my past life…..my journey.

it’s 2012, how did i get where i am now??

i realize that i live sort of an unconventional, unusual life, so i thought maybe i’d share more than just what i could fit on my about me page.

Music has been the constant in my life and what has gotten me through every stage, every victory, every failure. i don’t know what i would’ve done without it.

six and a half years ago, i listened to the words of this song as i drove across los angeles every day down olympic blvd from barrington to wilshire & western in koreatown and back, for a job i hated.  it definitely goes down as one of THE WORST jobs i ever had.

we were treated poorly.  the man i worked for was the douchebag of ALL douchebags and i was miserable. i was 30 going on 31, painfully single, unable to even try to fake being happy nor have the stamina or energy to socialize when i wasn’t working. and i’d drive back and forth each day, looking straight into the sun, listening to this song, hearing the words as it took 48 minutes to drive 8 miles. each way.

there’s gotta be something more

gotta be more than this.

i need a little less hard time,

i need a little more bliss.

I’m gonna take my chances,

taking a chance i might

find what i’ve been looking for……….there’s gotta be something more.

and that’s kinda how i decided one day that i was just done. i couldn’t do it anymore. i needed the money, but i was miserable. my soul was being killed slowly. i wasn’t the person i am now, back then. now i feel like i could handle the nonsense and the ridiculousness of my douchebag boss. but alas, i don’t regret my decision at all.

i decided then and there that while i had loved the perks of working in the entertainment and media world and what it had brought me; new cell phones regularly, a new working, well maintained laptop, a home office set up for those job that required work from home. i got to travel, i was a west coast sales manager for several different well-known websites and i handled LA, SF & Seattle. there were days i’d leave LA on a 745am flight, have lunch in SF and dinner and drinks in Seattle.  Looking back it sounds glamorous. but the reality it was lonely and isolating.

i had always thought, assumed, planned, i’m not even sure what the correct terminology is, but i never expected that at 30 going on 31 i’d still be working in the corporate world, single, without children watching everyone else find what i wanted more than anything, while i worked at a job that i was staying at purely for the benefits and perks.

my entire life has been influenced by music, so it’s not all that unusual that the words to a song would affect me so greatly. there really is the soundtrack to MY life. my parents were huge carly simon, james taylor, the mama’s & the papa’s,  neil diamond, barbara streisand, diana ross, kenny rogers fans, the list could go on and on and on! I loved music from as young as i can remember and i’d sit in my car seat and listen to the songs as we drove around LA. i remember it THAT vividly.

i grew up without a tv in my room, no telephone and certainly there were no computers.  i’ve ALWAYS been a night owl and so i had a radio in my room. i’d spend hours and hours a night huddled near my clock radio alarm listening to songs, listening to the words and dreaming of a different life, one where i was happy. so music has been in my heart and soul and part of who i am as far back as i can remember.

i think the first memory i have of really hearing and feeling the words in a song was in 1986 when Cyndi Lauper’s, True Colors came out. i was 11. not a great time in most girls’ lives and it just touched my soul.

you with the sad eyes, don’t be discouraged though i realize,

it’s hard to take courage in a world full of people,

you can lose sight of it all, and the darkness inside you, makes you feel so small.

i see your true colors shining through

i see your true colors and that’s why i love you

so don’t be afraid to let them show, your true colors

true colors are beautiful……like a rainbow.

 

i listened over and over and over again. just like every new song i become obsessed with. 🙂

i got the opportunity of a lifetime just before turning 21 years old, in 1996. i remember it like it was yesterday. and it so wasn’t just yesterday.  my next door neighbor’s brother-in-law, whom i’d done some babysitting for in the past, he showed up one may friday evening, around 6pm, knocked on our door, and said to my mom, “teri, i need to talk to your daughter about the rest of her life, where is she?”.

he proceeded to tell me that he needed a new assistant and he had wanted to hire me for a long time now. he thought with the semester ending and this position opening he was chomping at the bit to hire me, and groom me.  he explained i didn’t need experience, he said he could teach me what needed to be learned and have me trained, but that you couldn’t teach someone the interpersonal skills that i had. i was stunned. floored. shocked. in awe. i was so proud of me.

finding a career and wearing a suit had never been an idea in my mind or suggested to me by my parents.

i went to work in national radio advertising. wearing a suit. heels. i went to dinners. i was the baby, around grown ups all day. i was elated. i can still feel the butterfliles i got when i walked down that hallway at 6500 wilshire blvd, 2nd floor. we worked really hard and we played really hard but it was more than a boot-camp of sorts. i learned so much about life in that office and from those men (boys now that i look back at it!) that i wouldn’t know if not for having gone down that path. i mean those boys taught me how to drink, and not seem drunk when with clients (very handy on a date now i might add!) and how to drink and not get sick while out with clients. remember, i wasn’t even 21 years old when i started there.

but at some point the fun just went away. it all stopped being fun. the never feeling fulfilled because in sales your job is never done. you can ALWAYS sell more. i worked for some huge conglomerates. i’m just name dropping here because even as i write this never-ending post now, i realize, wow, i really truly did live another life.  kiis-fm, star 987, mega 100, myspace, cnet, movietickets.com, nbc.com, snap.com…..all huge in the media world during 1999-2005, and all places i can proudly say i worked. in my other life.

then the bust happened. i still had my job but expectations were through the roof. i was also busting on my own being 30 and single and alone. hurricane katrina hit that summer, just a month after i turned 30 and that’s what started the ball rolling. i was mesmerized 24/7 by the news. for the first time i watched the news as an adult and realized i had to do something. people, children were dying in my own country. it was then that i realized i was someone who needed to make a difference. selling advertising made no difference to anyone and therefore i was living and empty existence, or so it felt like.

……and we’re back in early 2006 when i realized it was time to walk away from all of that. the expense accounts, the laptop, the cell phone, the travel, the pay! and do something that would make ME happy. and somehow  make a difference. i didn’t know what that was going to be. i tried a few different things out and then one thing led to another and i started babysitting and nannying full time. it’s something i had done A LOT of over the years in the evenings and on weekends to supplement my income and to spend time with children. i have always been drawn to children. so the not having them of my own was aching in my soul. so spending time with them all day made some of that disappear.

bizarrely enough, a woman i was babysitting for part-time, posted an ad for me on a site i had never even heard of and was one of those “mommy only” sites, so she and i wrote and ad and posted it looking for additional work for me to supplement the hours she was able to give me.

……and that’s when calen & leah’s mom found me. of course there was no leah, there was only a teeny tiny little baby calen, he was 11 weeks old.

i don’t know if i consciously had this in mind when i made the choice to work full-time as a nanny or it was just the universes way of sending me a message, giving me a gift of sorts. but, i’m kinda like a paid SAHM.

leaving my career and looking for something more was the absolute right thing for me. i have found the most amazing family to work for. i feel fulfilled every time i look at those little eyes and see how much i’ve done to help influence their lives. the hugs, oh the hugs. they could cure absolutely anything. i can see daily that my actions are helping to mold and teach and love these children and i am so lucky to have found them. or that they found me. i truly feel that i’d be lost without them. it’s so much more than a job to me. they are my chosen family. the family i have that i don’t share blood with, but can’t imagine my life without.

this song has everything to do with the love of a couple, but the words, they mean so much more to me. they explain what calen (and then leah)  have done for me.  they’ve saved me. they’ve made me a better person. they have shown me what really IS important in the world, worth fighting for, they love me unconditionally and vice versa.

i’m not a religious person, more faith-based, but i don’t believe that they came into my life by accident.  ❤

i leave you with this song that means the world to me……and thank you for getting to know a little bit more about my journey. I’m sorry for going on and on, but once i started writing i couldn’t decide where to stop, that was 16 years i had to catch you up on!! and there’s still more! 🙂  ~traci xo

god gave me you for the ups  and downs

god gave me you for the days of doubt

and for when i think i’ve lost my way

there are no words here to left to say……god gave me you.

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