Q: What adversity in your life have you faced that’s shaped the person you are today? What did you learn?

Gillette Anderson

Gillette Anderson, Crystal

Being a single parent coming out of a divorce. It did less shaping, but molding who I was, and allowing me to see exactly who I was. It developed me into my own person, the person that I may have been 20 years earlier. … I learned that I’m strong, and that I’m creative, and I’m kind. I learned that it’s OK to not necessarily be in a fun place, but to propel past it. To go for the peace, and I have a lot of peace. Peace of mind, peace of heart, free from bitterness and anger. And just a stillness, a settlement in my soul, in my spirit. Who I am. And being OK with that.

What parts of you came out of that experience?

I think a boldness, a determination. Because I had two children, a teenager at that time, and a 10 year old. And I knew I had to keep going, I had to keep moving. I had to continue to grow so that my children could grow and be whole.



Seth Baird, Minneapolis

When I was 7, my cousin had a roll of money, and he had a $20 bill on the outside, but the inside was all ones. Somebody saw that, and he stabbed my cousin, and he died with me. For a long time I was really struggling with that. I blamed myself a lot of the time, because I was supposed to look after my cousin. So I just kinda turned to music, and have been working through it like that. … For one, I learned not to trust people, and two, I learned not to stack a $20 bill on the outside of ones (laughs). Things happen, and when it’s your time it’s your time, and you shouldn’t beat yourself up over what happens to other people. You just gotta push through it. I’m not really religious, but I believe that God, or the Universe if you will, gives its toughest battles to his hardest soldiers. Day by day, keep stepping forward.

How has music helped you get through that?

Music is the one place where you can kind of just put your all into it, and really show people how you feel. Make a soulful sound. It’s the one place I go and, poof, it’s all gone. Just let it all go.



Tami Stice, West Des Moines, Iowa

I have a son who was in high school and had a football accident, and he ended up losing half of his leg to Compartment Syndrome. It was a year’s worth of battling. We didn’t have family around, so it was even harder with my two younger girls, trying to be at the hospital for months. He made the decision to amputate his leg right before he was 18. We went through a lot, it was a long journey. … I learned to be strong. To not judge people when they’re walking by, there could be something going on in their life where they might be struggling. And just kind of embrace what you have in front of you today, because you don’t know what tomorrow, or the next hour’s gonna to bring you.

How’s your son doing now?

He’s doing great. He’s now 24. I’m very proud of him, because he is going to be graduating in two weeks at Iowa State University. And he has a job offer. It’s great, I mean, he conquered it, he still goes snowboarding. But I look at him some days, and I still know there’s depression and battles. But there’s so many people who have other stories out there. Who don’t have both limbs, or … there’s just so much.