“Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey is one of the most recognized songs in America that appeals to so many generations.
I remember watching it on the MTV Friday Night Countdown, not realizing I would be singing the same song for years to come.
“Just a small town girl, living in a lonely world. She took the midnight train going anywhere.”
Growing up in a small town called Old Bridge, New Jersey, my world was a lonely one. As one of the few Indian families in our community, we didn’t have the same relationships with neighbors and friends that others did. There was the barrier created by foreignness – accents and cultural differences that seemed perhaps too uncomfortable for everyone to make such an effort for.
I was highly sensitive to the differences between me and my classmates. I would be hurt when in kindergarten, I was left out of a drawing by a friend of her “besties” because she didn’t want to put the color brown in her picture and she didn’t peach would work for me.
I thought to myself, when I grow up, I am going to be like other mothers and wear jeans, not the saris and bindis my mother so boldly wore, often oblivious to the stares and the slurs which I wished had bother me a little less.
I was the youngest of 5 children. I have two older brothers and two older sisters – but I am younger by ten years from my next sibling in age.
I was a latchkey kid. I could not play sports because my parents both worked and could not take me. This made me sad, but I made up with it by compensating with vast amounts of MTV.
Perhaps this explains my love of music today. Perhaps its the thing that comforted me so much at a time in my life when I felt so lonely that it has become my constant security blanket. A place of retreat.
A stable home life was touch and go. I often sat alone in my room, pretending to read, trying to block out the sounds of the almost constant fighting between my father and mother. Loud laughter would scare me and I would find myself running down the stairs to see what else I could fix.
I was a small town girl, alright and boy was I lonely. But I believed in myself and my family and the people I loved.
I believed I would survive. And I did, though I am a little worse for the wear and tear.
I have learned that you have to believe in SOMETHING.
On every Journey.