Like most people, I’ve had distinct dreams of what I could, and wanted to, accomplish in my life. My dreams were very clear from a young age. I can pinpoint the exact moment I knew I wanted to do musical theatre and why: when I heard Donna Lee Marshall sing Memory in Cats at the Civic Auditorium. Her voice went through you. It was devastating and uplifting and her emotion was undeniable. I had no idea someone could do that, could stir such feeling in others. I knew that was exactly what I wanted to do with my life; to touch emotion in others.
I always wanted to thank her for literally changing my life.
It’s no longer the Civic, it’s the Keller Auditorium now, and far more than the name has changed in the decades since that transpired.
No one really believed in me. Didn’t believe I’d ever be able to sing or perform. I locked myself away every time I was home alone, practicing. I found a way to sing. The first time I ever let anyone hear me was on one of those tiny cassette tapes. It was me playing and singing I Dreamed A Dream from Les Miserables. This was back in 1994.
No one believed it was me. It wasn’t until some time later that I sang for the first time in front of people. It was a drama class project and a friend and I sang I Know Him So Well from Chess while my piano teacher accompanied us.
People couldn’t believe it.
I learned a long time ago never to believe your own press, either good or bad, so I tried to only put forth what I knew to be true: I wanted to perform to touch others. That was all. Before every performance of any show I was in, I spent time thinking about that.
Over the course of the next chunk of years, after high school, I didn’t perform at all. It wasn’t until I moved to Germany that things really started happening. I started doing shows again. I landed parts I’d only dreamed of. I won a couple of awards. I had a solid voice teacher. I was traveling and performing. I was so happy I was doing it. Even on a small scale, I was doing it.
Then in 2004 I managed to wreck my life and it took years to get it as sorted as I could get it. Performing went by the wayside.
And it may sound like hyperbole, but I think about it every day. There is an ache that never goes away.
At some point over the years, I realized I wanted to write. I didn’t know how to go about it. My background wasn’t in writing. It wasn’t in anything other than passion for theatre, the only place I ever felt comfortable. I would still venture to guess the most comfortable I’ve ever been was on a stage in front of hundreds of people. The most I’ve ever felt like myself. I suppose that’s not entirely true. Whenever I’ve gone dancing, I also feel like myself.
But I digress.
It was many years ago when I knew I wanted to write. My first inclination was to write about games, but also about general observations of, well, anything really. When I created this website, I figured that was the most direct way between me and where I wanted to go.
It’s now years later, 650+ pieces later, so many words later, and I’m still nowhere.
And, yesterday, while sitting on the couch watching The Voice auditions on YouTube, I had this profound realization, a crushing weight of understanding, that none of what I ever wanted to make of myself professionally will ever happen.
None of it.
I’m not one for passive aggressive pity parties, and I’m not one to try to get people to compliment anything about me. If I needed something, I’d ask. This was simply a truth. And I felt that truth throughout and it devastated me to a degree I didn’t know possible.
I’m never going to make it.
Make no mistake: I’m still going to keep writing, keep trying, keep dreaming, but somewhere inside, I already know nothing will happen.
I’m proud of my perseverance. But I am struggling with my understanding. I realize some of these words may come as odd to people since I always try to keep a positive attitude. If this were someone else, I’d absolutely cheer them on and tell them they never know what can happen. At the same time, I come back to that feeling, that awful, dense, understanding, and all I can do is stare.
I’m sorry if this is depressing. But Thursdays are for what’s on my mind, and this is very definitely on my mind.
Thank you, to each of you reading this, for supporting me with your time. I will still keep writing, still keep singing alone. To be fair, I will also keep singing to the dog, but he’s never been all that impressed.
This is a deeply confusing time. Like I said, I will always keep going, keep trying, I just know it’s ultimately an exercise in futility where writing and performing are concerned.
Fundamentally, all I’ve ever wanted was to connect with people. Through song, through words, connecting.
Life sure is something, sometimes.
I feel the exact same way a lot of the time. People will say it’s all a matter of perspective; and to focus on the things you HAVE achieved (loving marriage), but I have dwelled on failures and missed opportunities, which has been the bulk of my professional life. I think learning to cope with this is a huge part of “life” but I don’t know how to do it.
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Oh Jason, I’m sorry. It’s “funny” because I’d never have thought that of you. I mean, you have a law degree and practice and I just feel like you’ve made something of yourself. It just goes to show we never know what other people feel or perceive.
I think they aren’t mutually exclusive. I think it’s entirely possible to be massively grateful for certain aspects of life (e.g.: amazing relationships, creatures), yet still frustrated with personal growth and achievement. I’m right there with that feeling. On one hand, I could literally not be more grateful for my relationship and pup, yet I’m still devastated at myself for my lack of making anything at all of myself.
I clearly don’t know how to cope with it either. <3
I maintain that knowing and thinking a thing are not the same.
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I believe that to be true. But it’s very difficult when something feels as true as it does.
But I still think you’re correct.
Yeah, I know the feeling. I’m lucky that I have my job with nice enough co-workers, and that I treat my writing as a hobby. Because I’d get really sad if I had the intention of making it my profession. The feeling of positive energy that you get from doing something you really like is priceless, so keep up with your wonderful writing!
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Oh Yvonne, I’m so sorry. I genuinely wish you didn’t know the feeling. :(
I am so glad you keep writing and I’m certain I’m not alone in that.
And thank you. I will keep going, I just don’t feel hopeful anymore about it going anywhere.
Keep practicing your singing, your time will come.
Take this quote by Lao Tzu to heart: “If you are depressed, you are living in the Past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the moment”.
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My blessing and my curse is that I keep trying even though there might be no progress…for years and years.
That is a beautiful quote.