I have to say, it's been satisfying bringing myself up-to-date with myself, if you will, through writing this book. I can see now that I was missing out on some wonderful feelings and emotions from the memories of my youth as a result of closing the book too tightly behind myself—leaving the chapters to collect dust on a shelf so high above arm's reach that it would take too much effort to reopen them down the road. Much to my relief, in some instances I can say there were things I thought would be a lot scarier than they actually were when revisiting them, and it surprised me how things seemed so much smaller in retrospect. It's like the giant tree at the end of your grandparents' driveway, which you thought only Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk could ever be brave enough to climb. But when you go back as an adult, that towering tree might now be dwarfed in comparison to the magnified lens you once saw it through as a tiny child.
Before I started writing, this pretty much summed up my attitude toward the past: "That was then; tomorrow's another day." I did that because some of my past was painful, and this outlook helped me stay afloat. Now I see that in closing off part of my past, I also missed what was happening to me in the present. I was always in a rush toward tomorrow. Sometimes addressing things openly at the time they happen prevents "getting stuck" later on.
I was unhappy. My life had been a fight for security, a place in the world, the chance to pursue my goals. From a very young age, I grew up with the mind-set of a survivor, like a boxer in the middle of the ring, constantly spinning and turning, ready to punch anyone coming at me. Life was not going to knock me down! I had to make it. So I didn't let anyone close enough to find a weakness that could undermine me. I lived in this survivor mode into my adult years and through the ascent of my music career. Long after I'd achieved success and security, I still kept my dukes up, as if no one told me that the fight was over or that I was at least between rounds. It was exhausting living in this defensive state, and other than being tired of it, I also slowly began to feel more confident that life wasn't necessarily trying to beat me up all the time.