Your past.. You can run from it, you can try to ignore it, but you can never really hide from it. So much of who you become honors every evolution of your life. I tried to run from it for so long. It was something I was not comfortable speaking about. I was just so hurt by how things ended. It was such a precious time in my pre teen and teenage years. It was good, it was so good. But when I chose myself, everything around me crashed and burned. I hated it. I hated basically everyone. I felt so low and so pushed out. Everyone that I was close to, literally just wrote me off like it was nothing. Some didn't, but I kept tabs of who did. The fact of the matter is, it's such a huge part of me. I feel like it created the mold, that i'm now filling in through everything I do. As I prep to move away from California, I felt it was the right time to really go back in time and talk about how this one specific place, molded me into me. This specific place being, Dover Middle School. Dover Middle School. I loved that school. Regardless of the unwanted feelings I had for certain people, I never really did stop loving that school. If I never went there and rose up like I did, I wouldn't be sitting here packing to move to New York. It was within that school campus, that I was thought to dream larger than life, and really see beyond all the normality everyone else wanted to be.
I had a good 3 years there. I laid low in my 6th grade year, but became well known in my 7th and 8th. The reason for all of that is because of band. I really dove into my alto sax. My former teacher, my mentor, and now my friend, Wally Hunt, really believed in me and what I can do with the music that was flowing in my heart and soul. This man, this man that I have so much respect for, he really pioneered for me. I feel like he was the hammer that broke down the walls and brought out the Dom Baza inside of me. There was a time when higher powers were trying to take the music away from me. He wouldn't let that happen. He fought the school board and kept me in band, because he believed I could do this and so much more. The school district didn't want me to have any extra musical electives, because I was horrible at math. With Mr. Hunt's endless fight, he fought it through, and I survived the cut. Without my time in his band, I feel like I wouldn't have the discipline I need for my careers. He pushed me to levels I never thought I could reach. His worth ethic is something that rubbed off on me, and that I still practice and hold close to my heart, within everything I do.
During that time in band I became close to literally everyone. I had a relationship with most of my classmates. They became my best friends. I try to ask myself, do I have any regrets having them in my life?... No. I felt like I did for so long, but I feel like they prepped me for the relationships that I currently have. I really had a strong bond with most of them. We did everything together. Bike rides, mall days, park days, baseball games, hangouts at my parents, guitar hero afternoons, movie nights, you name it. We did it all. I got so comfortable with that. By the time I entered high school, I was a thing of their past, but now that i'm looking back, I was still living in that past while they were moving forward. I never accepted the fact that they weren't apart of my life anymore. It never really hit me that the path I chose for my career, didn't include them. I was 14 at a crossroads. Most teenagers don't have that, but I had to cross that road. Did I want to have a normal high school experience with them, or did I want to begin exploring something I loved more than anything else? I chose what I love, because I felt and will always feel, that was the best choice.
For the last few years, especially when I got sick, I tried not to think about everything. I pushed those memories away. Now that I am at a place of forgiving, I have been thinking about it a lot. I would feel so unfulfilled and a little empty, if I didn't revisit the feelings I once had for everyone I loved inside those school hallways. The last time I moved, I up and left. I ran away to LA, and let them watch from afar. I now choose to stand in the light and own up to who I used to be. If i'm fully going to move forward, I need to let go of all the hurt I felt from everyone that turned against me. I needed to embrace the little chubby boy who fell in love with creating music via an instrument, which led to me really discover my voice within. So that now in the present day, I can truly fall in love with myself and every single flaw that has created the present day me. I can't play any saxophone anymore, because of my Glaucoma, but the little boy who practiced for hours, only to become the lead of everything he did with that instrument, I needed his drive to float back to my surface. He had the drive to help him strive and survive in a pretty wild environment. I need that in New York. For majority of my late teens and early twenties, I hated who he was. I hated the way I looked back then and the way my confidence kind of destroyed the relationships that I had. Now that i'm older, I see that none of that was a problem. It was my strive and drive, that pushed everyone away. I somehow grew up faster than everyone my age. Look at me now, most of my friends are in their 30's. I really don't have anything in common with anyone my actual age. But that little boy with the instrument really did shape me into who I am becoming right now. I feel as if I killed him and all that he put into himself. I wasn't a fan of what he was. Now that i'm putting everything behind me, I couldn't be more proud of what he accomplished during that time in his life. He's still in me. No longer overweight (thanks 100 days of sweat, and teenage bootcamp), but his drive needed a restart, which I am now giving it.
I used to sit and wonder, what if?. What if all these people were in my life still? I stopped asking that question last year as I took my first steps to renter the world again. The fact of the matter is, i'm pretty sure half of them have been living some sort of life, or have the life they dreamed of, or had life take them down a completely different path. I got sick, and I didn't have the chances and the opportunities that they had. Now i'm gonna go have those chances, those experiences that I haven't experienced. No matter how drastically different our lives may be, I hope they realize how much they impacted me. God, I really did love them. I hated them when I got sick. I hated them because I envied them. Why do you think I'm not Facebook friends with them, or why I don't follow most them on instagram. Only a few reached out to me when I literally was going blind. I know who was kind to me, and that will always mean the world to me. But, even the ones that I no longer talk to, they really did help me get to this point. I would never be who I am without them. My DNA does not exist, without every single person that has touched my life in some shape or form. I'm so thankful for everything. and every one.. And i'm sorry to those who I may have hurt along the way. I was a kid, I thought I knew how to control the world, and in return, I ended up having my goals control the ones that I cared for. I'm sorry that we grew apart, but I will never be sorry that we grew and continue to grow into who we are supposed to be. My hope for everyone that I loved along the way, is that the happiness we felt when we were young bulldogs, that happiness, I hope you still feel that today, in some shape or form. I really did love you all. I always will.
I know some of the younger kids looked up to me, I still kinda hope they do. I'm sorry that I had to sit on the sidelines for a bit, but I hope the boy you fell in love with, can one day soon, help the man that I am rise up and become everything I know I can be. I had to go back to Dover, to see it one more time before I move to a whole new world, far away and far beyond the world I could ever dream of, when I was a student there.
I haven't stepped foot on that campus in 10 years. Stepping back there felt like it gave me some sort of closure that I really needed, as I move onto the next phase of my life. My brand new story. A new story that would not exist without the mold that was created there at Dover. Towards the end of my time there at Dover we had a talent show. Me and some of my friends at the time entered it. I sang lead, of course. In that moment I knew it was time for something more. Little did I know, I would push away that moment, and become ashamed of it as time went on. I no longer feel that way. But I was ashamed of it because I never got over that moment. I'm grateful for it though, it really impacted me for what later came. Those boys I was best friends with, they thought me at a young age, the importance of brotherhood. Although we may not talk anymore, I still carry that love into the brotherhood and bonds I have made along the way. That last song I ever sang there was a song called, "Don't Forget". How meta is it, that I didn't want my peers to never forget me... but I ended up forgetting who I once was.... I'll tell you this, I remember now. I know somewhere we went wrong, my love was like a song, but now I remember and I thank everyone from there, who has touched my life, for everything. Every up and every down, thank you. Everyone that hurt me in those halls, I forgive you. It's taken me so long to say that, but I truly mean it, I forgive you. And If I did you wrong, somewhere along the way, I hope you forgive me too. We can never move on with our lives if we don't put part of the past to rest. We aren't living in it anymore, and we never will. Speaking of forgiving... I have more people to forgive. Dover is in a town called Fairfield, that town destroyed me. It broke me and hurt me so badly… but i’m now ready to forgive them too…
Photographer: Dom Baza
What I'm Wearing: Jacket - Forever 21, Shirt - Dover, Jeans - H&M
Every post I will include the song that inspired me to build a post around it's title
Stories From My Life - CHAPTER 16: THE FINAL PAGES
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Stories From My Life
(APRIL 17- PRESENT)