Many people inspire me and it just happens that I have a story to share. This one is about a colleague who inspired me to write ‘Music as Sandpaper’, in my first chapbook entitled, Turning Pink, Published by A Beret Days Book - The Ontario Poetry Society, ISBN: 978-1-897497-61-6.
This was during a time, when I was a client service and portfolio administrator in a financial services company. I just separated from a long term relationship and my self-esteem was extremely low, almost non-existent. It was difficult for me to go into the office because of my emotional and mental state. Anything that someone said either hurt or uplifted me. I was sensitive with a capital S.
I changed my mood by singing or humming in the office. Many people knew I was coming by their desks because of this. Unfortunately, there was an office mentality of "us verse them", which I personally disliked. You’ve guess it; my area was known as the “dark side”. Yet, I knew, we all worked for the same company and we really needed each other there for it to run smoothly.
The mailroom as on the other side of the office and that's where I would be told I was from the ‘dark side.’ One colleague that I knew for years and respected as a person, started to use these phrases ‘how’s the dark side?’ or ‘why are you over here, shouldn’t you be back where you belong on the dark side?’ He was only joking, but I was extremely depressed about life.
One day, he said something about me being part of the ‘dark side’ and I was not in the mood to listen. I looked at him and stated, “it really hurts my feelings when you say, I’m from the dark side.” I probably started to cry.
“Wow, you really are sensitive,” he seemed to be shocked.
No kidding, I was sensitive. I just didn’t need to hear people telling me that I’m from the ‘dark side’ anymore. I knew it wasn’t true and I had to say something. How would he know if I was hurting unless I told him? When I finally spoke up it changed my relationship with him instantly.
He apologized and asked how he could make amends. I responded by asking for chocolates or flowers. He nodded and walked away. Of course, I was still upset about it for a few days later because I was depressed and didn’t know how to let anything go.
One afternoon, I received an email, he told me to stop by his office because he had my chocolates. What? He really did buy me chocolates. I refused because I didn’t trust him. That’s when he told me to relax because he really did buy them.
I ventured over from the imaginary barrier known as the crossing of darkness into light, where I expected to be tricked. I was pleasantly surprised because he did purchase a tasty selection of chocolates. I was truly grateful that he went out of his way for me. We started to talk again as we did before, many years ago.
Over the next few months, we started to build a new friendship. It was difficult for me because I was still unhappy with my life. Since I would sing in the office it seemed that music was the safest topic. We exchanged private email addresses and discussed music, our favourite stations and bands. I began to value our time together. During one of our many conversations, he explained his idea of music. He revealed a bit of himself and said, “music is like sandpaper.”
After that statement a surge of creativity pumped through my brain. There was a flow of music and words on how it was like sandpaper. I think I started the poem in his office. I was bursting with excitement. I took off and started to write. I wrote a few versions of it on paper and then emailed it to him. I had a tune in my head and I couldn’t do my work afterwards. That night, I worked on it. I created the poem and a separate song. I didn’t know how to play an instrument well enough, so recorded only the voice part. I emailed that to him too.
The next morning he gave me praise and appreciated my writing and singing. Of course I wanted to share it; he inspired me just by being himself and partaking in a conversation. I was truly grateful for his friendship. He claimed he didn’t know that I could ‘really’ sing. I swear he heard me in the office many times. I made an agreement with him that I’ll buy him a coffee if I generate any money from it. That’s all the acknowledgment that I’ll give him. Well, I still owe him a coffee, but that can wait.
So, who inspires you? Think about that for a while. We really don’t realize how we affect others. To think, just a simple turn of phrase can cause a burst in a mind of an unknown artist and guess what? We are all artists.