This is a question I've asked myself alot lately.
In fact, it's one I've asked myself my WHOLE life.
When I was a kid, like, a little kid, all I ever wanted was for people to like me. I would go out of my way to be liked. It seemed, at least to me anyway, that I had to try so much harder than anyone else to make friends. I think realistically, it's a trait that I've not ever grown out of. I STILL really want people to like me!!
What I remember of primary school, is mainly my relationships with my teachers. I had friends here and there, but not anyone that stuck around year to year. I started dance classes when I was about 7 or 8, and same thing, I remember my teachers, my costumes, the songs I performed at the concert and even some of the choreography, but not really having any friends in the class...in fact I don't remember anyone from my class. I remember girls from other classes that I went to school with, but no one from my dance class.
I'm sure it was evident to my mum from much earlier, but as far as remembering the first time I realised it, I think it was definately Primary school that I knew I loved performing. The thrill of being onstage, the applause, perhaps the feeling of being liked is what attracted me, but from as early as the nativity play at kindy, I can remember thinking this performing thing is for me!!
In primary school, I LOVED music class!! I had many different teachers over the years, and I remember ALL of them. One teacher, Miss Mitchell, would teach us songs from the 50's and 60's, and I can remember loosing my mind with excitement every week when it was time for her class.......I would totally zone out everyone else in the room and sing those songs at the top of my 8 year old lungs!! To this day I still remember all the words to Teen Angel, He's a Rebel, and Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow because of that class.
There werent a huge amount of opportunities to perform at my primary school, but I took every one I got! School Choir, Christmas concerts, school assembly's, there was even a talent quest held in the gymnasium at lunchtime once where students were encouraged to develop acts to enter. Kids grouped together and performed dance routines, re-enacted television commercials, even impersonated teachers an staged classroom scenes. I so desperately wanted to enter, but being that I didn't really have any friends, and wasn't invited into the other kids acts, I decided to do one on my own. I was a big fan of the Comedy Company and I re-enacted a skit from their weekly TV show. It was a massive flop I'm sure, but I do remember loving getting on stage in front of everyone.
High School was much the same. I did make friends with a girl in year 7 that I continued a friendship with right through to aduldhood. She was very popular, I was not, but our opposites attracted and we were wonderful friends. As we got older, we spent less and less time together at school as she became more and more popular, and I became more and more interested in Drama and performing, so at school I would hang out with the Drama crowd, and she would hang out with the popular crowd, then on weekends we would be joined at the hip.
In High School, I again pounced on every opportunity I got to perform. I auditiond for the School Production every single year I was there, I was an active, enthusiastic member of my Drama class, I sang in choirs, at schoool assembly's, even spending my lunchtimes putting together other performance opportunities with other like minded students.
I still didn't really have an idea of where I fit in in the world, as Drama was such a tiny small part of the school I went to. It was never pushed as an option in life more of a hobby, so as much as I adored it, I still felt like there was something else I was supposed to be doing.
When I was 11 or 12, my mum saw an ad in the local paper for auditions for a production with the local theatre group. I had no idea such a thing existed, but was of course more than keen to give it a try!! I auditioned, got cast and that was the beginning of my long time love affair with community theatre.
I did shows regularly throughout my school years, and for the first time in my existence I felt as though I BELONGED. Here were a group of misfit kids, all incredibly talented, that were likely all the loners at school. We would come together on weekends to rehearse, and I think I can speak for all of us when I say, that from after school Friday through to after rehearsals on Sunday afternoon, we all felt invinceable!! I HAD FRIENDS!!!!!!! ACTUAL FRIENDS!!!!!!! People LIKED me!!!! I had never felt more normal in my whole life.
This community meant everything tome, STILL means everything to me.
I started school quite young, so by the time I was finished I was only 16. I had NO IDEA of what I wanted to do in life other than get married and have babies. And at 16 this was a LONG way off, so had to find something to do in the meantime.
I threw myself into theatre.
I auditioned for EVERYTHING!!! I'd start rehearsing for shows before I'd finished performing for others. In my mind, there was absolutely nothing else that I wanted to do. The friendships that I'd made through theatre grew stronger as we all grew up together, and if I could have lived in that crazy colourful little imaginary world forever, I absolutely would have.
Reality however, is a bitch, and I needed to start making an income to support myself. Mine was not a situation where I could kick back and leave it to my parents. So at 17 I started working full time and by 20 had stumbled into a Hairdressing apprenticeship.
Hairdressing = working late nights and weekends.
Community Theartre = rehearsing nights and weekends
Something had to give, and being that one paid my bills and the other didn't, theatre had to go.
As much as it broke my heart to step away from performing, I think I always knew deep down that it wouldn't be forever, and because I now had real friends, stopping doing shows didn't mean I would loose conact with them....or so I thought!
I worked HARD during the 4 years of my apprenticeship, and although I wasn't performing anymore, I still maintained some strong friendships with the old crew and would party with them whenever I could.
Even from the beginning of my carreer, I never saw myself being a Hairdresser forever, yet had no other inclination of what I wanted to do with my life other than be a wife and a mum.
I started auditioning for shows again, as I had now changed employers and was working for someone that encouraged me to perform, and fell straight back into the fantasy land of Community Theatre. I performed as regularly as I could with different companies, and made new and real friendships, each as unique and full of love as the last. There were romances too, mostly fleeting but one in particular I will never forget.
Mine is a career however, that prevents me from doing one show after the next. The nature of Hairdressing is that performing at particular times of the year for me is impossible, and I could only audition for shows sporadically.
I needed more.
The thrill of performing had really and truly taken a hold on my soul, and treadding the boards once every couple of years just wasn't cutting it for me. I needed to do something else.
One of my closest friends and greatest role models in life, encouraged, fed and nurtured my love for rock music. By the time I was 23 I was ready to try my hand at being a Rockstar.
I sang in cover bands for most of my 20's and even into my 30's and loved absolutely every single second of it. Of course there was heartache involved. Bands would break up, or no longer want me to front them, people would devlop stronger feelings than necessary for one another, but I always managed to find my feet. Just as the door for one band would close, another would open up.
One band in particular, I sang with for a number of years. I made and maintained real, true, loving friendships with my bandmates. They had my back, and I had theirs. We were the very best of friends. My time onstage with that band is some of the greatest time in my life and I will be forever grateful for it. Although our popularity was limited to one venue, within the confines of that venue I felt like a GOD. A Rockstar in every sense of the word. The person I became when I stepped onstage with that band, was the absolute BEST version of me I had ever seen!! I had confidence, I had pride, I had a room full of people screaming my name. I had purpose, I BELONGED!!!
Being so content in my rockstar world opened up other doors that had seemed to this point to be slammed shut. I met and married my Husband, and all of my bandmates were in attendance. I continued to play with them, untill I got that feeling again...I wanted more.
I wanted children, a family of my own. For as long as I could remember I had always known I wanted to be a mother, and after a while of trying, I was convinced that it was my rockstar lifestyle that was standing in the way of my biggest dream coming true. I left the band, the band I adored, but being that our bond was so strong we remained friends for a long time after that.
For a long time I threw myself in to trying to start a family. It consumed my entire world. It got to a point where I didn't even know who I was anymore. I realised that I was no good as a mother if I was no good to myself, I needed an outlet....I needed more.
I had never in my life ever considered the possibility of moddeling. Always being a bigger girl than most, I would hear things like "You could be a supermodel if you lost weight" or "you have such a pretty face for a big girl" There was just never visible role models for the plus size community like there are now. Moddeling for me was like hairdressing.....I stumbled into it, but I'm so glad I did! It has given me a confidence I never thought possible, a true love for my body and what it prvides me. Moddeling has strengthened my mind, my outlook on life and on the whole, made me a better person than I was without it, because not only has it changed my mind and perceptions on body image, it has helped me to change others minds and perceptions as well. Moddeling has helped me to have a voice in a world that wants to keep us quiet.
My moddeling experience started in Pinup. When I discovered a community of women that had the same love and admiration for fashions of the 40's and 50's I felt like I had finally found my home!!! I felt like I belonged!! I threw myself into every aspect of the community from pageants to festivals and I loved it. I loved the voice that Pinup gave me, the message that I could send, but again, I wanted more.
I think the biggest hurdle I have with myself is that I hate to feel boxed in. I'm not only a Pinup. I'm not only a Rockstar. One day when I finally have children, I will not only be a mother.
I am all of those things.
All of them and more, and no doubt I will add a few more to the lst once my time is through! Already in the last 12 months I can add Blogger, and this year hopefully vlogger to the list.
I guess the answer to the question I've always asked myself, Where in the WORLD do I fit in?????? Is lots of places!! I am ALL of those things and so much more!! I am most comfortable when I am least contained, and yes, I can love each facet of who I am equally without neglecting another. The more I embrece the many different parts of me, the better I am as a whole and right now that is enough.
I AM ENOUGH... And so are you xx
Flashback to the 3rd November, 2001. I was 19. This song was another one I tried writing away from my natural style. I'm quite mathematical even though I never particularly liked maths. I like things to be even, and symmetrical, so the most natural form of writing for me is measured rhyming. It's balanced, it's even, and it all wraps up neatly. For this song I was experimenting with intentionally making things NOT rhyme, it was a challenge for me, as even reading back over it now, it doesn't sit as well with me as something that follows a clever rhyme. It's not symmetrical and is uneven, something that aggravates my balanced way of thinking.
I wrote this song after a particularly lovely experience. To the other people involved, it probably wasn't even a blip on their radar, and they certainly wouldn't remember it now, but to me it was one of those times in life where you realise that you deserve better.