If following my dream has taught me anything, it’s that you can’t Google Maps it to your dream. And dream following can feel like swimming upstream – your absolute best doggy paddle doesn’t get you anywhere. After trying to manoeuvre my way into the music industry for almost 9 years now, I still can’t navigate my way there and my doggy paddle, and even water treading (which I’m strangely good at by the way. Just ask my Dad), is struggling to keep me afloat.
I was a little late to the party. Some people realise their dream when they’re basically a foetus – I realised my dream in my teens. I had years of songwriting and guitar skills to catch up on. Everyone else had a head start, but I knew if I worked hard and dedicated myself to it, I could do it. And I did. I got myself into a music academy, and I was sure I was on my way. Flashing lights, sold out arena tours and number 1 songs had to be just around the corner. But just a few months in and “you are a bad songwriter” and “I can’t do anything to help your voice” later, I felt defeated. So I struggled my way through the year, hearing only negative feedback about my skills as a singer, songwriter and performer, and settled for getting just a Diploma in Music Performance. It wasn’t exactly the Bachelors Degree I had my eye on.
I didn’t touch a guitar for a year. I didn’t sing one note. Depression set in – couped up in my room for days, thinking life would never be good again. I couldn’t understand why I had this “dream” if it was just going to hurt me and I was never going to reach it. I can’t quite explain it, but suddenly one day, after months of seriously dramatic and over the top crying sessions, I just snapped out of it. I refused to not at least try to reach my dream. So I brushed myself off and started self-producing my first EP in my bedroom. I had no idea how to produce, but improvisation and trial and error were my best friends. The quality was – I can admit – atrocious. But I was trying to move forward, and that was something.
Now years later, still on the most emotional of rollercoasters with more ups and downs than I can count, all I have to my name are failed EP and single launches, unwatched music videos, unsold show tickets and a sad looking bank account. But I’m still hopeful the right door will appear. I’ve tried moving to the “right” country, making a video go viral, selling my songs to other artists, advertising myself. I’ve tried everything under the sun. So it’s safe to say I really do wish Google Maps could just direct me straight there. And Siri isn’t helpful either. She just tells me where I can find the Irish band ‘D:Ream’. Though none of the doors I’ve tried have opened automatically (like they all say they will when one closes), I bash them down anyway just incase. They’ve all instantly slammed in my face and I might run out of doors soon, but I’ll build some more and won’t stop until each door has been tried and tested – kinda like Sully trying to find Boo’s door in Monster’s Inc. OK, that’s enough of the door metaphor.
It would take me a bazillion blogs to tell you every single thing I have tried in my attempt to break into the industry. And a bazillion more to tell you every time I’ve “given up” my dream. But I just can’t let it go! I’m just not like Elsa in Frozen! I worry all the time that I’m trying to get into the wrong room (annnnnd we’re back at the door metaphor). Like, maybe my dream isn’t actually my destiny and I need to try a completely different room. And I still have moments when I ask “why do I even have this dream?” and beg it to go away. But it just feels right. It’s ended up at “so wrong, it’s right”. Luckily I’ve now found a door that at least makes me happy while I test it out. Making YouTube videos and now blogging, has lifted my spirits and made me excited to wake up and work everyday. I just hope it doesn’t shut.
I don’t think it should be called “following your dream” – I think it should be “finding your dream”. I know I ‘found’ what my dream is a long time ago, but it’s hiding and I can’t see the path to it. It definitely didn’t say “follow me this way, Chelsea” in a posh voice and lead me straight to a record deal. It totally should be illuminated like the path to the exits on an aeroplane. Maybe it’s playing the meanest game of hide and seek ever. Nevertheless, I’m still seeking. And I will keep seeking, like Harry Potter in a game of Quidditch.
What do you think? Are you still finding your dream? Have you also tried a million doors?
Thanks for reading! ❤ Chels