So I’ve been wanting to write a follow-up to the post, Musical Dreams, that I wrote a few weeks ago almost the I finished. I made some basic points that I strongly believe. Primary is that we create our own definition of success, don’t have to bend to the one offered by society. This particularly applies to Brandon, who has the potential and talent to create her own success and successes.
You are asking “Why does he want to write a follow up?” And the answer is my niece Ilinca, who turned 15 today. Ilinca is pretty, with wondrous red hair and a captivating, freckled face. She is outgoing and friendly, although often too outspoken about things for which prudence dictates silence. She plays violin very well, sings well, is in choir and glee club.
You might still be saying “Huh?!” Ilinca is also one of the most frustrating girls I know. She has all these talents and is at the right age to make the most of them. I have offered to build bands around her. They would take her in the directions that she wants to go, or has said that she wants to go. Using the talents that she has, she could be the heart of a very good band, get off to a great start. By the time she graduated from high school she could have enough money saved to help her in college. Or she could be pursuing a career as a musician. For her the gold ring is available.
All of that is subscribing to the socially accepted definition of success. Faith Hill’s was discovered as a backup singer. The discoverer called an agent, “I have your next star if she can sing.” Ah, it is the looks that must be there first. Or it must be something that makes you stand out. On that you can build a career. If you have a certain number of skills and/or looks that make you stand out, if you have the support of good musicians then you can have commercial success. But Brandon has correctly noted, that blossom is there only for a while. It is probably most easily exploited between the ages of 13 and 16. Past that, the bloom fades rapidly.
So Ilinca could have all that; it’s there for her grabbing. She says she wants it. And were she Brandon at the same age, she would be leaping at the chance. Instead, Ilinca chooses to ignore her talents, ignore possibilities that are so available to her. Because she looks older than her 15 years, her window is nearly passed. She ignores all her gifts, those things that separate her from others. She pursues the normality of so, so, so many girls; be in choir, a musical, orchestra. These things do not make you stand out.
What am I struggling with? I strongly subscribe to creating your own success. Perhaps it is the squandering of conventional success that is there for her taking. Ilinca will eventually have to pursue the journey that most of us follow provided she has strength; create your own success. While that is a wonderful adventure, it is not for the weak. It takes strength, perseverance, and determination. It takes talent. Maybe in the end that will be better for her?
Please forgive my rambling. This is not so easy to write about as the first post. I find it hard to believe that I’m advocating for pushing for commercial success. Maybe some of you have interesting ideas on this. I would welcome hearing them.