I’ve spent my whole life feeling different. As a kid I was bullied and picked on for not fitting in. I struggled and suffered in silence a long time, wondering if I was ever going to feel “normal.” In high school, I found music. Music had always been in my life, but suddenly I could create it instead of just listen to it, and I fell in with other musical students and found my “tribe.” The drive to make music followed me to college, and I thought I might find my career in music there— but the restrictions and discipline that university required in music always frustrated me. It made music more work, less enjoyable. I decided that music would be a part of my life for fun, not as my career. After sampling a variety of majors, I left college and reverted back to not feeling normal. While figuring out what to do next, I just happened to take a job in custom picture framing, and surprisingly again found something I loved, something artistic, something I could create. I now own Reed Arts, the leading custom picture framing studio in Columbus. I have kept music with me through the years, singing and playing percussion for many groups—currently as member of the Celtic folk band Mad Maudlin, and the Capital Pride Band of Columbus. I have stopped looking for “normal,” and now celebrate not fitting into a mold.
—Tim O’Neill, musician