We all have heard at least one song that pulls at our heartstrings and can make a tear well up. Honestly, I have several depending on the day and my mood. However, there is one song that cannot only make me tear up but also serve as a punch in the gut.
Picture it, Lexington, KY, September 2013.
I was coming home from a conference at Berea College and listening to the Lady Antebellum album that I had purchased in the Apple store. When “Goodbye Town” by Lady Antebellum came on, it felt like someone had just punched me in the gut. I hit the back button so that I could listen to it again to make sure I had understood the words. Then that is where the tears started rolling down my face. The song is about a relationship that goes south (like any good Country song) and how places in town remind you of said relationship.
Now, I wasn’t in a relationship at the time. On the other hand, the song hit me as a breakup song with the town that shaped me to be the person I was at that point in my life. I was heavily involved in community organizations and served as a Councilman for the Town of Wayne. I wanted to give back to the place that had given me so much. Instead, it felt like I was having the life sucked out of me and hitting a wall at the same time. It was becoming a toxic relationship and I knew that I needed a change.
There are folks who say that it takes time to make change happen and I totally agree but I knew that Wayne was no longer the place for me. My family is close and at that time, my property touched the property owned by my parents. I saw them in person almost daily. I liked my job but even there I knew that there was more for me in this world. I started looking for a new job but it had to be in TRIO because I knew that was my life’s mission. I was willing to move just about anywhere to start over. In April 2014 on the way back from the regional TRIO Conference in Virginia Beach, I told myself I would apply for the TRIO SSS Director position at WVU Tech. If I didn’t get it, I at least had experience in interviewing for a Director position. One phone interview became an on-campus in Montgomery and then a job offer.
Like Will Smith said in the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, “Now, this is a story all about how my life got flipped-turned upside down.” I was about to go on a journey of personal and professional growth with a large amount of guilt.
Part Two, Coming Soon!