The smell of coffee permeates the room around me. It’s a cool morning, still summer, but there is a hint of dying leaves in the air; fall is just around the corner. I should be gratefully sipping that first cup of rich black liquid and relaxing into my day. Instead, my heart is pounding, my breath shallow. I feel like I might pop right out of my skin at any moment. Fear has gripped my soul with icy fingers.
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face…you must do the thing you cannot do.” I flipped open a book while I was waiting for the coffee to brew, and that quote from Eleanor Roosevelt was the first thing I saw; suddenly it all made sense. I am terrified of moving forward. All the things I’ve been struggling with over the past few years: poverty, a crumbling business, broken dreams, authenticity, finding my true voice and passion and what the “grand purpose” of my life is, crush me like a 2 ton boulder, and I am paralyzed.
I have been on a spiritual quest to find some answers and to learn why I was going through so much shit these last few years. I took my business, Gearhead® to a dead stop because clearly it wasn’t working as it was. The Gearhead® Brand looked like it would be another causality of the shattered economy, but there were other reasons for my company’s downturn.
As I delved into healing my life, uncovering the many places where my actions didn’t match up with my intentions and making amends, I was willing to let it all go and start fresh and clean. But as you know, Gearhead® hung around, like some tarnished penny that kept turning up, begging me to pick it up. Which brings me to this moment in time, facing the fear head on that engulfs me.
As I rebuild this business from the ground up, I am starting to get some answers as to why it didn’t go away, even though I tried like heck to dissolve it, or just bury it. If I had any idea of how hard it would be to start a business back up from a dead stop, I would never have tried. It’s a good thing I’m a glass half full sort of gal. I let optimism and hope lead me forward.
I have struggled with how my loves for rock ‘n’ roll, pop culture and hot rods could serve any sort of a beneficial purpose to the world. I’m not a musician, I just know when I hear a piece of music that moves me in some way, I want to share that with everyone I know. I know almost nothing about cars except I have always enjoyed looking at them. I love the fact that mere mortals could create these amazing machines built from the elements of the earth. Ever since I built a model racecar in metal shop as a child I thought cars were neat! And pop culture? Well, that’s what has shaped who I am today.
I’m not a trained businessperson. I have simply followed my gut and was a bit taken aback when that led to successes as quickly as it led to disasters. This whole rollercoaster ride with Gearhead is really about courage and confidence, and stopping to look fear in the face, moving past the fear, judgments and limits that always surround a dream. Gearhead has hung around waiting for me to stop being afraid of following my dreams.
No other business out there is like Gearhead. It is a unique entity, born of steel, grease and grit and powered by the raw pulse of pounding drums and a burning passion in my belly that won’t be ignored. It has attracted brave souls who have followed their own inner urge to create something all their own. Gearhead essentially is a community of like-minded people, all following their own dreams and passions around the main themes of kustom culture and rock ‘n’ roll.
As I wake up the slumbering shell of Gearhead, I must face my own biggest fear of doing the thing I think I cannot do, the thing those around me think I’m crazy for trying. Fear can stop you, or it can be a motivator, giving one the courage to go for it. My business coach Jim Kaspari summed it up perfectly: "fear is the lantern that lights our way to success."
Gearhead Magazine has lain dormant since 2009, and as I start work on it again, the fear floods to the surface. “Maybe they’re right, I can’t do this, what am I thinking! It won’t be the same…” These thoughts fill my head and rattle around like old junk in the trunk. Starting up the publishing process has triggered these fears that once again led me to do some soul-searching. I realized Gearhead is simply the vehicle I’m driving right now as I learn the lessons of following one’s dreams.
Gearhead Magazine will not be the same publication my former partner once envisioned. It can’t be because I am not he. But it can be something new, something that honors the past, but lives in the present. It can still be a place that like-minded people come together at.
I’ve recently applied for a grant to help fund the rebirth of Gearhead. I need to get 250 votes by Oct. 3 in order to move onto the next round of the application process. Will you help? Click here to place your vote for Gearhead®! I thank you in advance for your support, and for sharing the dream.
Passion and the intent to shine a light on the people who serve the world by following their dreams has always been the foundation of Gearhead, whether it was rock ‘n’ roll, cars or the culture around these industries.
Are you one of those people? If so, Gearhead has a place for you as I get the magazine into production again for the long awaited issue #19. Take an ad out in the magazine, write a review of a favorite new record, book or movie you think our community should know about, or maybe even write a feature article. If you want to be involved in any of these ways, please email me today!
Gearhead Apparel is being revived with some old classics like the Gearhead Logo shirt the Spark Plug shirt, or the classic Runnin’ On Fumes Iron On shirt, but we’re looking for new designs too, so if you always thought your artwork would make a great Gearhead shirt, send it over!
Most of all, we need customers who can support Gearhead by buying the stuff we’re creating, and getting the word out the Gearhead brand is rolling again.
Gearhead will have a booth at the upcoming car show Billetproof; here I’ll be selling Gearhead® goodies and talking to the folks who stop by. If you’re in the Bay Area, come check it out! And while you’re there, put your name into the raffle for a chance to win a Gearhead® Goodie Bag!
I’m finally getting the You Tube channel crankin’ again too: the first video in 4 years, The Yolo County Demolition Derby, went live recently, and more videos are on the way! Become a subscriber to the channel! Facebook Twitter and Instagram have been a challenge for me to learn, but I think I’m getting the hang of it finally. New content is going up every day because I finally realized these forums are a place where community gathers. It’s been fun sharing pictures and information from the past and as I get more comfortable with the technology, there will be a lot more stuff coming! Please follow Gearhead and feel free to repost and share.
I’ve realized much of what Gearhead is about is being an inspiration to those who struggle with facing fear themselves, and providing an avenue to do what they think they cannot do. DIY baby, just go for it. You’ll never know if you don’t try right? Shake Rattle and Roll.
Till next time, be cool and keep the rubber on the road,
I am slowly but surely getting through emails. It's something I struggle with on a daily basis. Do I stop and answer all the wonderful emails that come through from my customers and community? Or do I focus on trying to get Gearhead moving again? Usually the emails get pushed to the back seat; any of you that have written, just accept my apology, and know I save ALL emails and answer them at some point!
Back in April I got such a nice email from a long time Gearhead supporter in response to my newsletter. He took my newsletter and added pictures, which is something I had wanted to do, but never got around to! I have been meaning to share his blog with this for months now, and on the eve of sending out my next newsletter, I figured it's now or never. So Frank, thank you for your support! Thank you for making this newsletter extra special by adding the pictures. It was exactly what I would have done, had I done it!
Please read this blog, and support this guy, he truly rocks!! xo Michelle
"All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” Ernest Hemingway said this, and I have to admit, I have been struggling to do exactly that for a very long time, ever since I published my first article back in 1987, a record review for Oregon State Unitersity's paper The Barometer.
It's hard to write what's in your head sometimes, but I keep trying. I like it when people are real, authentic, and totally themselves and that's what I'd like to convey when I write about something I'm passionate about.
Which leads me to this project I'm currently working on....a little thing called the next, long awaited issue of Gearhead Magazine, #19. I've been involved in putting the magazine together in the past, but it's been a long long time, so I'm starting at ground zero here, trying to figure out what I want to write about, what content should go into a beloved magazine that certainly has a history and a following, and knowing I won't be able to make it what the former editor, Mike, did. Instead, I have to make it my own. I know it's gonna get a few people bent out of shape, but I can't worry about that.
I'll never be able to make it exactly like what Mike did, but I can make it something new, something that reflects my outlook on life, cars, pop culture, rock 'n' roll and this crazy little upside down world we all inhabit. All I can do is write the truest sentence I can.
I'm looking for contributors by the way. Are you interested? If you have always had a burning desire to write an article, story or review for Gearhead, now's your chance! Drop me a line! Maybe your time has come!
I've loved demolition derbies ever since I saw it on Happy Days as a kid. "Pinky" Tuscadero, Fonzie's girlfriend was a professional demolition derby car driver, and the moment I saw her in the episode where she crawls out on the hood of her stalled car, I knew I wanted to do that.
Well, watching a demo derby is one thing, and driving in them is quite another. I still haven't done it, but l haven't ruled it out!
For now, I've decided to write an article on demo derbys for Gearhead® so I went to the Yolo County Fair Demolition Derby Sat. Aug. 16, 2014 with some close pals, and interviewed drivers and organizers as well as filmed a bunch of footage. This video is the first release of that footage, set to the soundtrack of Gearhead band The Pink Swords. More to come, so check back!
Automotive Journalist, Editor and Publisher of Gearhead Magazine, Gearhead Records, Gearhead Apparel, DJ, Punk Rocker, Master Gardener, Minister, Environmental Activist and Animal Lover... who IS this person?!