How long have you felt like you were destined for more in your life?
For me, I’ve known since I was 4 years old and I remember it vividly! I didn’t know how or what it was I was destined to do at that point, I just got in every fiber of my being that I was meant to do big things in the world.
I spent my childhood as an overachiever. I realize now that most of that was to get my father's attention. He would show off in front of his friends and tell them how amazing he thought I was or how smart I was and he'd brag about all he had done or given me. It stopped there. He would tell anyone who would listen about what an amazing father he was, but no one knew the truth.
My father is was an alcoholic for most of my childhood and also a narcissist. If something didn't suit him, or if it wouldn't benefit him, he wouldn't do it. He missed most if not all of my parent/teacher interviews, usually missed my school events and competitions and upon graduating from university with Honours from a prestigious Theatre School Acting Program, his first response was,
"You grandfather sure would be proud if you would go back to the University of Guelph and get a real degree."
I was heartbroken, but sadly, not surprised. It wasn't the first time he said things like that to me and the real laugh was that he didn't attend any post-secondary education! He failed to see that not only was it an incredible feat to have been accepted into the program I had just completed when over 600 people auditioned and they accepted only 34 of us. I had not only completed the program successfully but out of 26 in my class, only 18 of us officially graduated and I was one of two people to graduate with Honours!
It was times like those that all my confidence would plummet and I would have to work hard to build myself back up. I was thrown some doozy curveballs, but I got up every single time holding my head held high and moving forward towards achieving my dreams even if I wasn't completely sure what those dreams were or looked like.
I was resilient and open to possibilities. I once thought that a career in acting was surely in my future and in a lot of ways, that's exactly what I did, but not in the way most people would think. Although I shot the odd film or commercial, I did do a lot of theatre, but I found my calling in teaching as well. I became a voice coach and started helping professional performers who were suffering from vocal fatigue from doing 8 shows a week.
I was also bilingual speaking both English and French fluently. This ended up helping me immensely throughout my life. In fact, I ended up becoming a teacher because it pretty much landed in my lap. The school board where I was living was in desperate need of French teachers and after several grueling interviews and a proficiency test which included writing an essay in French, I started teaching French in schools and inevitably got sucked into taking part in the drama programs at the school. I was still doing theatre, but this time, I was coaching young people and shaping them into performers.
Then I got into a position where I was an elementary music teacher. I got paid to sit at a piano all day and sing with kids! I also directed a musical for each grade level every year! I was totally in my element! All the while, I was still doing vocal coaching and building up a very large roster of clients. I always had my foot in the industry, building a name for myself and for the students I was coaching who started to work professionally as well.
Then life took a wild turn and my world turned upside down. I suffered multiple traumas back to back which resulted in a diagnosis of C-PTSD. I was in the depths of the deepest, darkest hole I had ever experienced and I had no way out. I wanted the world to swallow me up and to disappear because I could no longer deal with the pain. I was in the depths of grief that I would never wish on anyone, trying to claw my way out of the darkness. The problem was that every step forward would result in giant leaps backward when another trauma hit.
The straw that broke the camel's back was the abuse from my boss. I was on a school trip with my choir. There had been an incident, but it had been handled both efficiently and quickly and I had shared all the steps with the principal. She then went on to share it with the Director of the school. The Director then called me, but not directly. She called a colleague to relay the message to have me call her. I didn't understand why she couldn't have just called me herself. What I wasn't expecting was the greeting I got when she answered the phone. It was nowhere near a favorable greeting of hello. Instead, I was met with yelling, expletives, and a rant that was beyond anything I had ever heard from any boss. My colleagues were standing nearby and overheard the call. Not so much what she was saying, but they could hear her yelling at me. Their eyes grew wide as she went on and on about my ineptitude and my inabilities and how unsuccessful I was at doing my job properly.
I had a breakdown and I wasn't the first teacher this had happened to when dealing with her. I completely shut down and retreated into a shell that took me years to break open. I battled with suicidal ideation and triggers, severe anxiety just to name a few.
I had a friend who helped me spin the situation and I think was a turning point for me. She told me that sometimes when we ignore the signs, (and in my case, it was me thinking of breaking out on my own and doing my studio full-time) the universe hits us over the head with a 2x4 to get the message across. She was right. I realized then that everything happens for a reason and although I felt like I had lost everything, I would not allow anyone to take hope away from me too.
It has taken time, and there have been many hardships and hurdles. It was also a TON of work, but I have arrived at a place of contentment, a place of peace, and a place of love.
As I reflect, I recognize that it all happened for a reason that brought me to this moment! This is my moment to shine!
Who else feels the same?