If you’ve noticed an absence of posts from me on my blog lately, it’s because I’ve been going through some personal stuff. It’s hard to take photos smiling or to write happy things when I feel anything but happy, which is why I’m so grateful to my dad for taking me to the Taylor Swift concert in Melbourne last night.
Not only was the concert incredible, it’s the first time I have felt that happy in at least a month. Dad picked up the tickets last minute after finding out I liked Taylor Swift, but wasn’t going. It might seem weird to some of you that a twenty something woman and her dad would head to a Swift concert together, but for me, this is totally usual.
You see, I’m a singer and performer. When I was younger I had two dreams, one was to be a singer just like Taylor, and the other was to be an author. While I spent most of my time preparing for both, the singing was the thing everyone knew about it. I sang from the moment I could talk. I love pretending to be Tina Turner or Suzi Quatro. My parents have always supported me in my dreams, and they started when I was aged 5, signing me up for vocal lessons at a local recording studio. I grew up admiring the posters for local bands, and always singing really, really loud.
The problem was, all this time, I was an introvert. While I could perform brilliantly for my parents at home when it didn’t matter if anyone was watching me, as soon as I would get on stage, I would fall to pieces. The pre-stage nerves I would feel were crippling. When I reached 15, my dad decided that the best way for me to get over these nerves, was to perform. I started my first solo guitar shows and all my parents’ friends came to watch me. I remember my first show I nearly got kicked out for being under age, and had to hurriedly tell the bouncer that I was the performer that night. My dad also drove me to covers band auditions. At first, bands loved me but then refused to let me join because of my age. Most bands weren’t in it for the music, you see, they wanted to drink and smoke pot and unwind after a show. Having me around was a level of professional they couldn’t commit to.
Eventually I got into my first band during my second last year of school and my mum and dad were so proud and excited. They would drive me all over the state to my gigs, and then drive home. I would leave school early to go and perform and be super tired the next day. I can only imagine what that was like for my father, who was a builder having early mornings and physical labour. A bit like his desire to take me to the show last night. His commitment to my dream always impressed me. My mum is also an introvert and not really into concerts, so my dad would often buy tickets for just the two of us so that I could feel what it was like to be at a show like that.
We would go and see The Rolling Stones, or Avril Lavigne, or whoever the act of the moment was that was passing through Melbourne. It was mostly just me and him and we would spend the late night car ride home discussing what parts of the show were best and how the performer did what they did. Eventually, I gave up on wanting to be a performer. I moved into a marketing career, started university and eventually all my life was taken up by study and work. I didn’t even write anymore. It happened slowly. I gradually gave up little pieces of what I loved until there was nothing left to give up. It was until recently I was reading a really good interview with Taylor Swift, and she was asked what she would be doing if she wasn’t performing that how much I let go really struck me. She said she would probably be working in marketing somewhere. I realised I was living Taylor Swifts plan B. That caused a lot of introspection.
A few weeks later I talked to my mum about it and said I wanted to get back into my music, if just into the songwriting. Mum was so pleased that she had trouble keeping in her excitement. I’d said it so casually. She was like ‘Yep. Good. About time.’ And then she sealed her lips together, breathed out sharply through her nose and looked away from me. Then after a bit she looked back and just nodded for about ten seconds. I went home that night and wrote a new song. It’s the first time I had written anything in about 2 years. I’m suspicious mum mentioned this conversation to dad, too.
So in these photos I’m not smiling much. It’s hard to smile with hard stuff going on. At least I hope to show you that life isn’t all smiles, but I know with time that things will feel better and I’ll start smiling again soon. Life is elegant and beautiful, in the good times and the bad.
Dress c/o Voodoo Vixen