When I was in my early teens, I told my parents that I wanted to go to stage school. I had taken dance lessons through a local dance school since the age of 2, started singing lessons aged 10 and took part in local pantomimes and musicals put on by the local Amateur Dramatics groups. I *loved* performing.
When I started secondary school, I was picked on and bullied for my singing abilities. Thankfully, I had an awesome set of music teachers that were very supportive of my “talents” and encouraged me to enter into the school talent show and blues night every year, as well as singing with the school choir. In my second year, a handful of my bullies locked me in our form room during lunch break and wouldn’t let me out until I sang for them. They then ridiculed me for my efforts and I hated that they felt they could treat me that way. I’m not sure whether they just didn’t understand my passion for performing or if they were jealous.
These people did nothing to help my self-confidence. I was broken down day-in day-out; was spat at, punched and had my hair pulled, along with the usual name calling and degrading comments.
I found my safe haven in performing. I danced two nights a week, singing lessons on a saturday and rehearsals for shows two or three nights a week. I lost myself in portraying someone else on stage; a confident young woman. I’d cry at the end of show week because I didn’t want it to end. This carried on into my early twenties…
Going back to the conversation with my parents. I wanted to go to stage school. I wanted to perform for a living. I wanted to show the world my talent and spend my life enjoying my job.
But my mum said, “But you aren’t good enough.”
Those words resonate in my memory. The only person that understood my love for performing, who was overwhelmed with pride when I took to the stage, didn’t believe I could make it work. Didn’t believe I was good enough.
My self-confidence and self-esteem shattered.
She went on to explain that I was talented, that I had a good voice, could act and dance. But I wasn’t good enough to make it in the Performance industry. If I was male, I’d have had more of a chance. But the number of girls trying to make it into the world of Theatre is so high, the likelihood of me getting anything but a waitressing job and a shed load of rejection was low.
I understand now why she said what she did, but I struggle to forgive her choice of words. I don’t think she realised at the time that this would affect me, along with my daily school life, for ten years. Not only in my day to day life , but it would affect my future relationships and friendships.
Is there a way you can let your child down gently? Or do you let your child chase their wildest dreams, when you know they just don’t have that spark?