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Has something you loved ever come at a great cost

When I was in high school, I played drums in the marching band, drumline and concert bands. It was a passion that began in junior high that I saw through to college. This passion was made even more special by the fact that my Dad was a drummer and I basically grew up at the foot of his bass drum while he played at home and at different events.

I was good. I was dedicated. And I wanted to learn and be even better. In my junior year, I had reached that pinnacle. I tried out for, and won, the seat of Drum Captain. I was now the leader of more than 15 high school boys.

I was ready for the challenge–but they weren’t so happy about it. I was bullied many times throughout that year. From being locked in instrument rooms, to having my head dunked in a toilet and dropped on the floor, to being thrown into a dumpster of wood chips outside the woodshop classroom and left alone to climb out.

They were unrelenting in their desire to make me small.

It didn’t stop me. I showed up for every rehearsal, and sometimes through tears, led the charge. It hurt–not just physically–but more so emotionally. My spirit had become bruised.

I went on to be chosen by the California Governor to represent state-wide music students and play in Europe—10 countries in 8 days. And I kept playing right through my freshman year of college.

I’ve told the story a lot over the years—of being the only girl drummer and the rewards and challenges of that–but I never talk about the bullying. Until now.

Something I loved so much came at a great cost. And it wasn’t OK.

The thing is–we’ve all experienced some shit (pardon my French). And when we choose to tell that story out loud, for other people to witness, not only does it release something within us, it also gives the person reading it an opportunity to do the same.

We learn and grow through each other’s stories–we get to see the common thread of humanity, desire, drive, resilience, surrender, loss. We get to release a story that once had a hold on us.

This week on the Bound + Determined podcast, I’m talking to Sherry Sidoti, author of A Smoke and a Song, all about honoring our lived experience through memoir.

For Sherry, in January 2021, ten months into the global pandemic, her mother was  diagnosed with terminal cancer. With new life blooming and loss looming, she was beckoned to answer the question that has haunted her since childhood: is freedom found in “letting go,” as the spiritual teachers (and her mother) insist or is it found by digging our heels deeper into the earth and holding on to our humanness?

A Smoke and a Song is Sherry’s story of her quest to make meaning from the memories homed in her body.

If you’ve ever wondered whether your story was worth telling, or if you have “lived enough” to be worthy of sharing it–tune in to this episode.



Xx, Richelle






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