In 1984, a health teacher at the high school told me I would never amount to anything. And more than once. I considered it a form of verbal abuse. There was no doubt I was wild, immature and a bad student. But, on the other hand, I was creative as hell and back then, conservative high schools often didn't have an answer for students like me!
Years later, I went back to the school, found this teacher and showed him my W2. "Does this look like someone who didn't amount to anything?" He chuckled and said he didn't remember who I was. I told him it was difficult not to remember who HE was and I told him how hurtful those words were and that I hoped he was no longer saying such damaging dreck to his current students.
We all have stories like this. Sometimes it's our parents who say these things. Other times, it's kids on the bus and yes, even teachers. I didn't have the strength just to let it go when it happened to me. It sat there and burned a hole in my heart for many years. I never knew one sentence could be so damaging. The blessing in disguise? It motivated me to prove this teacher wrong and I did. Creatives can be extraordinary. We're hyper, we have ADD, and it's hard to take direction at times.
When I was 17, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with my life. Who does at that age? I knew it was either going to be theater, radio or voiceovers. It turned out to be all three throughout many decades.
While the haunting words, "You'll never amount to anything," still creep up when I am in a slump or having a bad day, I always have to remind myself that I had accomplished so many things in my life when certain teachers told me it would never happen.
I know I already wrote a blog about ignoring naysayers, but it needs to be repeated. When you're passionate about something, forget cynical family members or friends and follow your dream. I did.