Travis Barker photo by Adam Elmakias

Travis Barker photo by Adam Elmakias

I picked up Travis Barker’s book Can I Say: Living Large, Cheating Death, and Drums, Drums, Drums in hopes that I might become a good drummer through osmosis. I am sick of being the dead weight in our family band. I should have known better. Travis says that to become a good drummer I need to practice, practice, practice. Oh Travis, we had a really good thing going. I was right there with you when you talked about being passionate about playing and having heart, but the whole work hard thing is just too much for a slacker like me. I am retiring the dream of forming my own punk band and going on tour, but I am going to start practicing more so I don’t let my current bandmates down. I do have some integrity. I do not have high hopes that this whole band thing is going to go well. In fact, I’m fairly certain I am going to fall on my face, but that’s okay, I am having fun. Now I just need someone to explain to my daughter that Mommy isn’t ruining her band on purpose, I’m just not the same caliber of musician as the other two band members.

I love music and I love musicians, so I read a lot of memoirs written by musicians. They are usually entertaining and full of debauchery. I usually walk away feeling like I know the writer a little better, but I usually find that they are the people I expected them to be. I walked away from this book completely in love with Travis Barker and in awe of the person that he is. I have always viewed him as the sexy bad boy with the tattoos. I didn’t expect that underneath that layer of himself was also a really humble, fiercely loyal, authentically kind man. He doesn’t just say “nobody cares, go harder”, he actually walks the walk. He knows that to raise good kids you have to be a good parent and that your actions are what define you.

I have a very good friend and mentor who always asks me what is my opportunity to learn and grow from any challenge I am faced with. She has taught me that I can either look at things as problems or opportunities to learn. I don’t have to do things, I get to do things. I try to live my life every day from this perspective and I am always really happy when I learn about others who do the same. Travis Barker seems to also practice gratitude and live in hope. He is unapologetically himself and that is about the most courageous thing you can do in life. So thank you Travis for reminding me that I don’t have to ever grow out of being the punk rock kid in the corner looking at the bright side.

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I’m Jen. I am a mom, wife, daughter, friend and often times the bad influence your mom warned you about. I am good with words, numbers and dysfunctional people. I tend to find humor in situations that aren’t really funny and I laugh at my own jokes.

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