For some people, finding their life’s passion is as easy as breathing. There’s just something they’re so good at that there’s no question about them doing anything but that thing. They were clearly born to do that specific thing, whatever it is.
And then for a wide range of people, it’s not as simple but with some hard work and deep soul searching, they eventually get there. Some may find it early in life, and others later in life.
And then there’s the rest of the people out there who tend to feel lost throughout their lives. They either continue to struggle to find their niche, or perhaps just don’t have one. As far as they can tell that is.
I’ve always felt I fit that last group.
Growing up, I was labelled the ‘smart’ kid early on as I tended to get good grades and rarely got in trouble. I’ve always been good with numbers and alright at a couple of other subjects, but it was more like a ‘jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none’ sort of situation.
But yet, there still didn’t seem to be anything that truly made me special or stand out from the rest of my classmates. And as I got older, my ‘good grades’ became average as others started to find their footing and I seemingly stagnated.
One thing I’d always had an interest in was the arts, specifically music and theatre. We all dreamed of being famous as kids, right? I was no different.
As we needed an ‘Arts’ credit at our school, my parents begrudgingly let me take a music class. I really enjoyed it and got a decent enough grade, so I ended up finding a way to take music class each year and joined the school’s concert band. My parents weren’t thrilled by this, and wouldn’t even let me practice in the house when they were home.
I’d also fancied a turn on the stage, despite my total shyness, so I got involved in the yearly school plays. My parents wouldn’t let me take the offered drama class, claiming it was a frivolous class. But somehow I did end up snagging myself a small role in three out of the four productions I’d auditioned for.
Once again, just like the music, this was just something I was ‘ok’ at but I at least enjoyed it.
As we were getting ready for a production of ‘Count Dracula’ one year, there was a conversation I had with the play’s director (the drama teacher) that has always stuck with me. I was playing one of the asylum attendants who got to carry Renfrew’s bloodied corpse off stage for all to see. Not a big part, but I at least got a few lines.
I think we were chatting about how much I enjoyed being part of the plays each year, and he said something to the affect of ‘You’ll be lucky to just be a bit, supporting player. I don’t ever see you being a lead in a show,’ referencing any possibly future I might have in theatre.
For an insecure, overweight teen who was struggling to find himself, that hurt. This was someone I looked up to and, as my teacher, he probably should have been more encouraging or at least a bit more tactful. Even if being an actor was more of a pipe dream than anything.
The main reason that comment stuck with me was due to how it made me feel, and it subconsciously became an influencer over other aspects of my life.
It basically was a blow to an already fragile self-confidence. For a kid who didn’t feel like they fit in, never felt good enough, or masculine enough (hadn’t even started coming out at this point…), this was yet another person seemingly telling him they’d never be anything more than mediocre at best.
Yeah… ok. So even as a teen I would over-think things. Sue me. LOL
Now, almost 30 years later, I still sometimes feel like that insecure, introverted, uncertain chubby kid who doesn’t feel like they fit in. And I’m still trying to find my niche in the world, something that gets me excited to get out of bed every day.
Something that’s going to light a fire in my belly and let me show my passion to the world.
Maybe one of these days…