You see a girl with short, blue black hair, wearing a shirt from the Misfits along with blue-black jean jacket. It is decorated with patches from punk bands, skulls and the anarchist sign on her bottom left pocket of the outer wear. Her chain on her black jeans jingles as she walks to the other side of the room to grab a guitar from the instrument pile. Crisscrossing her legs on the chair, you know right away she is going to play some hyped up punk song. You can just see it in her face and you get ready to hear her let it out. She gets ready, and then starts to play a Mariachi song. You look so confused and wonder who exactly is this girl. You thought she was going to play a punk song because she definitely looks like she was. But you were wrong. That punk girl playing the guitar is me.

Before I was even exposed to the world, I listened to punk, metal and ska. I hear my dad tell me stories of when I was in my mother's womb and would kick around in excitement when I heard a Nirvana or The Ramones, or whatever band my dad was listening to at the moment. As a little kid, I'd jump around and head bang with my mom in the kitchen listening to Metallica or Slayer. I'd skank to Operation Ivy, sing my heart out when I heard the song Time Bomb from Rancid, go absolutely crazy and run around the house when my dad played Kid Dynamite. I always had a passion for the music I grew up listening to, and it grew more everyday when I watched my dad play his guitar along to my favorite songs. But I did not develop a burning passion for music through punk rock, or metal, or ska. It started when I joined my school's mariachi band. 

It was the first year my school opened up a mariachi band, and you better believe I snatched that flyer with my tiny eight year old hands and ran home. I slapped that baby onto the table and told my parents, "I'm going to join the mariachi band." My dad encouraged me to learn to play the guitar through the program so that I can learn how to play the way it is played in our culture. Little did he know I was already ahead of him because I had similar ideas (after all, great minds think alike). After everything was set and done, I was one of the guitarist for my school's mariachi band. There were kids in the mariachi that already knew how to do was strum the strings. I knew absolutely nothing. But I was so determined to learn how to play, I would lock myself in my room and play the songs I was taught over and over and over again until I could play without messing up or looking at the guitar.

Even though it was hard at first, I was absolutely in love with learning how to play the guitar (and I still am). I loved every song we played and I grew so much from my experience that after I reached my final year of the program in eighth grade, my instructor came up to me and told me something I still hold onto today. He told me that I have a special talent for showing my emotions through the way I play. You can hear the happiness, the excitement resonating in the way I play my guitar. You can hear every mood and tone of every song through the way I played, and that is something not everyone has a knack for. He told me to hang onto that, and never let that die. I took his advice and continued to grow.

I may not be in Mariachi anymore, but I learned a whole lot from the experience. I took what I learned and went back to when my passion was in its fetus stage (literally). I went back to all the punk, metal and ska music I grew up listening to, and learned to play them. Now that I am experimenting with writing songs, despite them being punk songs, you can still hear the style I developed while I was in mariachi. So yes, I may look like a punk, but my experiences in mariachi still runs through my veins. 

If you have a burning passion or hobby, feel free to share it if you like. I'm open for any questions or feedback if you have any (and it is greatly appreciated). 

Published by Ariella D. Gaitan