“Trust the still, small voice that says, ‘this might work and I’ll try it.'” – Diane Mariechild
I have always wanted to be a singer since I was a little girl. I remember the first talent show I signed up for in the first grade where I danced the hula and became completely addicted to the limelight. At the age of six, I innately knew that on the stage was where I wanted to be. I'd find talent shows in the newspaper, on flyers at school and would sign-up for them with zero hesitation. As the years progressed I entered multiple talent shows a year where I'd sing and awkwardly learn how to perform while getting completely smoked by the well trained and often professionally coached competition. I remember in high school there were these dancing mimes that did all the talent shows around town, and it was a given that they would be getting first place because of their amazing aerial gymnastic talents. I still didn't care because all that mattered to me was getting up on stage and doing a little better than the last time.
My parents never once pushed me to perform, and to this very day they still scratch their heads as to where my inner drive came from. Sometimes I think back on my adolescence and wonder the same thing. Where did I ever get the courage to jump into these very scary public situations where I knew I'd fall flat on my face? There was no way I was ever going to beat those dancing mimes, but I think at the end of the day, I was so passionate about singing that it didn't matter if I ended up with mud in my face, I was happy playing in the dirt 24/7!
Fast forward to my very grown-up life now as an adult with a husband and three children, and life has led me back to playing in the dirt as a singer and songwriter. As with any worthwhile endeavor, the journey has not been easy, although my experiences doing countless talent shows growing up has given me some of the thick skin needed when I fall flat into a mud puddle. Now instead of singing cover songs, I write my own music and release my heart out into the digital world. It is the most painful and rewarding creative endeavor, and one that continually stretches me in ways I never imagined.
Following your true creative path can feel like falling in love and getting your heart broken, ripped up and stomped on again and again. It's easy to be afraid and either settle for something not as magical, or to give up on love all together in order to avoid the inevitable pain that comes with growth. But your job as an artist is to be brave, and open your heart to every possibility. I always tell myself that to be a real artist is to create daily, no matter what the world says or what accolades you are given, because it's your gift that needs to be shared just as much as you need air to breathe.
Whenever I get scared of turning the next blind corner of creativity, I channel that crazy badass six year old who was never afraid to fail, mostly because she didn't know any better. She didn't understand what it meant to have her heart broken by disappointment, so every conceivable "failure" never felt like falling, it felt like flying. Man, I sure had some major wisdom going on as a little kid.