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Renaissance Marie Austin "My Story"

            My name is Renaissance Marie Austin and I have finally built up the courage to tell my story. But first, let me lay the groundwo...

I am Fine with my Life

I can not speak for anyone else, but I am fine with my life. It is a mental state I have arrived to and I hope that many people get to this place at some seasoned level of their life for the sake of finally finding inner peace and acceptance of ones self according to the ability of all they've been able to give so far, even if they desire to go back and relive past events or change mishaps. I pray they are okay with what can not be changed. I...have become okay. 

I am fine with my past, my present, and I am excited for my future because I learned a little while back that God, without a doubt, orchestrates everything happening in my life, even when I think I am making decisions for myself. See, when you are obedient to a spiritual comforter and guide, you are not really engaged in decision-making on your own. You are in partnership with your gut, your intuition, and the energy that surrounds your thoughts and the energy given off of by the people you come into contact with. 

I am fine with every person who thought, or still thinks, of me as strange, too unique, and too different. I am glad I was comfortable in my skin, with my unique appearance and not in a state of mind to want acceptance from people by being a "pleaser". I was fine not following the crowd and I was never afraid to go against the grain. 

Surprisingly, this can be embarrassing and uncomfortable for people. But then again, I was always in the wrong tribe, around the wrong community, those who did not really understand, and that includes close friends and family. I learned that my community is the tiniest of all human sectors on the planet, a remnant of spiritually connected loners who see the world not just in the natural but through supernatural sight, dreamers and visionaries often times disconnected from reality, but "see" mostly everything. The masses, most of them, can not see and they should not be expected to. 

When I was a little girl the only person I wanted to be was Whitney Houston and by her I learned to sing really well. I had an expectation and vision for what I believed my music career would be because, let's be honest, I had, and still have, an amazing voice and was talented in dance and choreography, among many other things. Education administrators saw me and said, "She is going to be someone someday". I thought life would happen like how I saw it happen for Whitney and other artists. Then I met a little girl by the name of Brandy when I was 10. We immediately became best friends. Truth be told I was the only person who enjoyed her constant singing while other classmates were always telling her to shut up. Having a friend like me at that time was a saving grace when looking back in hindsight. We walked hand in hand, spent all of our school time together and participated in drill team for a couple of years. We were both naturally loving and affectionate toward each other. Kindred spirits for sure, but not really knowing this as children. When observing many of our classmates and their attitudes toward Brandy I learn something about how my brother and I were raised. We were loving, non-judgmental, and never harbored jealousy towards any of our friends. I believe Brandy was able to detect these qualities in me and therefore latched on like Elmer's Glue.  

As an adult I reflected on our childhood and thought about what was the same in our lives and what was different, how we both desired a life in music, but it was the differences that determined the outcome. Brandy was not shy at all, while I was. I was the quiet friend who allowed her to be who she was while I never made mention, ever, of me having the ability to sing. She was a star then and without a doubt she knew she would have her own television show and that one day she would meet Whitney Houston, her greatest inspiration. The confidence she had in the certainty of her destiny stemmed from her mother Sonya (really, both her parents), a women who at times seemed overly controlling and determined, but was Brandy's greatest cheerleader, supporter, and career guide, even if Brandy did not always want her to be. 

However, the mother issue was a sensitive subject for me and I realized way later in life that the maternal void I will forever carry to my death plays a huge role in the level of confidence I have in living my life. Now, I had confidence in other areas because whereas many do not grow up with their fathers, my father was an amazing single father who was like Willie Norwood, a musician, church organist, bassist, and saxophone player. He encouraged me to sing in the children's choir and knew I had a gift before I even knew I had a gift, yet I was so, so shy. But, imagine being 7 years old and people always expecting you to have a mother and finding out that she died in a tragic car crash. Things are not supposed to be that way right, and even more so no one is raised by a single father. That was literally unheard of during my childhood. So, I was automatically made to feel like an outcast very young, made to feel a sadness that contributed to my shyness. I also felt ashamed, imagine that, for not being "normal". Eventually I made the connection that my quiet observance and shyness was due to the facial expressions going from normal to shock and worry, expressions which remain etched in my mind today. Quite frankly it makes me really mad because it was impressed upon me that I was unlike everyone else and that caused me to withdrawn internally and become a loner even as a kid!

I can be honest and say that this is not easy to write about. I am not happy about being born into a family that did not know how to cultivate talent. My twin brother who is a two time Grammy nominated music producer and songwriter made the choice to not create music with me for a reason I don't know. My whole life from childhood until now I searched for an advocate hoping they would see everything they needed to see in me and then propel me to the place I needed to be. I mean, my parents were not here to do it and I know for a fact that if my mother had lived my life would be completely different. I thought perhaps, I would find that advocate by going back to school to receive my free education afforded me because I was a ward of the court. Fours years later, after becoming a double graduate in 2019 and 2020, with two associates and a certificate in Fine Arts, Music, and Commercial Music, I found nothing, though I gave the best effort I could give. But, while studying music I learned something that I am fine with knowing. I may never attain what I desire in the realm of music. When I looked at all the examples present in the world, I saw that there was a formula and that formula was and still is a strong family and supportive unit. It's the formula of "seeing and believing". This became clear to me some time after discovering Billie Eilish. I looked at the O'Connell family and thought about how similar we were raised. I saw in Billie and Finneas a surety that can only be had by how Maggie and Patrick raised them. Then I worked my way backwards and thought about how Justin Bieber's mom, although a single mom, recorded everything he did, took him to meeting after meeting, advocated for him. I thought about The Jacksons, The Carpenters, The Osmonds, and so many groups that were family entertaining groups. Then I went back to the very beginning to someone I knew personally, Brandy, and realized that there was always someone there carving a path and that was her mother. With a cornerstone like Sonya Brandy's voice, personality, and outspokenness flourished from the very beginning while my abnormalities caused me to become the complete opposite. After contemplating these revelations I understood that no one advocated or carved anything for me, not as a child or an adult. I have been more ignored, rejected, and made fun of, which I am so used to that I expect it. My father did his best before he unexpectedly died when I was 14. I did ask if I could take singing and dance lessons around 8 or 9, but I don't think he wanted to pay for it. By the age of 10 I at least had the opportunity to participate in military drill with Brandy, and when I was 15 I put myself into my very first ballet class. Yeah, pretty late to be starting but I was a late bloomer anyway, which also made me feel awkward in comparison to others. 

Now a college graduate in 2020 during a strange time in the world before an approaching election I can say that at 41 years old I am fully awakened, I know it all (not in the way that God does), and I am fully found. I understand that I have nothing left to do but to put my art in the world by my own efforts whether I am helped, supported, or advocated for or not. I feel like Emily Dickinson at this point, like I have mentally retreated from what is sucky about people and although unfortunate, I am sad to say that majority of people are not insightful at all, nor do they have the ability to "see". Speaking of "seeing" let's go back to Billie Eilish for a moment. I don't think people really get how instrumental Finneas was in catapulting her career and I don't just mean him being her collaborator. What I am saying is that Finneas had the ability to "see" something in his sister that made him want to make her a star, her personality, her unique style. This flies right over people heads when he mentions this in interviews and I adore how he gives Billie very intense looks into the side of her face when she is speaking. It's the look that says, 'I really know you sister'. Half of the time I don't think Billie is even aware. When you think about it, it was his desire to pursue music heavily and his reaching out to music makers and managers he loved that brought about the connection and we all know the rest is history. 

Over the years and very sporadically, I would run into Brandy at recording studios when I was with my brother writing songs. I always had some project with me whether crochet or making jewelry. Each time it was like old times, reminiscing about drill, doing old combinations (that is what they were called), her checking out my crafts. Then one day she pulled me aside and quietly asked, "Oh my God, can you sing?".  Smiling, I shook my head and said yes. Then she turned around to my brother and asked him the same question. He laughed and said yes. She just stood there wide-eyed and open-mouthed in humorous surprise. 

It's been a long time now since I've seen her and there is always a possibility that someday again I will. I love her dearly and miss her based on childhood memories. I miss that closeness with someone like her and the few others I have been kindred with. 

I am fine, though. I am fine with all things because I am still alive and breathing. I have my health and I have all the things I have accomplished that makes me proud of what I have done. Famous or not I have treated myself like the celebrity I am and I can count on one hand, the people who have really gotten me. I am ultra talented, meritable of all I have received, scholarly, and born to two genius parents who left a legacy within me. I know that this period in my life is the best time, that I have the ability to still carve out a great path for myself and give to the world all that I am until I am no more. With the help of God who has never failed me I can do all things through my spiritual and supernatural strength. I have experienced many miracles and I know there are more on the way. I feel it. That's all for now. Heart's joy wherever you are in the world. 

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