When I was a kid, I desperately wanted to be famous.

My parents gave me a Star Search microphone stand for Christmas when I was seven (or eight?) and I would perform for their friends and our family during gatherings. I’d climb up onto our giant brick fireplace and stand in front of the wood burning stove and sing my little heart out. I would watch Kids Incorporated and sing along with Stacy (Fergie!) and Robin (Jennifer Love Hewitt!). 

In middle and high school, I got into theater and choir because I still wanted to be famous. I loved singing, especially in front of an audience. I yearned for the spotlight, enjoyed every second of being on stage, performing alongside my friends. I sang the national anthem at some home basketball games and lived for the applause at the end. Someone told me they heard me “kill it” on the local radio station that was covering the game and I rode that high for months. 

When I graduated, I intended to get my first year of college done then go on to Indiana University and major in voice performance. One week into my college career, I realized I didn’t have the desire to be a starving artist the rest of my life, so I better find something else! Fast forward a few years, after a couple of false starts and several doubles in the restaurant biz, I found myself back on campus getting an English degree, with a focus on writing and literacy. 

Shortly after I got back into the college routine, I had an experience that made me never want to be in the spotlight again.

This essay is published in full on my Substack.
Part 1 // Part 2 // Part 3