It's often talked about - the whole 'sob story' thing... Why does everyone have to have a 'story'? So let's address that first just quickly. We ALL have a story. We have all got back stories, triumphs, tragedies - that's part of life. With a show like The Voice (and any other show even ones based on fiction) the way that we connect to the people and to their characters is through their stories. That's what makes it connect to the audience not just entertain. That said, the reason I chose to share my particular story about Fibromyalgia (when I possibly could have shared my story about being homeless when I was 15, or being a recovering alcoholic or having anxiety or depression or all sorts of other stories that are mine and that are genuine and you can check out all those stories and the things I do to manage them in my blog), is that Fibromyalgia was two things; a thing that was relevant as it had literally stripped me of my career in music and two, it was a thing I wanted to talk about because I had made so many improvements with my condition (obviously or I wouldn't have made it onto that stage) that I wanted to show people with Fibromyalgia out there that it IS possible to get your life back. While most doctors will say there's nothing you can do - that's a myth. There is a LOT you can do.
The way it is edited doesn't show how many things that I spoke about about what you can do with Fibromyalgia (nor could it because frankly, there's not a lot of time and it's not relevant to a lot of people) but I did share that. I did share my hope and strength and when it came to the cutting room they showed the most important bits - the bit where I led by example and not just spoke about how far I had come but did it. I am writing a book at this very moment collating all of those things - you can find out more about that on my website)
At its worst Fibromyalgia not only stripped me of my ability to work as a musician but also my ability to be a fun mum. That alone was devastating. I used to do fun things. I used to be full of life and I got to a point where I couldn't function and I wasn't much fun to be around because of it. I spent a LONG time researching all the ways that I could improve my quality of life, from doctors and specialists and being a guinea pig to medication to reading tonnes of books and articles and finally starting to study a bachelor of health science to find my own answers. Clearly, putting the things that I learnt along the way into practice I have gotten soooo much better. So much so that I finally had the energy to consider getting back onto that stage. What better way to do that than audition for The Voice? After all, it's ONE song and I don't have to pack any equipment or lighting or book venues or doing anything other than sing. So in spite of my husbands protests (as he knows just what adrenalin can do to my body), I had a go. As I said to him, I get the lows anyway, I may as well get the highs. I checked with my doctors and my specialist actually said to me that as someone with a gift for music it was actually important that I pursue it - call it your dharma or destiny or whatever but if you live out of alignment with it it is no good for your soul and no good for your health. Um, wow.
Fast forward to the blinds and I did the interviews with my family and was blown away with their honest pride in me and how far I had come to get there. My Pop, who hadn't been to gigs for such a long time even though he literally retired early so he could come to all my gigs and drive me there because I lost the ability to do long drives at night long before the rest of my abilities went, was finally going to see me on a stage again doing what I love and what he loves to watch. My kids who I constantly tell 'You can do anything you put your mind to', being able to watch me walk the walk instead of just talking the talk. My husband in the audience with my other step daughter, supporting me even though he didn't quite understand my 'why' (he does now by the way).
As I walked out onto that stage, the lights hit my face. The energy was in the air. You can feel that you know - an audience's vibe when you're on the stage - it's electric. I was finally there. After years of not thinking I would ever get the chance to perform at that level ever again, I was there. Ready. Healthy. The tide of gratitude for that rose up to my throat as I began to sing. "I took my love and I took it down... Climbed a mountain and I turned around"... holy hell have I climbed some mountains. That lyric itself was about to bring me undone and then BAM Boy George turned his chair.
I wasn't expecting that.
Obviously I had hoped for it. I had dreamt about it. But being there five years prior and NOT turning a chair (you can watch that video below) I knew there were no guarantees and to be frank, I was rusty. I hadn't performed in ages so how could I turn a chair if I didn't five years prior when I was younger, gig fit and vocally fit? But I did. In that moment I left my body. I wasn't in the room. I was flying. I was feeling all of the feels. All at once. Then Joe turned too. The crowd was going berserk. I wasn't just overwhelmed with gratitude it was practically breaking my heart open and letting all that love out and giving me that thing, that powerful thing that I had lost a long time ago - hope.
I wasn't just doing my best to continue singing. I was doing my best to not fall down on my knees and become a puddle of happy mess. I was happy. My kids were ecstatic. I could hear them screaming so loudly that everyone in the room could hear them. Their pride in me was one of the best feelings in this world because I knew even in that moment that they would know, especially seeing me at my worst, that you really can do whatever you put your mind to.
That night my step daughter said to me "I am so proud of you" and I asked her why. She said "Michelle I have seen what you have gone through. If I had experienced as much rejection as you and had to do what you've had to do there is no way that I would be able to put myself out there again" and I looked her dead in the eye and I said "that is what it's all about. The whole point of this thing. Life even. No matter what happens. No matter what rejection you face, or obstacles you encounter, you never give up".
If you're going through some tough stuff, hang around. Search my blog and have a read. Check out my songs. I have written plenty of them based on the stuff I've been through. Send me an email. Join the mailing list below. I write new content all the time and cover a lot of bases. On the side of all this stuff I do I'm actually a qualified (if not regularly practicing) life coach so when it comes to achieving your goals in spite of challenges I have a fair bit of experience with that. If you ask me a question I might have some answers in the next blog. I hope that my performance on The Voice in the face of such obstacles inspires you to do what is in you heart. It really is good for you.