I was picked on at school. Like most kids, I didn’t fit in and was victimised by students and teachers who didn’t understand me. My music teacher told me I couldn’t write a song, and that I should never pursue it. During my HSC, he said my voice was average and advised I’d better improve quickly. He used to turn his back on me when I’d ask how to correct my mistakes. His favourite response was: “I don’t know. Just get better.” It astounded me that he had no interest in helping his student.
On top of that, I was passionate about being an author. I had no interest in chasing a degree in journalism, and I certainly didn’t want to move to Sydney. Besides, authors only need a computer, right?
My friends were sceptical and told me I’d be a loser if I chose to stay in my hometown. Although I explained I could live my dream from the comfort of home, they’d already cast their beliefs. According to them, I was a no-hoper and a loser.
Despite their attempts to quash my dreams, I didn’t let them thwart me. Between bouts of depression and self-doubt, I worked on my passions.
When I received my HSC results in Music and English, I realised I wasn’t as terrible as I’d been led to believe. In fact, I scored in the top five of my classes.
Free from the judgemental, patronising high school crowd, I continued to write stories and music.
When I was 20, I submitted my song into the Australian Songwriters’ Association and Australian Independent Music Awards, figuring there was no harm. Surprisingly, I received an invite to their red-carpet ceremony, as I’d placed in the Top 5 of Australia.
I know, top five again! Maybe it’s some strange karmic sign.
I felt like a fraud. Not because I wasn’t talented, but because the years of negative slurs had influenced my mindset. I understood I wasn’t the best, and nor will I ever be. That has never been a problem for me – so long as I’m free to create.
By the time I was 21, I became adamant that no shy, creative and ambitious child should ever feel the way I did.
I was living in a town that didn’t offer much in the way of performing arts. With a diploma in Media and Communication, I decided to start my own business for singers, dancers, actors, and writers. I expected eight students and thought it would be a fun hobby.
Within four years, the studio grew to over three-hundred students, some who have gone on to prestigious music academies like Brent Street, JMC, McDonald College, Australian Academy of Country Music and much more.
My students and I train together to build confidence, passion, and skill. Amazingly, the very same high school teacher who put me down is doing the same thing to my students, but we strive to prove him wrong.
Between starting a business and writing music, I continued to develop my craft. By the time I was 23, I signed a seven-book deal with an American publisher, and my book has gone onto be award-winning and a #1 international bestseller.
Over the years, I’ve connected with like-minded people. Through the power of the internet, I met with an American and Canadian, and together we started a podcast. We have since interviewed some of my favourite celebrities such as Felicia Day.
And you know what? I’ve done this all from the comfort of home. I didn’t have to leave my family or life behind. I didn’t need to succumb to the pressure of my peers. I didn’t allow myself to listen to the naysayers.
The truth is, nobody should ever feel inferior or stupid. Scrap that. You should never let somebody make you feel inferior or stupid.
If you love what you do, then you can make it happen. The only way to make your dreams come true is to wake up. Stick to your values, your goals, and you’ll be surprised by what you’ll accomplish.
– Tyrolin Puxty