Discover Your True Essence
On An Old Cassette Tape
Lisa Harris ~ June 28, 2016
Look at this beauty. It’s pastel pink. It has a mint green ‘play’ button. It’s retro. It’s throwback. It’s like totally fresh. It’s a 1986 Sharp radio cassette recorder or, in other words, a vintage boom box.
Yes, I said, “vintage”. And, yes, I said, “like totally fresh”. In all seriousness, if you owned one of these, like I did, or if you listened to your favorite songs on any boom box, you are not a Millennial. It’s likely you no longer stand in line to get into the hottest clubs or stay up all night with coffee in hand, to study for your final exams. Nope. Been there, done that. You, my friend, are a distinguished member of Generation X. We are the generation that grew-up on cassette tapes, jelly shoes, answering machines, “Who’s the Boss?”, Nintendo, Michael Jackson and the original MTV – back when it actually played music videos.
What this also means is that right now you’ve lived a little bit of life. You’ve experienced the many highs and lows and perhaps took a few shortcuts or wrong turns along the way. At this point, you may have even found yourself at a crossroads, either by choice or new life circumstances. But regardless of how you found yourself in this place, it can be a time of deep reflection, self-discovery and purpose.
As I insinuated, often this happens when we enter our forties, however, we can face uncertainty and challenges at any time in our lives. I am reminded of this after talking with so many women from all stages in life, who have come to a crossroads. Whether they are searching for their first job out of college, transitioning into new careers, experiencing the difficulties of divorce, balancing family, or rediscovering themselves in their retirement years, they are all at pivotal points in life. In the end, it doesn’t really matter if you listened to your favorite song on a turn table, recorded music onto a cassette tape, or downloaded a new track on your iPod, there inevitably comes a time when you need to silence the world around you in order to listen to your inner self.
It’s in this quiet where we can begin to remember who we are. We need to become introspective in order to follow the path that honors our true selves. Therefore, if you are in this space right now, I recommend you stop for a moment and look back before you attempt to push forward. Your future lies in rediscovering the true essence of who you are and your happiness and life’s purpose depends on it.
I know this, because I was there. I was at a crossroads and still on a journey of my own. There was a moment when I had to look myself in the mirror, figure out who I was and determine what was missing in my life. The only way to accomplish this was to turn back time. Who was I before life happened? Before I feel in love for the first time, graduated from college, established my career, married and had children… before all that stuff and the responsibilities of every day life. To figure who I was, I had to press the ‘rewind’ button on my vintage, pastel pink boom box, back to a small town in Southeastern Wisconsin.
The year was 1987; “Head to Toe” by Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam was playing on 94.5FM – WKTI out of Milwaukee. If iPods were around in the late 1980’s, this song surely would have been on my playlist. Instead, I was sitting on my bedroom floor with my finger hovering over the record button patiently waiting for the DJ to stop talking in order to record my favorite song. I was a 15-year-old girl who spent her time listening to Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 Countdown, writing poetry in a spiral notebook, and sketching dresses for her mother to make.
Back then, as a multiracial girl growing up in a predominantly white community, I turned to music, writing, and designing as a form of escape. And writing poetry, specifically, became the chosen outlet that offered me both comfort and peace. Poetry, music, and fashion were the true essence of who I was… that was me before life happened.
It took being at a crossroads in my mid-thirties and deep reflection into my childhood to remember and rediscover my true essence. Although I pursued fashion in my professional career, I had stopped writing. During this time of reflection, I began to realize what was missing and came to the conclusion that I had not been honoring my true essence for all these years. My lifeline has always been in writing with a passion for poetry and so today, I finally honor my true essence in releasing my first poetry book.
Now, it’s your turn. The only way to rediscover your true essence is to turn back the hands of time, hold your finger above the button on the old boom box in your mind and if you dare – press rewind.