From an early age, I knew I was different from the other kids.
I had a wild imagination like no other. I would have strange dreams and invent games to share with others. I was a creative/arts type from my very early beginnings. Singing alone in the back of the school bus to my driver, drawing, creating stories, and anything that involved tapping into my creative mind was my biggest past time.
I also knew I was different because I was the only one who viewed the future and careers in a different way. While everyone wanted to become a teacher, firefighter, and doctor, I wanted to be a jump rope teacher (listed in my grade 2 yearbook! ha!), swim teacher, or pop star. I had always wanted a job that would amuse me and that I would get to enjoy.
Although none of my career aspirations as a kid ever had to do with generating much income, it always had to do with a passion of mine. Therefore, I would like to think that I was wise enough to know that forty or so years of working had to involve something I would enjoy for the ages.
With many creative minds, it’s always a form of escape. As early as the age of 10, I was dealing with a lot more than I should’ve. Being bullied and excluded for being the ugliest (round glasses, long arm hairs, and black hair). I also never got along with my brother because we were complete and utter opposites. My mother would work 12 hour days on her feet to support us and only to come home to an alcoholic father. Only a few people know of this. I’ve resisted every urge before now to publish this personal hell-ish memory of mine but it pays a lot into who I’ve become and who I was.
As far as I can recall, I had to adapt into pleasing others in order to avoid conflict and scrutiny. I’m still like this to this day and it’s a shame since a lot of the time I would relish for the chance to stand up for myself. But when you grow up in a house that doesn’t feel like a home (that sounded better than using words like “emotionally abusive”), you learn to occupy your time in anywhere that can make you feel safe. I would have a body pillow in my closet and listen to my walkman after school. Music had become a way of expressing what I was going through and to avoid hearing yells.
Yet with diseases, it takes time to overcome them. It wasn’t until I was halfway through my teens where my dad had finally beat the demons inside him. He’s a completely changed man and I couldn’t be prouder of him. He’s definitely made up for his actions in the past but unfortunately, they had irreparable damage. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety officially when I was in grade 10 but I knew I was suffering from it for many years prior. With depression, it has a tendency of taking away any of your hobbies and passions. You lose interest in what you enjoy doing and you have no more energy to do anything. The only thing that kept with me was to listen to music despite giving up on piano in grade 9 because what was the point? I was never going to get anywhere with it! I was only mediocre in piano or singing in choirs, solos, or musicals. I was always a few levels below my peers and it felt awful.
Never having any interest in sciences or math, I knew I could either go two routes after high school. Either become a french teacher or pursue something, anything in music. After being warned that there were no teacher positions in the foreseeable future for most teachers in Canada, I decided to pursue music. I won’t go into my entire university/college experience but fast-forward to now. Although, I was assumed to be one of the promising graduates in my program, I have only had a few gigs in the music industry but nothing permanent as of yet. I had one job where I was doing 20% music and show-related duties, and the rest lied in promoting bars. I did my very best but ultimately it didn’t pan out. It only made me realize that I needed to do something full-time in music. I remain optimistic and know things will resolve themselves shortly in this department.
Yet I’m in this creative funk at the moment. I’m relieved I’ve surpaced this faze where I lost all ambitions and desires to take up a hobby but I don’t know where to start! While I spend most of my time taking gigs here and there, job searching, applying, and all that shenanigans, I’m yearning for a creative atmosphere. I see my roommate excelling in her photography while I’ve never actually excelled in anything… yet. I would like to think that everyone has at least one skill they are good at. I’m 24 and have no idea what mine is. I’ve been debating taking up painting, floral arrangements, and photography but workshops are so darn expensive! Can creating playlists on Spotify be a talent? Nothing seems to stand out right now and I’m in a panic. Don’t people know where their talents lie by this age?
If anyone has ever felt this way please reach out and tell your story. This is something I would like to overcome and not have to deal with this feeling after retirement.