Before I started the MCBS Program, I was a wanderer and student of life. I had always thought I would do great things by following societies rules. I would be successful, and I would be happy. Following that path, I went to Western Washington University and began working on my degree in Music Education. But after two years, I began questioning everything. My head was filled with confusing thoughts and nothing seemed to connect. It reminded me of the sculpture I passed on campus every day. The more I tried to sort my thoughts, the more tangled my head became. I didn’t understand why I should follow societies rules. I couldn’t decide if I was following my own dream, or if this was the expectation of family and friends. I felt like I was wasting time, chasing after something that may or may not be what I wanted to do. So I left school, and began a different adventure.
Because of this choice, my life became one journey after another. The first journey began as I boarded a one-way flight to Hawaii with a backpack on my back. There were no plans, no responsibilities, and absolutely no expectations. I only had to be responsible for my own actions and the situations I found myself in. I spent years bouncing between Hawaii, Washington, and California. I had broken all the rules, and it felt perfect. I was finding success without a degree, building my skills, and even finding love interests. But after seven years, my choices began leading to troubled experiences and troubled relationships. It was then that my world shattered around me when I was diagnosed as HIV positive. This was only months after arriving in Palm Springs, California, and my life as I knew it, had come to an end.
Because of this, I spent nearly a decade lost and defeated. I continued seeking the perfect opportunity and inspiration to take back my life, but never found that true connection. And then it happened. As I was driving home from work one day, I was witness to the Coachella Music Festival being built from the ground up. It was that one defining moment, which was my greatest Aha! I had just found my life again. I knew then, that I would be part of planning and producing large experiential events.
I immediately took action and identified Full Sail University as the school of choice. I would enter the show production and touring degree program. I visited the school and even began the application process. But before I could complete the process, my doubts took control, and I was once again defeated. This was only a pipe dream that would never be mine. I accepted that I would only be able to settle for something less. However a year later, a shift began to happen. I was working onboard a cruise ship and my personal life was inundated by dozens of crew involved in all aspects of the entertainment onboard. It was from this experience, that my dreams crept back into my daily thoughts. It was like a constant buzzing in the back of my mind.
After four years working on ships, I returned to Seattle. I was looking for stability that ships didn’t provide. It was then that I chose to join the Seattle Men’s Chorus to find a creative outlet I had been missing for a number of years. That single decision became one of the best choices of my life. By joining the chorus, I met numerous friends who all understood my experience with HIV. The difference however, was that they each had chosen to step beyond that obstacle. They each had chosen to move forward and claim their dreams. They each lived that dream every day of their lives. They each understood that HIV was not a death sentence, but rather an inconvenience to overcome. These are the friends that have become my inspiration and allowed me to confidently step forward to claim my own dreams and live the life that I desire.
And ever since that time, my life has shifted. I no longer live in doubt. I no longer choose to settle for less. Instead, I embrace what seems larger than life. I step forward in pursuit of my dream, knowing that this is my divine good. I will do great things by unleashing experiential awe in the world, and help others achieve their dreams in the process. MCBS is the doorway to that dream, and today I walk boldly through that door, confident and ready to actively create the life I deserve.
How reading my classmates stories helped shape my own story:
As I reviewed each of my fellow classmates Wk1 Practice: Start a Blog & Tell a Story posts, I was inspired by varying details they each provided in their posts. The greatest element was connecting with how many classmates felt stuck in situations they didn’t desire. I also found inspiration in how many students had details about pursuit of one dream, then recognizing they had a different passion or interest. Both of these elements played close to my own life, though coming from varying foundations. With that connection between classmates, I felt it important to expand more deeply into several of the experiences that had impact in bringing me to Full Sail today. Many details could have been left to the side, but I felt it gave a more complete picture that others might connect with. I take pride stepping beyond my obstacles, embracing my dreams and taking pursuit of the MCBS degree program at Full Sail University. We all will live our dreams as we push through this program together, poised to do great things in this world.