The campaign has launched and the fundraising effort for a project two years developing is underway; now comes the moment to reflect on the personal and artistic journey that has brought me to this pivotal moment in my career. Through narratives, photos and videos, I will take the remaining 17 campaign days to tell my story and share my great passion for sharing language, my culture, my music and my world. First and foremost, I invite you all to take a moment to read about the first of the three pillars of this next year’s project campaign.
Erin “Marisol” Corine: The Artist, The Image and The INITIATIVE.
First things first, before that floaty, flighty, superstition-fueled passion of mine takes over, I want everyone to understand one very important thing:
I have been waiting for the year that I would turn twenty-seven since—well, since I could count to twenty-seven.
Now, there is no real reason for this apart from having learned at an early age of a quirky, age-old American tradition that celebrates the “Golden Birthday,” which is the birthday in which you will celebrate the age that corresponds with the date of your birth. Your Golden Birthday is meant to signify a sort of coming of age that is not defined by the quantity of years that you will be celebrating, rather by a cosmic numerological force that assigns numbers to your existence representative of anything from good fortune and fruitful blessings to wisdom and pivotal life events. Whether or not you decide to research numerology in great depth or to simply develop a sentimental attachment to a number that holds some meaning to you is a personal decision, of course; the simple fact of the matter is that not everyone even THINKS about these things, let alone believes in them. However, for those that develop some type of existential relationship with these numbers, something really curious happens: your number(s) become a mental point of reference for sometimes even the most mundane of day-to-day tasks and activities.
(Side note: Whether or not this supposed “good fortune” is due purely to your fixation on the number or some actual cosmic force that promises a life-changing Golden Year or Golden Birthday, regardless of age, is both beyond me and beside the point. Stay with me here, eye-rolling skeptics; there’s a real, actual point to all of this.)
Now, to elaborate—because I feel the need to elaborate, not that I need to talk anyone into Number Worship (is that a thing?!??)—I know that this is a very subjective topic. As with ny intangible belief system, this sort of thing is subject to personal investment, perhaps teachings from parents or grandparents, or maybe even cultural differences. To many, we’re just talking about a superstition of some sort, right? However, I have to ask a question on behalf of those similar to myself to think for a moment: how many times do you find yourself subconsciously choosing a particular number for whatever purpose, whether it is mom’s birthdate, a memorable age or otherwise, simply because it stands out to you? It’s familiar to you, isn’t it? Superstition or not, this completely and unmistakably human habit of building relationships with the intangible is a wonderfully motivating process for many people— myself included. Superstition or not, we often assign meaning to these numbers, and with this meaning comes the desire to achieve something. With this meaning comes the desire to seek effectively create “Good Omens” and, in turn, safeguard those Good Omens and call on them when we most seek reassurance and confidence. Really, the fact of the matter is that, superstition or not, this mental trick of sorts works for some of us.
So. The number.
I’m going to be honest: when I realized somewhere around fourth grade that my Golden Birthday would occur when I would be nearly thirty, to tell you that I was disappointed wouldn’t do the sentiment justice. I was devastated. DE.VA.STATED. How could all of my friends get to have Golden Birthdays at cool ages like ten, thirteen, sixteen, eighteen—and I was stuck with TWENTY-SEVEN?? That sounds ancient when you’re nine. Life is over when you’re almost thirty. I felt so slighted.
…Well, I really should have known better. Really.
I should have had a whole lot more faith in my extremely milestone-focused, symbolism-conscious, birthday-and-cultural-ritual-obsessed existence. I should have know than I would eventually get over the agonizing wait that the born-day Heavens had granted me and resolve to wait, albeit extremely impatiently, for my elusive Golden Year to arrive. What I did realize through the years, however, is that this wait may have turned out to be the greatest blessing of my life. Remember that aside about the significance of assigning meaning to numbers for the sake of self-motivation and seeking numerological validation in your every-day life?
I guess what I decided on making my Golden Year instead of simply waiting for it.
What the number twenty-seven became to me was a self-imposed checkpoint. For a number so meaningful, I decided that I wanted to have created a life for myself to match. Of course, my definition of “meaningful life” has changed many times over the course of ten years—it has endured the learning and re-learning of a language, the transformation of an extra-curricular activity into a profession and the discover of real, true love in all of its forms. This definition has survived wins, losses, and challenges to my belief systems that have left me much less concerned with physical accomplishment on a deadline and more concerned with the development of a life so centered around my sense of passion, determination and desire to connect with others that I could put my mind to just about anything and never fail. This definition now includes a host of skills and abilities that I’ve picked up in my twenty-six years, nine months and sixteen days—many of which I didn’t know I had. I mean really, I’m sitting here, just under three months before my Golden, and I couldn’t have imagined what my life would be like today had even a psychic tried to convince me, you guys… All because somewhere around age twenty-three, I resolved that instead of within for tangible, so called “sensible” things by age twenty-seven, I decided that I just wanted to know.
I wanted to know who Erin Corine Johnson was and I wanted to be PROUD of her.
All in all, what I believe I realized those few years ago is that far more important than these tangible, ideological past goals that may or may not have been within my own control was to develop an understanding of all of the things I am and, subsequently, accept myself for all the things that I am not. In seeking this sort of inner-peace within myself as an individual, I have become so much better equipped to pursue my life’s goals and make a big difference in the world as a professional. There are so many abilities that make me valuable, and I suppose I just needed to learn how not to focus on the ones that I didn’t have in order to work on improving the ones that I did. I mean honestly, have you ever tried doing something that you weren’t really good at as a profession? Did you enjoy it or did you feel awful about yourself afterward? I’m willing to bet on the latter—but not out of self-righteousness. No.
Out of EXPERIENCE. This happened to me for too long. Never again.
So, as an individual artist, this milestone is huge for me. HUGE. This is not simply a number to fixate on or a birthday to celebrate; what this will be is a celebration of having arrived to a point of acceptance, a point discovery, and a point of confidence in the fact that the professional and PERSONAL voice that I have spent years developing is ready to go out and do some really, really amazing things. I will arrive to year twenty-seven knowing that I have created a lifestyle that is true to ME: my defined set of values, interests, skills and passions. My work as a musician, teacher, creator and cultural-liaison reflects where I’ve been, what I’ve seen, who I have met and, perhaps most importantly, where I’m going.
My work FINALLY reflects where I’m going.
That is really, honestly and truly more than I could have ever hoped for.
(And you know… Something tells me that little nine year-old girl from all those years ago might be preeeeetty happy if she could see how things turn out.) J