corporate job to have more time with my son. I started bartending one night a week in a local tavern that had a really, really good juke box. That’s where I found my voice. I always had a pretty voice, but I never knew of, or realized, the powerful voice I had until I worked in that gin joint. I used to love to sing Crazy, by Patsy Cline. Loved it for two reasons…one, it is such a beautiful song and so well suited to my voice, and two, there are parts of that song that can get very “throaty” and deep…to pardon the pun!…and I would work those sections of the song and look some dude in the eye while I sang it with a smile and got to those very low places. I got some really good tips from singing like that!

One night a guy put $5.00 in the jukebox and played Mustang Sally about ten times. I sang the shit out of that song and had everyone in the bar going wild. Damn, I made some good money that night, too! Over the nineteen years that I bartended I was known as the singing bartender. My “infamy” even traveled to another state, where a good customer of mine was having some drinks in a bar and when the fella he was talking to found out what town he was from, he said that there was this really awesome singing bartender named Trudy that worked at the Clover, and the guy was like, “Hey! That’s my bartender!” I got a kick out of that. I really am a legend in my own mind! 🙂

I’ve gotten on stage with any band who would have me…and many have. English or Spanish…I can sing them all. One of my favorite memories is getting asked to sing with a mariachi band at a girl’s wedding. That was pretty cool. It also reminds me of the time my niece, Peggy, sent the annoying mariachi band at our favorite Mexican restaurant over to our table to “get us”. She was the one who was “got” when I asked the band, in Spanish, if they knew a particular song and if I could sing it with them. Imagine to look of shock and surprise on her face when I turned towards her table triumphantly, and with a smart-assed gleam in my eye, began to belt out one of the best songs about drinking and debauchery in a mariachi band’s repertoire! She will never forget that night!

It’s true that I’ve never sang before thousands, but I have sang before a thousand, and hundreds more. I’m older now and don’t sing publicly like I used to…but sometimes I still do, and people don’t expect this old gal to belt out a bluesy soulful tune like she still do…but she do! Singer…CHECK!

Through my son’s athletic activities I accidentally stumbled upon a business that I never expected. It grew and grew and I’ve now owned my own business(es) for 18 years…ten years, this year, with my brick and mortar store. I own Designs On You, a custom embroidery and screenprinting shop with a retail component that deals with school spiritwear and an online cheerleading store. It’s a very cute store! We sell promotional items too. You know, the stuff you get at trade shows or concerts or events with a company’s logo on them to advertise their company. Oops! Yep. I went there. Guess what? I’m kind of into advertising. We help companies promote their brand through advertising their logo on apparel and promotional giveaway items! I know…it’s cray, but true!

Advertising…Check! Own My Own Business…CHECK!

Here’s the something good from the something bad. You thought I was going to forget about that, didn’t you? Well I didn’t. I never would have found out how strong of a woman I am, if my husband hadn’t died. Believe me, I never wanted him dead for that to happen, but that’s my blessing. I never would have achieved all of the things I have in my life had he not died. I would have been a happy housewife and mother who sang only at bedtime and around the house, the only advertising I would have cared about was coupons for cleaning supplies, and the business part…well, my first husband and I did start a concrete business together. He worked in the field and I worked admin at night after getting home from my corporate job, so that part would have been realized.

In some messed up way it’s almost like the Universe said, “Hey man, we’re sorry to fuck you up like that. Here’s some good shit that’s gonna happen for you. Enjoy.” I’ll take it…what choice is there?