"It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live."
-Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone -
When I was a little girl, my parents bought Prince's album Purple Rain. I would sit in front of the stereo with head phones on my head, repeatedly listen to that album, and fantasize that Prince's voice was that of my own, and I was singing to millions to adoring fans. I had dreams that one day I would be a superstar, but why did I want to be a superstar?
I was always shy as a child. I would try to play with kids on the playground, but the girls always thought I looked like a boy and didn't want to play with me. Because of this, I spent recess time chasing the boys and pushing them to the ground. Needless to say, I did not get very many friends. When I got home and entered into the world of Prince, I became talented and famous. Nobody asked me if I was a boy or a girl, and I was not put in the awkward position of being that person on the bus that nobody wanted to sit next to because of a rumor that had started about not being able to afford water. My fantasy life was so much cooler than my reality.
As I got into high school, I found a crowd of misfits and Tori Amos. My immersion into the world of make believe stopped because I found people that actually talked to me, and I found an artist that seemed to understand what I was going through. I no longer felt alone, and though life has had its peaks and troughs, I have never been as alone as I was in my elementary and middle school years.
I became an adult and started teaching and read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone with my students. There is a part in the novel where Harry encounters a mirror that shows the person who gazes into it their deepest desires. Harry peers into it and sees his family, and because that is all he wants, he becomes obsessed with the mirror until Dumbledore tells him that he is so consumed with the illusion of a family that he is not living his life.
This talk with Dumbledore helps him realize that looking in the mirror will not bring him his family back. The knowledge of the mirror's trickery proves useful later when Harry is trying to keep the sorcerer's stone from the antagonist and gets the sorcerer's stone because he only wanted the stone and not the benefits the stone provided.
I did not want to be famous. I wanted to be noticed for something other than being the weird looking girl that never talked. I wanted friends, and had I tried to get friends instead of retreating into my own delusional world, I may have made them a lot sooner. I just assumed because a few people were mean that everybody thought I was a freak which is absurd. I was guilty of looking into my Mirror of Erised, but this was not the last time I would be challenged by it.
I began writing songs because it helped me process things that have happened to me, and I wanted to make an album of my songs because I wanted to create something. Then, I started becoming obsessed with votes, listeners, viewers,album sales, and accolades because of that desire to feel like I am welcome and belong. I lost sight of my entire reason for writing songs which is to be the philosophical and creative person I have innately been my entire life but was too afraid to show people.
Who knows? I may one day become famous for one of my essays, blogs, poems, songs, books, screenplays, or any other creative work I decide to create in my lifetime. Even if I do, fame is an illusion. People would love the false persona of me built up in their minds and not the real me. I know I must live my life, endure my struggles to originate my art, and not look into the Mirror of Erised.