I have a clear memory of watching a Fleetwood Mac special on television when I was about eleven years old. I was so comfortably familiar with many of their songs simply by osmosis, but was never aware of the particulars of the band’s evolution. What initially began as an interesting program became the basis of two organic concepts forming in my thought process-two building blocks that I have related many experiences to in order to make sense of my own developing world . In watching Mick Fleetwood play the drums, I felt that I could sense the essence of exhilaration. I remember my amazement at how he was able to integrate everything inside his body through his hands, and can clearly recall the thought “he loves what he is doing”. The product was powerful. A veritable assortment of jumbled feelings, thoughts and emotions meshed into one uniform artistic element channelled through the coordination of his hands. His performance was so fluid and made such exquisite sense. In my brief observation, I understood what it meant to “know” something like it was a part of your body. I yearned to engage in what it was that moved me beyond description.
I was just as enraptured by Stevie Nicks. Idolizing favourites such as Madonna and Cyndi Lauper, I was accustomed to the “punk-tough-sexual” image of women singers of my time. This woman embodied my ideation of what “woman” meant. Unassuming and quietly powerful…it was not her voice that drew me in but the mechanism through which she presented and interpreted the music. She appeared to me to be a medium for all of the individual members of the band, and was the physical outpouring of all of the creativity and emotion. She did not fit within the context of familiar “pop stars”…cookie cutter singers who had a snappy beat and mechanical output.
Her movements were purposeful and feminine. She was intertwined in the lyrics and it seemed like the melody was pulling the story from her and she was giving it willingly. Her face was classically beautiful yet had a quality of timidness and reserve…that she was unaware of her own beauty. Could this woman who exuded such presence and individuality not be anything but utterly grounded in self-assuredness? Something whispered vulnerability about her. Something in my pre-teen self-conscious psyche identified with Stevie Nicks in that moment.
I was moved by her surrender to her craft and this called forth my desire to replicate this passion in my own life. Her individuality was not contrived or produced but a voracious out flowing of her innermost spirit. Her authenticity was mesmerizing.
It was not until recently that I am able to put words to that moment years ago. As an adult, I was fortunate enough to have the experience of seeing her in concert. In witnessing this inexplicable event, I vividly remembered that evening sitting on my parent’s velour floral couch in my flannel pyjamas. I remembered that young self-conscious girl struggling to fight my identity…desperately wanting to morph into something other than what was. Duelling with the inevitable…ignorantly pushing down the potential that was growing inside me because I felt it did not fit with what was “cool”.
Accompanying that memory was the uncomfortable realization that I had not honoured my own quest for passion. In a strange repetition of events, I was that self-conscious girl categorizing myself into what I thought my external reference points needed. I had turned down the volume on my inner voice and travelled the safe road. I do not regret my decision to become a registered nurse. My life has been enriched infinitely by my experiences and interactions. Writing, though, has pulled at my heart strings since I was able to first put pencil to paper. It makes my brain race and my soul relish in creativity. The pull is too strong to ignore, and I have come full circle with the knowledge that this is one call that must be answered.
No, there are no instruction manuals to how to go about the business of living. I do believe though that there are instrumental moments of absorption that appear in all of our lives. I also believe that many of these pivotal experiences occur in a way that we are only able to understand and integrate later in our journey, when we are ready. Stevie Nicks unknowingly slid a little permission to me in that moment twenty five years ago. In that serendipitous moment I laid the groundwork for one of life’s most integral lessons. From that grew an admiration and voracity for the gracefulness that comes when you make peace with self-awareness and the ability to rest comfortably in your own being.