My hubby once said something to me that at the time, completely gutted me.
“I think Jen,” he said, “that for you to actually make it, you have to first of all be completely okay with the idea of not making it*.”
I believe my reply – and I may be paraphrasing here – was: “WHAAAAAAAATTTTT?!”
*Note: whatever ‘making it’ even means, indeed, the topic of an entirely separate post.
But once the smoke had cleared and the entrails were cleaned off the floor, I realised that his saying that wasn’t at all a slight on his belief in me. Rather, it was a gentle nudge in the right direction.
I DID have to be okay with the idea of not making it. Or rather, I still DO! Really. Because:
a) If my entire sense of self-worth is measured purely by how my career is going, then I am inevitably gonna be in for a lot of pain. Maybe even when it’s going well.
b) In needing the success too much, I really do think that we as performers can unconsciously project that desperation/neediness onto the audience. This is not cool. Namely cos:
they can smell it.
it doesn’t smell good.
any way you look at it, neediness is not attractive, onstage or off.
I guess what this all adds up to is the revelation that I really need to be happy with my life as it is. Right now. If this is as good as it gets, that really needs to be okay. I’m not there yet, but I am TRYING!!!
Which brings me to my mother.
My cousin Alice, me and my Mum, 1983-ish
She was a singer. A wonderful singer. Drop dead freaking gorgeous.
She won a quite prestigious song-writing competition when she was just around my age, the prize of which was a recording session in Sydney. She did all this while raising kids single-handedly. How amazing then, that things were beginning to happen for her career wise! It all looked up! Sydney!
She never made it.
At 33 years of age, my Mum suddenly died of an aneurysm.
She never “made it.”
Was she okay with that?
I have no idea, obviously. But I do suspect that had she known things would turn out that way, sure there’d be sadness attached to not seeing her wildest creative imaginings flourish.
I’m sure that drowning that out, however, would be the grief of not seeing her other wildest creative imaginings flourish – us, her kids.
So even now, some 26 years after her death, she inspires me. To go get em for sure, but to remember the little peeps are really what it’s all about. The rest is icing.
The irony of all this is my sneaking suspicion that it’ll only be once I’ve completely let go of the unhealthy attachment to my wildest dreams, that it will actually be a key ingredient to making me a better performer and thus bring me closer to them anyway. Here’s a-hopin!