This Might Sound Like A Sap Story, But I Promise You... It's Not!
This is my story of overcoming adversity! This is my coming of age story! This is how I overcame my social anxiety through singing performance. It's who I became; an entrepreneur who escaped the rat race all while continually working my way toward Broadway. It's why I'm so adamant about being an objective, passionate, and open-minded singer, teacher, and human being.
This story is why I so strongly believe that every single human being is capable of achieving anything they dream of; regardless of the odds and the cultural narrative. We all have our own unique individual truths and paths; it takes good mentors to remind us of this.
When I began my first ever singing lessons.. I would sweat profusely! I'm not proud of it! I'm a naturally introverted, shy person. If you're someone who likes the MBTI personality theory, I'm an INFJ. Socializing never came easy to me.. every singing lesson was incredibly stressful.
I always got in trouble in school. I would constantly question my teachers and disrupt the classroom. I never felt like I was someone who could ever belong. I got consistently poor marks from middle school throughout high school, constantly questioning if I would ever make it out alive.
Despite reading the entirety of Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time" in middle school, I failed science. Despite running my own internet forum where I would role play and write elaborate short stories as a Sonic The Hedgehog character. Despite listening to complex political podcasts as I played DOTA, I failed history (I even designed a few of my own DOTA custom maps!)
Music was always a huge part of my life. I began playing the piano as a child. My parents say I was independently driven to ride my bike to my lessons! Luckily, a kind elderly neighbor gave me free lessons as my family didn't have much money.
As I entered 4th grade I decided to play trumpet in the school band! I quickly surpassed my classmates in my abilities on the instrument; even writing a few short compositions which my wonderful elementary band played.
One of my best memories was being told by my band teacher how I had an amazing tone in front of the entire band class. He was my first mentor and he kept me inspired to practice every day.
Unfortunately, I was bullied heavily throughout elementary school. I became getting discouraged from music.. it was the only thing I was good at. But, as it was a large class, bullies were able to harass me more than other classes. Maybe they were jealous of my talent.
As I entered middle school I grew more discouraged. The bullying got worse. I began to hate band class. I began playing guitar and taking lessons at a local guitar store; but the teacher never believed in me and wouldn't let me learn what I enjoyed.
On my own I was playing incredibly advanced music despite being so new to the instrument. However, as my grades got worse my confidence began to plummet. My social anxiety was at an all time high and I was falling into what I now know to be depression.
Around this time my parents divorced. I stopped practicing music for a while. I began playing World of Warcraft obsessively, perhaps as an escape. Perhaps because my closest friends became the people I met online.
In 8th grade I was given THE jazz band award. I ripped it up in front of the entire class and never went to the award ceremony.
Stay Tuned for Part 2...!