We all have those memories that we can link a specific song to and it instantly transports us to back to that time. That’s the way I feel about 90s music. I was born in the 70s, was a child of the 80s but the 90s takes me to another place. That decade shaped me into the woman I am today and the music released me from the sheltered life I had known.
I grew up in a small city in Ohio, the Midwestern region of the U.S. By 1991, I started high school and everything began to change. I was an honors student, obeyed my strict parents and had never kissed a boy on the lips. That first year of high school was a struggle because I was bullied every day for the way I spoke, the lack of make-up and time-consuming hairstyles and my weight (just a little fluffy). The Red Hot Chili Peppers album became my escape. I listened to every song over and over until I had it memorized. It was the first album I bought and it transformed me. It was like Under the Bridge echoed my every thought and emotion. Finally, someone understood me.
Fast forward to the fall of 1992 and, luckily, I was able to transfer to another local high school. No one knew me and I could completely start over. I made friends quickly and decided to join the drama club. I had my first crush on the star football captain (American football) and even got the nerve to talk to him. My wild imagination transported me to fantasy school dances where Boys II Men serenaded me and the captain as he spun me around the dance floor before rocking out to Guns-N-Roses by the end of the night. Needless to say, he thought I was too young for him and I set my sights on another guy who would become my first kiss and my best friend for the next 10 years. Another two years of Stone Temple Pilots, Pearl Jam, UB40 and Janet Jackson helped me to redefine my life, my passions and to break free from the hold my parents had over me.
The summer of 1995, I started university. I suppose at age 17, I was a young kid by most standards but I thought I knew everything and had it all planned out. Although I attended university 4.5 hours away from my hometown, it wasn’t far enough. That year I decided that my whole world was in San Francisco and I wouldn’t stop until I got there. For me, home was where I was not where I grew up. I still abide by that notion now. I wanted to leave Ohio behind for a number of reasons. While it was a decent place to grow up, it would never allow me to blossom into the person I ultimately wanted to become (and I am still trying to be). The rage of Alanis Morissette and the subtlety of the Hootie and the Blowfish, helped me to transition to a life of independence where can i buy tamoxifen in uk where it was okay to make mistakes, kiss the wrong guy, challenge your professors and eat Burger King at 3 a.m. “You, you, you oughta know!”
University life was sweet and I took to it well. The late night clubbing, frat parties, and binge drinking did not corrupt my determination to remain an honors-level student or skew the very reason I was there. University was my ticket to San Fran and no one was going to stop me. In November of 1996, I thought I met the love of my life (don’t we all when we are that age) but it turned out, he was a liar and a cheater. I found comfort in No Doubt’s Don’t Speak which I belted out at the top of my lungs for months on end. Thank goodness, I didn’t have a roommate in my micro-mini dormitory room. I stuck around for summer school and moved into my own apartment. True freedom at last! Now that I lived off-campus, I could have my car so that meant lots of highway driving with the windows rolled down and the radio on full blast. Mmm-bopping to Hanson in the car kept me company during the lonely summer months of work and study until my roommate moved in that following September. My roommate’s boyfriend was a DJ at a fairly cool bar so we got to request loads of songs. Sloshing pints of Budweiser and Coors Light, we danced and lip-synced to the Spice Girls, “if you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends….”
In my final year of university, I had my sights set on moving to San Francisco. I studied the city maps, made two trips there and started to purge the inessentials that I had accumulated over the years. Save Tonight and Bitter Sweet Symphony propelled me on to graduation. On Mother’s Day, May 9, 1999, my family looked on as I collected my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. I said good-bye to Ohio shortly after and haven’t looked back. The Goo Goo Dolls summed up my departure perfectly… “I’d give up forever to touch you, ’cause I know that you feel me somehow, you’re the closest to heaven that I’ll ever be, and I don’t wanna go home right now.”
My life from 1991 to 1999, impacted me immensely. As much as I respected my parents, I learned that the only voice I should listen to is my own. I stopped rigidly planning my life in advance and opened myself to going with the flow. I still set goals and abide by some rules but I try to appreciate everything in the moment and still embrace my childish enthusiasm. Those songs from the 90s still reverberate with me as though I am in back in that moment. At the time, I never knew music would have such an intense effect on me. It empowered me, humbled me, understood me and molded me but at the end of it all, I am still that girl, Under the Bridge in the November Rain, Livin’ La Vida Loca!