“I have a dream. I will be famous. I will sing or I will die trying.”
“You may never be famous. Most people don’t make it.”
“You’re not listening to me. I will make it or I will die trying.”
The dreams of a 17 year old girl. The determination you can’t argue with, the determination you can’t deny.
So what happened? Where did that 17 year old go? This time, this time I’ll tell you the truth.
I had a plan. I knew how many people make it in singing so I knew I’d need to find another way. I was going to start out in modelling, get connections, transition to acting if I needed to, but hopefully through modelling I would meet the right people and make it into singing. All I needed to do was sing in front of the right person.
I could take a turn at this point and tell you my boyfriend influenced me. Tell you he was controlling, abusive, and told me I wasn’t allowed to model because it was “too sexual” and “my wife is not to be seen by others in a sexual way” – note there the use of “my wife” even though we weren’t married. And all of that would be true. But I don’t think that’s really it.
I could tell you a doctor’s appointment one day told me I had PCOS and would possibly have trouble having children if I didn’t have them young, and it changed my priorities. And that would be true too. But that isn’t it either.
The truth is: I was afraid.
I had an opportunity. In my parents house my brother hosted a jam. He was a great guitar player. There were people there, MGF, Angela Bishop, people who knew people. And I didn’t take the mic. Not until later in the evening. Not until everyone was drunk. Then I took the mic, and Angela Bishop smiled at me, nodded, and said “Not bad”.
I could have sung earlier. I could have taken the opportunity. I didn’t.
I had a modelling portfolio done, I called all the agencies to find out when I needed to be there and what I needed to do to audition for them. I never went.
It’s the same reason I never played any sport, never rode a bike, never pursued anything I really cared about (except in love, where all logic left me for reasons I never quite understood).
What if I actually wasn’t any good? What if I ended up on the Australian Idol blooper reel? (I auditioned for Australian Idol, I didn’t). What if people had been humouring me and I actually can’t sing?
The fear of failure.
What if I didn’t make it? What if people said no? What if I was turned away, turned down, time after time after time and ended up working as a waitress in a bar at 38, a washed up shoulda-coulda-woulda.
The fear that if you can’t do something perfectly the first time, you’ll never be able to do it. The fear that something bad will happen if you fail. The fear that you might get hurt, laughed at, humiliated, something.
The fear that if you do something you care about, it can be taken away from you.
The fear I’d be struggling for the rest of my life.
I’ve lived my whole life in fear, waiting for life to hand me things on a silver platter. And now I’m confronted with the greatest fear I’ve ever faced – the decision of whether or not to have children. And the new fear – what if I’m not a good mother? Maybe it’s safer not to try.
For the greatest fear is fear itself.
What are you afraid of? What’s your greatest fear? Were you afraid of becoming a mother?