Growing up in Bermuda there was a store called “Makin' Waves.” I probably shouldn’t say “was” because it still very much exists. Makin' Waves is one of the primary stores people go to when looking for Bermuda 'merch' and memorabilia. When I left home for university in 2012, I went to the Makin' Waves store on Front Street and bought two things:
- A bermuda flag. I thought it would be cool to hang in my dorm room.
- A Bermuda sweatshirt. Because… why not?
In addition to those (then very necessary) items, I also made a stop at a restaurant called The Swizzle Inn. Their motto is “Swizzle Inn, Swagger Out” in honour of their signature rum punch drink (locally termed “ Bermuda Swizzle”). There, I ordered my classic swizzle burger, fries, and a drink, but also decided to keep a menu and bring it with me.
I know, I know. You’re thinking… “Hayley, why on earth would you need to take a menu?” Well friend, there was something artsy about the way they printed their menu on printed news paper. And I like to consider myself pretty artsy… both back then and still to this day. I made something out of those three items. Whether it was constantly wearing my Bermuda hoodie on a cold Winter day or making a fun display on my wall.
(Image Description: Photo of Hayley's dorm room in second year of University. Showing a colourful bedspread, mini fridge with snacks on top, Swizzle Inn newspaper menu and the Bermuda flag hanging on the wall).
Almost a decade ago now, that girl was full of wonder, full of life, full of ideas and passion. I was extremely excited to leave the 26 sq. ft. mile island (population est. 69,000 [Tamara if you're reading this, feel free to laugh your butt off!]) and go off to a new adventure in Wolfville, Nova Scotia in Canada (of all the places to go, that’s where I ended up). Hey, East Coast, Hey!
I wanted to change the world! And perhaps, I still do.
I knew that studying music therapy was such a big opportunity to one day offer expertise on mental health and holistic care to a community in which more resources are needed - Bermuda. All roads have always pointed to me eventually ending up giving back to my community. I knew, and still know, that mental healthcare is a rarity. Alternative and creative arts healthcare is a rarity. Understanding of holistic and creative arts therapies is limited. Stigmas related to therapy and mental healthcare still highly exist. And… much like myself while growing up… there’s a lot of transgenerational shame and avoidance related to asking for help or admitting a need for help.
So, after spending almost a decade in Canada - learning, studying, making connections, becoming confident in my advocacy voice - I have decided to move back home to Bermuda. I am excited to make this change. I am excited at the opportunity to provide a much needed service to my community. I am also excited to be a spokesperson against stigma for mental healthcare, the importance of quality older adult care, the impact music therapy can have on learning and emotional development, and so so much more.
This journey starts next month and I will keep you updated along the way - telling my story - in this diary of an island music therapist blog series!
Your friend in community (near & far),
P.S. Just because I want to share the excitement with you in a way that you can experience it also... Here's a playlist of a few videos that represent the people and vibrance of Bermuda: