I loved band. Don’t mistake loving it with being good, because by any technical means I was not good at band. To be frank, I was horrible. I am not coordinated, I am fairly clumsy, I struggled to read music, I had a hard time trying to be as good as quickly as the other kids, but I loved band.
I loved the people in band, I loved making music, I loved the idea of telling a story through movement and music. I loved being with my friends pretty much 24/7 and having memories only we could share.
My freshmen and sophomore year I didn’t get a marching spot which I was disappointed about, but I understood. My mom talked to my director about it, and he said that he’d make sure I’d have a special job for our show. Every morning rehearsal I eagerly wait for him to assign me this job, but it never happened. It sucked, but always had hope that maybe things would change.
Then my junior came, and I was the only one in my section not to get a marching spot. In fact, I was the only non-freshmen to not get a marching spot in the entire marching band, which really took a toll on my self-esteem. I assure you lots of tears were shed. I felt like a loser and after awhile, the underclassmen started treating me like I was one. They thought that because they had a spot and I didn’t they were cooler or better than me, they thought they were smarter than me. In December, the band director called me into his office and we had a talk. I left in tears, he made me feel like crap… worse than crap. Then to add insult to injury that evening at the concert, someone said the concert would have been better if I just wouldn’t have showed up. to. my. face. That was my last straw.
I didn’t care about the Letterman jacket, I didn’t care about the trip to the Rose Bowl, I didn’t care about the friends I would loose. I didn’t care. None of that mattered to me anymore.
Band was something I did, it wasn’t who I was. Band was something I loved dearly. It was something that always had brought me great joy, but at that moment I realized it was no longer doing that. In fact, staying in band for the rest of that year caused me a lot of pain.
Choosing to quit band was never an easy choice. My entire family was in band all four years of their high school experience. My parents were very involved in band world. They were at every game, competition, and concert. So me quitting meant they were going to give that up, too. While my dad didn’t care one way or the other, my mom had a little harder time being okay with the idea of being done with band prematurely. But as time went on and my decision remained unwavering, she realized where my heart really was.. and above anything she just wanted me to be happy.
So I quit band my junior year of high school. I have no regrets about that decision. Yeah, I lost a lot of people I thought were my friends. Yeah, it sucked. Yeah, sure, I was bummed when I missed out on senior night. Yeah, it sucked when I didn’t go to the Rose Bowl and Disneyland. But overall, I was happy. Quitting band gave me the chance to plug myself into a new passion. It gave me a chance to join a group that valued me and everything that I brought to the table. Quitting band and joining journalism is where I met my best friend.
Quitting something you love is hard, but it’s going to be okay. You will survive. It may seem hard at the moment. But if it’s the right decision, you just know it and you gotta go for it. My sport psychology professor said this quote and I referenced it above a bit.. but it’s really true so I’m gonna say it again. “_____ is what I do, not who I am.” Your identity isn’t hitched onto the wagon of your hobbies, but rather your hobbies are hitched on the wagon of your identity. Remember that. If something isn’t giving you the same or greater happiness that it did when you first started it, you need to reevaluate your decisions. Follow what you think is right for you, don’t base it on anyone else. They may not see the full picture that you do. Your decision is your choice to your own happiness.