Friday, April 15, 2011

Moving on With My Life

I've been thinking about blogging this for quite sometime now.. Opening up about the past & letting you see the real me. A part of me that I hide. Not intentionally, but its not something that I really like to talk about either.. A tweet that I received from Jeff Timmons the other night actually inspired this Blog... So where do I start?

Back in 94 my Dad came down with Esophageal Cancer, at the time it wasn't a well known cancer like it is today. Basically its cause by Acid Reflux. As luck would have it. My Dad was a vet. So it he received amazing care at the George Washington Medical Center which is in DC. The bad part was that this hospital wasn't in a good part of the town. And my father was there for a better part of 6mths. we couldn't afford to stay there with my father, so my Mother and i would drive down several times a week with friends and family to see him. He recovered from this dreadful illness, but he was half the man he used to be afterwards sadly.. But still my daddy had an amazing soul and he got thru this..

After 2yrs of driving back to and forth to DC we finally thought that maybe. Just maybe life would get back to normal.. But Christmas Eve 1996 turned out to be not such a good Christmas. My Mom found out that she had Lymphoma and would had to be going thru Cancer treatments as well.. Sadly thou. We live in a small town and she would have to stay here at the Hospitals to be treated.. She didnt choose this. In fact she wanted us to take her somewhere else. But with no Health Insurance there wasn't much we could do. Our hands were tied. A few mths later she was told she was cured and that life could go back to normal..

It was not meant to be.. One week later my Mom was back in the hospital being treated for a Brain Tumor that went undetected. I was 27. Still pretty naive and being kept in the dark by the entire family. Even when it wasn't looking good? I just didn't see it. Denial perhaps? I really dont know..My Dad made it thru so why wouldn't my Mom right?

This is where 98 Degrees came into my life.. The funny thing? Cassette Tapes were still popular then. I know what the heck is that? But i used to buy tapes just because I thought the guys on the Front cover were cute. There I admitted it. Alot of the times, I got some not so good music. But this time? Well it may have changed my life. The song you ask? Was **Invisible Man** One of my fave 98 degrees songs to this day. I remember taking this cassette tape to the hospital to show my Mom and telling her all about this new group I had discovered.

My mom was my very best friend. She grew up on American bandstand, Elvis & the Beatles.. and started me young with people like Shaun Cassidy and Leif Garret. In fact our favorite thing to do when i was in high school was watch Dance Party USA together.. So you know where i get my love for Music & dance from. My Mom! She would have loved 98 Degrees.. But sadly she passed away less then a month later. Looking back, I have blacked out most of her sickness and the time that went with it. That cassette tape is one of the only memories i have of those days..

Not even 6 months later. I lost my Daddy as well. I can honestly say I think he died of a broken heart.. Its hard for me to write all of this. But its part of the healing process as well. Sharing my story.. And helping others out that go thru this as well.

I think 98 Degrees helped me thou..They got me thru the worst years of my life even after the group broke up. I know everyone has there own story saying a band or song saved them. Well Im here to tell you that its true. Not that they actually saved me. But it was something to do.. Somewhere else to focus my attention. Somewhere, where i could be me and not the poor girl that had just lost both of her parents. If that makes any sense..

Webtv was very popular back then and i met a friend from California on the boards. We had so much in common and i think she may have been my first friend thru the internet. We haven't met in person yet but i hope to meet her someday.. This girl weather shes knows it or not carried me thru that ruff time.. I could go on for hrs in letters to her about my life and she listened. She didn't know me personally so it helped because i could be real and raw with her and she didn't have anything previous to go one.. But she also shared my love for 98 Degrees as well.. So when the nights got lonely.. I would open up that webtv (which makes me giggle thinking about it) and she was always there. So thank you my friend..

98 Degrees also got me to NYC for my very first time.. The Bright Lights of the big city that i have fallen in love with so many times since. I will never forget it.. They made me drive thru Times Square to go to Mtv TRL. I think i cried the whole way. In fact I know I did. I was scared to death. It was well worth it thou. They had a song that was banned in the US called.. Can I touch you there. Yes your reading this part right. So i made a sign. Im almost embarrassed to write this. That said Drew & Jeff can I touch you there and i held it proudly above my head.. on a street corner of NYC mind you.. Nick wasn't there that day, but the other three were. Now whether they remember this or not. They all 3 turned around, busted out laughing and pointing at the poster. I was happy. The other girls? Not so much. I got dirty looks from quite a few because they had been on that corner for over an hour trying to get there attention.. So yes that was me..

That trip started my many NYC trips. But that's another story. I spent the next 2 years floating to concerts on the East Coast with random friends I had met on the 98 Boards, having the time of my life.. I had been thru the worst tragedy that could happen to someone at a young age. But my parents wouldn't have had it any other way. If this was my way to escape reality, then so be it.

Then 2000 rolled around. The Boy Band fad was over and the group broke up. By then I had left the 98 Message board and started my own yahoo group, called Still Lovin 98 Degrees. I met some amazing friends there. Grew a VHS tape collection of about 50+ videos of the guys all over the world. From Australia to the Philippines. You name it. I probably have it somewhere in that collection. And started writing Fan-fics. If you look hard enough you may just be able to find that old website on the net somewhere. none of my real life friends were into the group. So i doubt they ever even knew anything about it. Once again it was my Getaway.

A few yrs later. I closed the group. Started a Blog called **Still Lovin 98 Degrees** and its full of articles on the guys solo careers. I think its become my guilty pleasure to be honest. Im pretty proud of it.. It hit over 100,000 views from all over the world.. And its nice to see after all of these yrs later, people still have interest in what there doing.

I had the pleasure of meeting Jeff, WAY back in '99 in a Hotel parking lot in Salisbury, MD. He was the only one that even bothered to come up and say Hi to us. I never forgot that. It was late and there was maybe 5 of us there.. But that spoke volumes to me.. So I got my first of what was to be many pics of us together. I still have that picture framed on my wall.

Fast Forward to 2003. Jeff has released a solo CD and Im dragging a friend to Canton, OH to a Borders store to see him. I had never been to Ohio so it was a crazy roadtrip. But it was only a few hours away so why not? My friend Had NO idea who she was going to see. In fact Jeff walked right past her and i laughed when she asked who he was.. he performed a few songs and we got a chance to get pics and autographs with him.. Im laughing as i write this. He looks at me and asks where do i know you from? Well the only place we ever met was that parking lot.. I told him where it was.. And he thinks Im an old friend from High School!! that still makes me smile..

A year or two later Jeff starts touring with Jim Brickman and i get a chance to meet him again.. So I drag my cousin. Who you guessed it. Has an idea who he is. But not really. Sorry Jeff. But anyways, she falls in love with the music and bought Jeffs & Jims Cds after the show, so thats a good thing right.. We get to meet him after the show. And here we go again.. I know you don't I? yes I'm laughing. This time Jeff thinks Im a model from OH. thats extremely funny considering I'm 5ft tall. Who would hire me to be a model. But at least he had an idea he knew me right??

The next year another Christmas Show is another opportunity to go. So my cousin meets me and off we go to my third favorite city in the US. Pittsburgh, PA. Its December 30th the day before my Birthday and this is my Birthday present. We bought VIP at the last minute so we could meet them again.. I walk up and I say.. Please DO NOT say, I know you don't I? Jeff smiled, and replies well I know I know you I'm just not sure how..

Where am I going with all of this?? Its been 14yrs since I lost my parents. I'm still here, trying to get thru this thing we call life.. Yes I struggle day to day but I think we all do. Just because someone looks like they have it all together on the outside isn't always the truth. We don't see whats in peoples pasts.. We don't know what they have been thru. Basically the Grass isn't always greener on the other side. And we all have our Guilty Pleasures, I guess 98 Degrees was and still is mine..

I am now proud to say that I can call Jeff Timmons my friend. Thru the years I went from that Don't I know you girl to someone I hope he can call a friend as well. Maybe I wrote this blog to let him know how he helped me. Or maybe i wrote this blog to help myself move on. Or maybe this Blog will help someone else out there struggling with the same thing. I really don't know. But it feels good to get the story out there. Then again. maybe not many will read this.

Lifes a Hurdle.. You have Gotta jump it..Find something that you love and have Fun with it. Don't let what others think of you, stop you from doing something.. Had I listened to my friends back then.. who knows where i would be now.. I'm glad I didn't. I'm glad I went into my little 98 Degrees world, I have some amazing memories and friends who got me thru it.

Dedicated to my Parents.. May they RIP... Loving you Always and still Moving on..