As a kid, I was very shy, reserved, and pretty nerdy. Far from being cool, I struggled to interact with others, and was bullied. I was the only non-Catholic at my catholic school, which was a few years past beatings and archaic methods of teaching and discipline, but still a nightmare of a place to attend. I hated every moment of school, and always felt like an outsider. I couldn't relate to very many people, and had only a small group of friends, who I treasure still.
As I entered high school, I took a year off, 9th grade, to home school and try to get my head straight. In spite of all the love and support at home, in school and out in the real world I felt like an outcast, and at times didn't want to live anymore.
Then, I found music.
I'd been messing around with guitar the year before, having picked up my dad's classical. My closest friends, Quentin, Blake, Joel, and Alfred all decided we would pick up instruments. It was the first time I felt a part of something, like I belonged. In many ways, the people who told me I was weird and different were right. I didn't fit in with the hunters and mud-riders, the rednecks of our backwoods school. When I picked up an instrument, people's response to me changed. All of a sudden, it was ok to be weird. Musicians are weird, and that was no longer threatening, or a cause for derision.
Could I have found another outlet? I'm sure. As I've gotten older and started to enjoy sports, I wish I'd played more of them, but at the time the athletes were exactly the people I wanted nothing to do with. I think the real reason music appealed so much to me, was blood.
Our family has gotten more interested in history and genealogy recently, and traced our roots way, way, back. As it turns out, the McGees have a long history of music, most notably the most famous cajun musician of all time, Dennis McGee, and his son Gerry McGee, guitarist from the Ventures. Other relatives of mine are Opry star Jimmy C. Newman, his son Gary Newman, who's played bass with countless acts, Kevin Sekhani formerly of the Mercy Brothers, and I'm sure if I kept digging, there would be many more.
In a way, I think it was more a matter of music choosing me. A happenstance, a chance of being born here and now, to this tribe of people, and being out of place and listless until finding that one thing that really spoke to me. I became obsessed with Music, with the guitar, which was always the sound that spoke the loudest to me, and finally, it all made sense.
I've made it my life's work to play music. No matter what, it's a vocation, a calling, and though the methods and the goals may change, it will always remain my passion and my place.
As I look forward to the new year, and to making plans and goals (something I do with incredible passion and excitement every year! New Years is the best!!!), I feel confident that this year will be my best year to date, filled with excitement, new dreams, old dreams coming true, new music, and one more step along this journey of becoming better every year.