Thursday, July 11, 2013
What made me decide to follow my dream?
About two weeks ago I got an email from a guy on Linkedin. He had read my story and found it fascinating. He asked me if I would answer some questions he had for me and I have decided to answer them here on this blog as I believe in sharing.
So here is what Mr X wrote a few weeks back:
“Following your dream of music...
I'm guessing that during the years of working a regular day job you life was also being enriched by music in someway. And then you decided to pursue music full-time. What I'm wondering is the thought process you went through to decide you would jump into music full-time? Were you happy/unhappy in your day job? Did you feel that ultimately being involved with music on a daily basis was something that would ultimately make you happier or fulfill a need that wasn't being met before the change?
Pretty deep questions I know...but your story is so awesome! Hard not to ask these things!”
So to Mr X and to all of you here are my answers:
I will have to give you a more detailed background of my life for you to understand how my patterns and thinking process have been and why it took me so long to pursue my music dream ( I am 32 years old ).
I was born in England and until I was 4-5 years-old I was a very hyper and outgoing child full of mischief and joy. Quite a handful as my mum recalls. When I was 4 years-old we moved to Denmark and I recall not being understood by the other children I was playing with as I only spoke English. I believe this was a turning point for me. I went from being happy and free to feeling “outside” of the group in a way and not being able to express myself freely. This was a big step in me becoming more introvert.
My life was indeed enriched by music from a very early age. My mum always played music in our home and we would dance a lot and sing along to it. When I was 5 my sister of 3 displayed huge talent for acting and singing and as she had a more “free” spirit than me she openly displayed her huge talent and she got a lot of attention and I let myself fall in the background – or that is how I felt it. As we got older I joined singing lessons and found out that I had a talent and could sing, but I was just too scared to sing for anyone, cause what if they would say my sister was better than me. Then this would kill my dream of being a singer too. A dream I never told to anyone, but kept to myself. So, as the years passed and I had to find out what to study I got more and more frustrated as nothing really appealed to me. I could not understand why I did not know what I wanted to do. Now, as an adult I can see why. The only thing I wanted was to sing and express myself creatively and since I had blocked that thought and only kept it as a dream, no wonder I did not feel happy at business school etc.
So, what happened then? I excelled in school as that was one thing I felt good at. Here I got praise from my parents for my good grades. I continued along this path and I enrolled in business school and thought to myself I could work on my music alongside that and that it was good to have a safe education to fall back on. Fall back on when? When my music would not work out? You see, already then I was telling myself that I needed a safety net for when my music would not work out. Hurray! No wonder it never worked out before with that belief in my abilities.
It took me many years of International Business studies and opening my own Online Marketing Consultancy company before I realized what I was doing. I had gone down the business road to please my parents (who never asked me to do this!), to get their (and my friends and outer world’s) appraisal as I was taking a prestigious degree. What a fool I was. I was going through such emotional turmoil as I never felt really happy. I was not devoting time to what made my heart sing; music and being creative.
Alongside my studies and my business I was in various bands and released some clubmusic but none of it felt 100% real as I was also compromising my style of music just to make music and be able to sing. So, yes, music was always to some degree a part of my life. Also very much in the sense that it was a symbol of a dream I had with me every day alongside a feeling of being a failure for not daring to do it. For many years when I was younger I was jealous of my sister for her ability to go after her dream with complete focus and devotion, which was in fact what I longed to do. She was a symbol of what I wanted and was denying myself without being aware of it. It was difficult for me to feel true happiness for her when she had success with her music as I felt this big hole and desire to do the same and secretly wished it was me every time. Not being able to feel joy for her made me feel so guilty and a bad sister on top of it all (yet, I was not fully aware of this at the time).
Today, I am so sorry I felt this way and my sister knows all this as I apologized for not being there by her side as much as I wanted to a while back. I told her everything as it was. Saying this to her removed years of guilt and made me feel so genuinely proud and happy for her success. What a miracle! What a joy to be able to say this to your closest family and feel it strengthening the relationship and making communication even more open and loving.
So, for many years I was numbing myself by working around my big dream. I became self-employed in 2010 and thought this would be good. It was for a few months and then I felt it was like peeing in my pants; nice for a while and then it just made me feel uncomfortable. Why? Cause I was still not attending to my need for being creative (yet, at the time I did not know this was the reason). Only when I gave workshops and lectured and was standing on a stage talking about online marketing did I feel good. The stage and giving / sharing knowledge with people has become key in my life.
In 2012 I had had my business for 2 years and was feeling burn-out symptoms. I had a band and was playing gigs sometimes, but nothing no longer felt right. I had been composing my own music, but not doing so much with it. My relationship with my man who I loved so much was approaching 8 years and we were engaged. This too was making me unhappy for private reasons. I hit a low in March 2012 and I knew I had a choice: continue life as it was or leave it all to find me again. None of it would be easy.
I had numbed myself since I was a little kid fighting for acceptance and feeling a part of a group that I no longer knew what I wanted from life. I needed time alone to rebuild myself and rediscover me, so I left my boyfriend, our home, and after a few months I closed my business. I cried myself to sleep, woke up crying, went to therapy. I also wrote music as therapy and quickly found that my songs had changed. I felt so emotional as I wrote them. There was no longer a filter between me and them. I was writing for ME and not to write a hit. My songs were written with tears, with laughter, with huge feeling of love and sometimes intense pain. All of it was me. This is how I found my way back to the authentic me and after a while I realized that I trust I have what it takes to go ALL IN on my music now. Never have I felt this way before, but now I am ready. I have to take it to its birthing consequence and give it all I got.
It has been quite a ride for me since March 2012, but I would never go back to how I was before. My future is in many ways uncertain but my huge belief in following my gut-feeling in everything I do is my compass and best friend. I have found a love for life and respect for myself that enables me to accomplish things I had only dared to dream about before and never deemed doable. Naturally there are many more elements we need to add to my story that have affected me such as my parents divorce when I was 7 is one big factor, but I cant write about it all here.
Now I am playing my music live for audiences in Germany and Denmark and I feel so grateful and truly happy and content when I do this. I have a day job to make ends meet, but my focus and devotion is on my music and my employer knows this and supports it. I decided to raise my bar and not always settle for less, but to go after my biggest dreams. Finally, I found my way home to the real me.
I hope this was a good answer to the questions. Feel free to write more questions if you have some.
To celebrate music here is a link to a video of a song I just wrote about love and played live for the first time on the 6th of June in Copenhagen. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I enjoyed playing it!
All the best,
Posted by Nina Hall at 2:47 AM