I used to read a helluva lot of biographies back in high school. Book after book recounting the extraordinary lives of rock stars, actors, comedians and such. The stories were captivating and almost a blueprint of how I wanted to shape my own life. It seemed simple, you have a dream, and you go out and get it. Of course there’s a great deal of hard work involved. A lot of people you need to get out and meet. A lot of shit you have to put up with before the good stuff happens. But it seemed doable.
So I started taking steps towards living the life I always dreamed of. A creative life, that made use of my unique talents and helped share them with the world. First I quit a job that made me miserable. Next (with a little help from my friends) I fell into the right crowd and formed a band. Started singing at clubs and pubs. Soon we were playing functions and weddings. The money was good. And the job was fun. I loved the feeling of being up on stage, of helping people celebrate their birthday’s and graduations and weddings, and mostly being able to be my own boss and make money on my own terms. We starting writing our own songs. Recording them. Last year we released our first originals EP. It seemed like everything was falling into place.
Although of course, it wasn’t.
After months and months of struggling with vocal issues. Treating myself for pyschological disorders. Coming home after gigs crying because I couldn’t understand how my voice was degenerating in such a way…. “I’M DOING THIS FOR A LIVING NOW. I’M SINGING MORE THAN EVER. I’M GOOD. I’M SUCCESSFUL. I’M LIVING MY CREATIVE LIFE Wait? HOW CAN I BE GETTING WORSE!??!”
After a few inconclusive tests and vocal therapy sessions, all signs (kinda) pointed to vocal paresis. A condition that partially disables one or more of the nerves to your vocal cords, rendering it exceptionally difficult to support your voice and control breathing, pitch and tone (basically the main requirements to be a professional singer.) There was no fix either. Maybe some expensive therapy. But then who can afford that when you realise that you don’t have a job anymore?
It was excruciating. In an instant it felt like my whole future went up in flames. Everything I had been working for for years. Gone.
“If you can dream it, do it.” “Dream big.” “The biggest adventure you can take is to live your dreams.” “Never let go of your dreams.”
Well what fucking happens if your dreams let go of you? No one writes biographies of those people. The unlucky ones. The partial-achievers. Lets be real – the failures. But they’re out there, I know, because I’m one of them.
So what’s next? Start again, I guess. Right from the beginning.
Take a blank page, and make a mark, however small.
Who knows, sooner or later, things might bloom.