Nery Delisse Diaz

The island of enchantment, Puerto Rico, is my birthplace and forever a big part of my soul. I was lucky enough to be born there and to carry the sound of the coqui as close as a heartbeat. As a Puerto Rican, or Boricua, I have ancestors from Spain, Africa, and the native Taino Indians. But my life wasn't meant to be spent on the island. My father was in the US Army, so I grew up moving from state to state across the continental US. Having spent so much of my childhood in the US, I also came to love this country just as passionately as my home island.

When my dad retired, we had to move to Puerto Rico to live in my parent's tiny mountainous hometown; I was devastated. I never felt entirely at peace throughout high school there. I did well in school and I had friends, but I was struggling. The struggle manifested in constant bouts of dizziness and random panic attacks. After many doctors and tests, I was diagnosed with epilepsy. I was given various medications that never actually helped. Instead, I felt sleepy all the time. I sought solace in a church, and while that helped some, I still felt alone and misunderstood.

Once in college, it began as more of the same. As a naturally independent person, I felt happy to have the freedom to get to know myself and make new friends. I purchased and fell in love with my first ever Third Eye Blind CD. I had a series of wonderful roommates, but my moodiness (and messiness) became obstacles to achieving lasting friendships. As I happily discovered my true calling (for future career), I also found myself living alone, working part-time and lonelier than ever. By this time, I had given up on any medication helping me. At my job, I met someone that made me feel seen. I fell, and I got pregnant. I wish I could say this part had a happy ending. If I mention my son, then it really is, but my relationship with his father was little more than a nightmare. It ended with a call to the police and a restraining order. As a newly single mother of a newborn, I threw myself into my classes.

I graduated as a medical technologist magna cum laude. I now know that my son helped me achieve that. Sadly, the only way to provide for him was to move to the continental US. I was fortunate to land a great job at a well known hospital in Houston, Texas. All the while, I had my 3 Third Eye Blind CDs blasting consistently in my car. That was when I stopped being a casual fan, and began to become consumed by the music. "Don't turn my hope into a weapon" became my internal motto as I reentered the dating world. I met a wonderful man, (now my husband) but my moodiness and overall solitude remained.

After a car accident that reignited my panic attacks, I finally decided to try seeing a new doctor. In an unexpected turn of events, he declared that I have never had epilepsy, and that I should think about seeing someone to help with my anxiety. That discovery changed everything. The right medication allowed me to think clearly for what felt like the first time. With this added clarity, I was able to preserve my budding relationship and be a better mother. It was in Houston, that I was finally able to see Third Eye Blind in concert for the very first time.

Around the time I finally found the magic that is a live 3eb concert, the band was about to release Ursa Major and their fan site Assembly was in full swing. I tried my hand at blogging, but it just wasn't for me. I was exhilarated when my questions or comments were answered by Stephan. I came to "know" a few fellow Assembly members. One of my favorites is now a great friend, but back then I only knew him as Godzilla.

I am trying to wrap this up, I never meant to bore anyone...just wanted to make myself known, just a little. About four years ago, I was given a job offer I couldn't refuse. Taking the job meant that I had to move my family to California. It was a huge change, but other than the job, the biggest benefit was being in the hometown of my favorite band. I have since seen Third Eye Blind play so many times I no longer keep count. It took me meeting the band many times before I finally had the strength to express to them how much their music has meant to me. And most important of all, I found my people. I now have the kind of friends that can be considered family. It is the kind of connection I had longed for and needed all my life. They get me and I get them. Each song now has memory attached to it. Pain, love, loneliness and passion all from the same songs loved by the people that I love and that love me. Mad. Blind. Love.

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How do you do it when I'm overwhelmed by a violet sky