Thumbs Up Everybody For Rock & Roll

rcgokcAnd just like that…Rock Camp For Girls OKC is over…is finished…is behind us for another year. You can see that I’m still struggling with words to describe it.

It’s not over.

The music lives on, the experience and the love and the frustrations and the snappy comebacks and the hysterical laughing over salsa and the tears of awakening and the energy passed back and forth…that continues. It is energy. It lives on.

It’s not finished.

We learned that just because our daily schedule is different starting today, that doesn’t mean the work is finished. We must still lift each other up. We must still encourage creativity and expression in each other. We must be courageous and strong and if we cannot be that for ourselves, we must supply it for our brothers and sisters on this earth, lifting them up when they are in need. We must continue to teach our girls that they can DO ANYTHING THEY WANT TO DO.


I remember when I was young, I would go to Falls Creek for a week in the summer.

I was a young white Baptist girl in Oklahoma. That’s what we did.

I know the illusion is that girls go there to hook up with boys, but I never did. Likely because I wasn’t filled with empowerment from a week a Rock Camp, but that’s a whole other story.

I would come back filled to the brim with hope.

Hope for this world, hope for my own journey, hope for my tiny (at the time) little community of friends. I was filled with hope that by loving hard, loving freely, walking in faith that the world was good and right, that by expressing joy and kindness and generosity to those that need it I could help change this world for the better. We called it a Mountain Top High due to the location of the camp. We were filled with love and light and joy and we would come back and tell everyone about it Sunday night at church and our stories would be received by the congregation not as stories from children who ran around trying to get kisses, but from humans who understood the purpose of this thing called life.

Be kind.

Be joyous.

Love one another.

Give help when it is needed.

Receive help when it is given.


One day while I was taking a quick little break  hiding in the bathroom during band practice, (on account of it sounded a little like cats being put into a blender and I understood fully the need for nerve pills,) I thought what the hell am I doing here?

My temper is short. I don’t have anything to give these girls except for NO and STOP THAT today. I can’t teach music but I know what is happening needs guidance. They really should have someone better suited to this volunteering here.

Once that box of crap was open in my brain the parade began -fully equipped with fire batons and marching bands playing out of tune. Ugh.

And because I was taking a break  hiding in the bathroom I looked up and read some of the messages on the MY BODY IS poster on the wall.

I could see in these girl written letters the words



tall and clumsy at times but i am good.

I’m starting to like it!

and I thought, maybe I’m not here right this minute to give…but to receive. So I took a few more deep breaths and rejoined my band and Kensey our music coach had worked some magic and there was progress.

But there was also teamwork. There was collaboration even on the most micro of levels. And I could see that clearly. It was humbling and glorious.


Yesterday at our showcase Carter announced our band, The Black Roses, and I thought I might just throw up right there from the nerves. Our singer looked at me with such dread in her eyes. Pleading silently:

I will give you one go-jillion dollars and this effing glow stick if you don’t make me go up there. 

So I just turned my head and walked to the center of the pit and gave them all a thumbs up and prayed so hard: Please Let Them Do This. Please Let Them Do This. Please Let Them Do This.

I didn’t pray for them to be good, to get the notes or the tempo, I didn’t even care. I just wanted them to do it and to know that they could do it.

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.–Eleanor Roosevelt

This was one of those moments. For the band. For me, their manager. For their music coach.

Breathe in.

They started the song and it was good!

Then we got to that pivotal point and our fierce little drummer (who in reality is about 432 years old in an 8 year old body) hit her sticks and counted down



Every instrument came in, the music was together, the tempo was together, our singer rocked it out

and I buckled.

Spontaneous emoting.

In one second I was recording them on my phone and in the next I was ugly-cry-snot-sobbing with a range of emotion that came from so far away it could have high fived Christmas.

I had my hand over my face so as not to scare the children,and I was soaking wet with tears and just dancing and laughing and I am one thousand percent sure that I could have been mistaken for someone having a mental breakdown. I reminded myself that PARENTS ARE WATCHING GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER and wiped my face on my Bea Arthur kimono I was wearing and tried to get my shit together.

I was still huh-uh-huh-ing when Carter announced the next band.


That was some amazing thing I saw on that stage.


And now they KNOW that they can do it.

Push through fear. I mean, that is a life skill that we ALWAYS NEED.

They met new people and formed a group and wrote a song and learned an instrument in one week.

What might they be able to do for this world?


I’ve spent most of the day in bed.

We left the house only to find food around 2pm today and then I came back and slept until 6pm.

I’ve been stalking social media, looking for posts from my fellow volunteers, looking at photos from the week, just to keep a little bit close to me, remembering and communicating with my new friends.

There is so much more to tell you. But I worked myself up into a cry writing about The Black Roses and now I need to drink-your-juice-Shelby.

I’ve looked at the world news enough to know that more bad things have happened today.

It isn’t finished.

There is still work to be done.

Continue riding the Rock Camp High, sharing love, lifting each other up, high fives all around.

Monday is a few hours away, but we are all marching towards it with an arsenal of awesome, a spirit chock full of love and we are ready to rock.

We feel happy of ourselves.

Thumbs up, everybody! For ROCK AND ROLL!

One thought on “Thumbs Up Everybody For Rock & Roll

  1. You make me happy and crack me up and inspire me and make me grateful that you and this job found each other. Love connection.


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