My name is Shasta. I am one of four children. My parents were married. From the outside, we seemed to be a big happy family. However, inside the walls of our home was a nightmare. At 8 years old, I got a black eye for not folding a towel the right way. At 13, we watched one of our siblings have a knife held to their neck. I also distinctly remember being hit with a plastic baseball bat and going to bed with out dinner often.
I lived in fear, my heart was empty and I was lost. When I was 14, I went into foster care for two years. I went back home when I was 16, but while there was no longer physical abuse, I didn’t feel loved. When I turned 18, I moved out and began living on my own. The years of abuse from my parents left me depressed. I kept my shades drawn, ate very little and only went out at night so I could avoid people.
During this time, MySpace was in its glory days. Music was every where, and you could easily find new great artists. I always enjoyed music because it was a place for me to escape from my life, which was not an easy task. I could find a song for every emotion and sing along without being ashamed of how horribly I sang. For a few years, music was a place where I found happiness, until I turned 21.
My brother Josh was the center of my family. He was the one who held us all together; The one who joked and laughed the most; The one who dropped what he was doing to help you; The one who gave you silly little gifts that were exactly you. He wasn’t just my brother. He was my best friend.
One night, Josh was headed home from a friend’s house. It was extremely foggy with a five foot visibility. As josh was driving, he came up to a train track crossing with no warning lights or arm bar. A train happened to be crossing the road while heading towards it. I talked to an officer who responded to the accident. He said he could barely see his flashlight beam a few feet in front of him. There were no skid marks on the road, which was an obvious sign that Josh never saw the train. At the young age of 20, we had to say goodbye to my brother.
That is when I stopped caring about music. This lasted for a few years. I still listened to music, but none of it hit my soul like it did before. One day, The Silver Heart Club came along and I turn it up really loud. I sang at the top of my lungs. I attended Bo and Steven’s album release concert and on my hour and a half drive home, I played their song “House Fire” on repeat as the tears flowed. I found the magic again. To be connected; to see how real it is…how real they are. To have a history, a story, a connection, a friendship with the two that put their music out there… to say that I am a fan of music doesn’t even touch how these songs have lit that fire again.
I remembered being in the back seat of the car with Josh leaning on each other to the song, “Lean On Me”. I thought about the two of us singing the country song, “Time Marches On” and recalled the lyric, “The only thing that stays the same is every thing changes”. All of those emotions came flooding in. Once again, I started seeking out new music; really listening to the words again.
One song changed my life around. The pain lays dormant in my heart and shows itself every now and then. There are songs that drag me back to that pain; thinking back to the times when Josh was still here.
I lost my will to sing for four years, afraid to hear songs that Josh and I sang together. Afraid to hear a few words in a song that would reduce me to tears. Thank you Bo and Steven for being brave enough to stand up in front of us and let your voices be heard. Some days music saves me, and some days it breaks my heart. Don’t stop singing, because I will always be listening.