We asked the Soul Patrol last week to submit their stories of how their lives have been enriched by having Taylor Hicks in it. We received several stories and we’d like to share with you two of them. We want to thank everyone who submitted their story to us!!!
Many years ago, I was in a very bad way. I was broke, pregnant, destitute, and alone - and hurting with an anguish that can't even be expressed properly in words. I don't think that this story is too different than anyone else's who has experienced heartache. I just pulled myself up by my bootstraps, and well, kept on keeping on. The difference for me was along the way, I had lost what remained of my shredded heart. Just put it in ice where nothing could get to it any more.
For five long years, my heart lived in its snowy home while I worked on myself, getting back into college, learning how to drive, raising my baby daughter as best I could. Problem was, I couldn't feel any more. At first, I didn't want to. It really hurt like fire to try, but slowly the things that meant so much to me...well, they didn't matter either. My mainstays - reading, writing, music, plays - they all faded into nothingness. I lost who I was. Then...along came this somewhat dorky guy with a sweet, gentle heart, a very attractive outward appearance, and a voice made for pure sin. That guy was Taylor Hicks.
I had never watched American Idol. Just never caught my attention. I think it was because during the five years it was on, I was iced up, but it just might be that with school and my kid - I didn't much care. But my professor offered extra credit if we watched either Idol or Nashville Star and wrote about who we thought would win. As I spent practically all my free time with an Idol addict, my choice to watch with her was essentially a no-brainer.
I picked Tay out from his audition. Clinially, at first - he has the chops to pull this rabbit out of his hat, and was just different from the rest of the competition to stand out, but then - this amazing thing began to happen. I began to cheer him on every week, looking forward to what he'd do next. I began to enjoy some of the others as well, and began to write again.
During the Birthday week, I laughed so much tears fell from my eyes, the first tears I had shed in five, long years. It was then that I knew this man had made an enormous impact in my life, though he never would know. Even now, two years later, Taylor has inspired me to not only exist through life, but to actually live it. I started small - travelling to Nashville - an hour's drive away - to see him during the Idol tour, got on the boards made some truly amazing friends I can't imagine life without now, and met his band from back home, LiMBO (and if there was any ice remaining at that point, those five sweet men sure melted that in a hurry, making me feel loved probably for the first time in my life), devoured stories about him and as I learned about one Taylor Hicks, I learned even more about myself. I learned about being brave, to fight for what I want and need in my life even if everybody around me thinks that it's crazy or asinine...to breathe real air and to live real life, on my terms.
You know, five years before that January Tay strutted into my life, I thought I would never be free of the hell I had seen. I was returning to a world where I knew I wouldn't be loved or appreciated, coming from an abusive place where I was hurt so bad, I didn't care about my future or what it held for me. Now, I am about two semesters away from having my college degree - something I was told I could never do I don't know how many times. I am still in environmental hell, but know that in a relatively short amount of time, I will be living my American Dream, in a home of my own, in a job I love, with my kid who is a joy like nothing else, in a place I can call home - somewhere near Birmingham, Alabama where I felt like I was home the second I set foot there last March and again in July and can get regular doses of LiMBO to keep my heart pounding and regular intervals of Taylor wherever I have to travel to see him. And you know what? It feels so good......
It's simply amazing to me, how one man I'll never meet could impact my life so strongly. If I was ever afforded the opportunity and wasn't terrified to meet him, because I don't want to be forgotten by him (and I so would, lol), I'd want to say thanks. For making me feel stronger, better, happier, more...just more than I ever dreamed I could, more than I deserve, surely.
Thanks, Tay. For gifting me back to myself. For teaching me that despite what people tell me every day, I am not worthless and I can make a change in the world, even if it is only my small corner of it. You help make me feel like a true princess, honey. Something everybody ought to feel at least once in their lives, and you and LiMBO make me feel as if I am something special and I am capable and I don't know how I survived so long without your music - your voice - as my companion. Just thank you - for every bit of it, Tay. My world is infinitely richer for having you and all your wonderful fans and friends and family in it.
The amazing thing, if I might again add to the conversation, is that I have been inspired to help others feel the same way. Most of the Patrol knows that while I am rich in spirit, in hope, heart and - thank God - health and I have a heart and soul so full, my pockets are indeed too often to let.
I'm just more involved - with everything. I want to help others succeed. I want to help my friends who have even less than I do, and believe me - that's precious little. I've been so honoured to call myself Soul Patrol, because I believe in it - in what it stands for. For me, it's not about accumulating items that proclaim me a Tay fan - though I have and cherish those items dearly. It's about giving of yourself, your soul, your entity - reaching out to shelter those lost in the storm where you were a short time ago. It's about listening to the stories of those who were there before you, teaching your story to those following behind. It's about dreaming big, not just for you, but those around you. It's about love - a love so pure, so real that a person can never deny it' genuineness. It's about finding a kindred spirit so like your own, from so far away. It's like being a part - small but important - of a real family, when chances are good you've never had that before. It's being able to breathe freely, love totally without fear of reprisal, and getting rid of the pain that haunts you for an hour or two and getting lost in the music. It might have started with Taylor, and thank God it did, but...it's not even all about Tay anymore. It's not about his music entirely any more. It's about the fostering of spirit, the sharing of souls, the tears shed to build a foundation of giving and receiving, love, affection, and joy unlike anything I've ever known. It's about being who you are and damn the consequences of that. It's about keeping it real and really keeping it - faith, hope, love, trust, joy, laughter, and more - for all time. I'm proud to call myself Soul Patrol because I know what we are capable of - I see our potential - and our hearts were forever changed by one man who is doing the best he can to emulate these qualities for me. How can I truly do anything less than that?
Next, we’d like to share PoetCindy’s story with you:
Taylor has inspired me in many different things. But mostly in writing. I have always enjoyed writing, however I had gotten to a point in my life where I was just writing articles about things that would make me a few dollars. The fun of writing was not there any more. Then I discovered Taylor. I started writing articles about Taylor. Then I started interviewing fans and writing articles about their Taylor experiences in attending concerts and/or meeting the Soul man. Writing for the fun of it was back again. I so loved sharing with people any information I could find about Taylor.
Because I had written so many pieces about Taylor the site I was submitting them to, wrote and asked me if I would like to interview Taylor himself. I remember reading that email over and over again convinced I was not reading and understanding it correctly. I mean to write and ask if I wanted to Interview Taylor over the phone. I just could not believe this was actually going to happen. Up until the day the phone rang and I heard Taylor’s voice I still felt this was a joke and it would never in a million years happen.
I can still remember the nervousness, joy and excitement I felt that day. After the interview was done and I let it settle in that I had actually talked to Taylor Hicks and was now going to publish this interview online for everyone to read, I realized how much I enjoyed talking with him about his music and future plans. A few days later the people who had set up the interview with Taylor emailed about interviewing Kat McPhee and then Kellie Pickler.
I knew there were several other musicians I would love to interview but wasn’t sure how to go about getting interviews with them I remembered Taylor saying that if you have a dream you have to go after it and work hard and that dreams do come true. So I started emailing various musicians always letting them know about my previous interviews, definitely Taylor and requesting interviews with them. I have since interviewed several musicians and even got a second interview with Taylor.
I tell everyone it is all due to discovering Taylor and enjoying his music so much. That first interview with Taylor gave me a chance to get other interviews and it just grew from there. Taylor inspired me to go after my dreams and work hard to make them happen. There is no doubt in my mind that being a fan of Taylor is the reason I moved on to the field of interviewing musicians. It doesn’t pay great that is for sure, sometimes nothing, but I am having a blast and loving every minute of it. Some things in life mean much more than any amount of money.
My kids love to tell their friends and teachers who I have interviewed. They are so proud that they can say their Mom has talked to so and so. My daughter has already let me know that she wants the taped recordings of the interviews left to her so when she has kids and grandkids she can share them with them.
Taylor put the love of music and writing back into my heart.
Tags: Taylor Hicks, American Idol, Soul Patrol, Taylor's Angels