The Meaning of Bluetread
Updated: May 3, 2021
I went to college in the mid-late 90's. My interpretation of fashion back then was to take my favorite sweatshirt and turn it inside-out to look "cool," there were strategic holes in the knees of my most worn-in jeans, and my hair was long and in a ponytail (those days are long gone). I had many long flannel shirts for recreation (now I wear them for work), and listened to the best decade of music in existence. The list gets long quick: Foo Fighters, Radiohead, Smashing Pumpkins, Alanis Morissette, REM, Beastie Boys, Oasis, Blur, Garbage, Sheryl Crow, Hootie, Matchbox Twenty, etc.
I remember sitting in my parents' basement figuring out with my brother what the name of our band would be. He liked a song by Sixpence None the Richer called "Angeltread" and wanted the word "tread" in the band name with the first part being a color. His favorite color was orange; hence "Orangetread" was born. We would go on to perform not over 10 shows, but not under 5 either. One of those shows was on the back stages of a festival where about 10 people watched us - it was a rush. It's a time I look back on as probably one of the best (up there with living in Australia for a year). We recorded a few EP's and got to spend hours practicing with better musicians than us. I was maybe a bit naïve to have hope of hitting the big time and becoming the next Dave Matthew's Band. The truth was that all of us got busy with jobs and ended up putting the band to the side, and I miss it at times. My guitar sits next to my desk, and I go long periods without picking it up.
Being in a band is similar to being in a relationship. There are times when the highs are really amazing, and other times when difference of opinion is forefront. It's a dance to navigate a balance of letting our opinions be heard and also having to compromise. In the process of being in that band and with the relationships there, I felt at times that I got lost in it. My adult identity was on shaky ground, and I was just trying to figure out who I was and how I fit in. I see this struggle in every client I talk to in their 20's. It's a time of branching out and no longer blindly accepting parents' way of viewing the world. It's can be both exciting and terrifying.
My process of going back to school to become a therapist was all about wrestling with my identity and how I interact with others. I spent years sitting in practicum groups naming hard things I had previously let slide under the table. I faced difficult people and told them what I really thought, I learned to tap into my feelings and that this did not always have to lead to being shamed, and I learned that my voice is a needed thing. My process has involved getting off my continuum / default of blind acceptance of others' views, stepping into my own thoughts, and giving space for myself in environments where I previously didn't do that. It has been a long process, and also encouraging to see others follow in similar paths of their own from our conversations in therapy.
With private practice, I wanted to create a name that honored my journey of figuring out my identity but also in the context of connection with others. So I took the band name "Orangetread" and replaced "Orange" with "Blue" (my favorite color) to symbolize that each of us gets to be our own person while also being in connection / relationship with others. I can see from this viewpoint that this struggle is a universal one and applies to a lot of us just trying to figure out who we are and how we fit with others.