RWM August 2011

Page 28

::in her own words by deb magone | PHOTO BY Michael Rivera Photography

deb magone

by Bridgette M. Yaxley

As soon as I could talk, before I could walk...I began to sing. It was evident that expression was going to be a huge part of my journey this life time. Since early childhood I was empathic and needed to express feelings about situations both local and global. At age 11 Mother Jones was my heroine. I disliked injustice and suffering. At the same time there was instilled in me by “good intentioned” mentors, guilt and fear of expression, and the idea that silent sacrifice will get me into heaven. Children, (especially girls) should be nice, seen and not heard. One adult however taught me the most valuable lesson that guides me to this day. “All I need is within me”. No matter what, I was in charge of what happened to ME. I had the power to make choices good or bad. “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul”.* One form of expression seemed sociably acceptable, and actually kept me out of trouble that was music. I carried a small radio and listened to R&B and rock music on Rochester radio every day. I loved show tunes. I’d always loved poetry, drawing and writing stories. I was a hopeless romantic always looking for a happy ending, maybe because it wasn’t so growing up, the Cinderella generation. I was too shy to join the high school chorus, and my family had gone thru a very unhappy divorce. I wanted to play guitar but being a girl, I wasn’t allowed. My brother was, so I would steal in to his room when everyone was out, take his guitar and painstakingly teach myself 3 chords so I could learn “Me & Bobby McGee”. His guitar was large for my small hands. Eventually he gave up lessons. I saved my allowance, traded in his guitar at the House of Guitars and finally had one of my own, with flowers on it, the perfect size for me. My career choice wasn’t encouraged. I’d shown talent in the fine arts, a career more suited to young women. At 16, I entered college as an art major because I was told I was good at it. My expression became less audible, more visual. My voice went underground and manifested in very negative ways from negative thinking to teenage alcoholism, etc. I learned very young that “thoughts are things” like radio waves. They can destroy or create. I knew I needed to make mine more positive or they would harm me, but it was very difficult and at this point, too late. I developed severe ulcerative colitis destroying me from the inside out. Negative thoughts cause stress. Stress causes increased acidity in ones body. The acid was eating the walls of my colon causing holes and internal bleeding. At 23, I died and was revived in a small hospital in a little town in Avezzano, Italy, while visiting family. While I was fighting for my life in that hospital, I told myself that I had no intentions of leaving. I held on. I thought of my album project with Capitol records and Janice Marie Johnson waiting for me in Los Angeles. I thought of my karate students, music students, my family, my great aunt and my mom sitting at my bedside every day for weeks. I refused to give up, failure was not an option. There’s much more to the story, however, moving forward and through it all, I’ve realized, like Dorothy, that all I ever needed was within me, in my own backyard. The power, courage, intelligence and creative talent was always there. What was lacking was confidence in myself, my power and conviction. Something women throughout “herstory” continue to fight for and nurture every day. Remember, all we need is within each ans every one of us! *From the poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley


august 2011 ::

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