One would believe that the longer I’ve been meaning to give an update on leaving the band, the easier it’d be to match words to emotions. Simply, it’s not—it’s not that I’m struggling to come to term with my decision as much as it is to come to terms my new outlook on marching band.
While questioning my role in the 2012 season, I realized how much “brainwashing” that goes on in the band. You’re instructed to behave a certain way—focus on certain things and live and breathe the words of those who know nothing more, on loop. Really the only way I thrived in band was being hypnotized by the same speeches over and over again; whether it was marching band was a one way ticket to college or the skills learned on the field will help me succeed in life. This break from band has made me realize that it wasn’t the band that shaped me in someway as much as it was the difficulties I had in band. If it wasn’t for them, I doubt marching band would’ve shaped me as much as it has today.
Freshman season was such a blow to my self esteem that it inspired me to work harder as an apology to the band during sophomore season. So I trained myself to make light in a tunnel with unknown brightness and entered unknowingly. These past few months are almost as if I left the tunnel blinded with memories of the past and an unfamiliar past. The shock of leaving left me in some sort of dystopia where lines between fact and fiction awaited clarity only I could draw.
Those lines are something I’ll never be able to permanently draw as marching band is a facet to some, way of life to others. But as for myself, the activity of marching is merely a beloved facet of underclassman years while my friends keep preventing my deepest fear from happening—losing them and myself.
This break from band gave me the chance to form my own, distinct opinions separate from those who march and those who don’t—it’s almost as if I understand both sides of the yard-lines in a way no one else does. I’ll forever support the band, and I’ll forever support myself in ways I was unfamiliar with while marching.