I kind of floated through my teenage years trying not to be noticed. Being noticed meant being on people’s radar. Being on people’s radar meant ridicule. And ridicule meant isolation.
Not many people know but my first love was musical theatre. Acting and singing was such a big passion of mine. I remember begging for microphones and karaoke machines as a child just so I could show off and sing my little heart out to my imaginary audience of thousands. When there was a camera lurking about, I’d be up straight away posing and fighting for the attention of the lense. I even remember being told by my dad, “Don’t you dare cut the wire off the Xbox live headset to pretend you’re Britney Spears dancing about!”. He knew me too well because I was very tempted to do just that! My dream was to be a member of S Club Juniors and in my head, that was going to happen. My dreams saw no bounds. I was going to be the next superstar and that was my reality.
However, that all crashed and burned when I entered High School. I soon realised that stepping out and trying something different was looked down upon and laughed at and I was way too sensitive to cope with that kind of rejection. Any crumb of confidence I had rapidly started to disintegrate and I quickly became a wallflower. I wanted to be invisible and blend in with my surroundings because it was easier that way. I felt like I was losing my identity. I didn’t feel like myself at all anymore.
I think I have more or less lost the love I had for acting but my love of music never ceased to fade. I have grown up in such a musical family, I couldn’t get away from it if I tried. Even though I never was in the most popular group in school, I benefited from that. I learnt that I had to build more of an identity other than just having a label of ‘popular’ to get me by. In those times of loneliness or uncertainty, I sought refuge in discovering new music and singing. I learnt how much I love blues and jazz music and how much I relished in the improvement of my voice when I would be determined to sing a challenging song. I would sit and watch the same Norah Jones concert every week just to be able to immerse myself into her soft sultry voice and admire her effortless piano playing. The feeling that engulfs my body when I first hear a song I love is indescribable. I always have a weird vision of me singing the song and visualise how it would feel to actually sing those notes and that melody. It lifts me from my actual surroundings and puts me into a place of pure contentment and happiness.
I also discovered I absolutely love writing! That is why this blog is such a great outlet for me to put down in words how I feel and what is actually going on in my brain. It is an ingenious way of releasing any pent-up emotions I have. Through this, I have also found a love of poetry. Poetry has a way to explain your emotions before you even realise you feel them. I love getting into the nitty gritty analysing part of it to truly understand what the author is trying to reveal. It can be a real comfort knowing that someone else feels the same as you and can find a way to beautifully word it too. I find it so fascinating and it really gets my creative juices flowing.
Even my love for veganism derived from spending time developing my identity and understanding who I am and who I want to be. I have such a passion to help people, animals and the environment and becoming vegan such seemed like the logical next step.
Don’t get me wrong, I am still trying to figure out myself. Just like everybody else, I am developing with each day. I think the point I am getting at is that even though I went through a tough time growing up, a lot of positive things came out of it. I had such low confidence and self-esteem it was unreal but now that I understand myself more, I feel more self-assured and confident in who I am. I have also learnt that being unapologetically yourself will attract the people you want to attract as they truly like you for you. You can gain genuine and deep connections with those types of people.
Dress how you want to dress. Like what you want to like. Just do what you want to do and I promise it will all fall into place, even if it takes time.