When I decided to start this blog, I asked my (small but supportive) following on Instagram whether I should do it under my name, or use a catchy brand name. The response was pretty clearly in favour of my own name.
It was not what I had wanted to hear. Writing under my own name made me uncomfortable, but I couldn’t really explain why. I’ve always wanted to do a thousand different things. The idea of focusing on one thing connected to my name makes me anxious.
‘And I was again becoming that most limited of specialists – the well-rounded man.’
– F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
(I hated that book but the quote absolutely nailed me. Ouch.)
For the past two years, I’ve used this website as a sort of collection for everything I do: swimming, acting, singing, dancing, directing, and that’s not even all, because I left out all the non-artistic stuff such as copywriting, translating, subtitling and working as a virtual assistant. As long as I didn’t pick one thing, I’d always have a ton of things to fall back on when I fail, right? At the same time, each of my projects and ideas stemmed from genuine excitement and enthusiasm. Couldn’t I just be a mermaid who also sings, dances, subtitles, acts, directs and works as a virtual assistant!?
The attraction of an online persona
My mermaid-self is just a touch more soft-spoken, slightly more self-deprecating, and way more bubbly and than the ‘real, complete’ Stella. Though I love taking on a role or a character, there’s always an element of distance to it. I can take myself out of the equation and distance myself from the character I create. ‘Well, it doesn’t matter that I come across as a little bit vapid, because that’s not really me – that’s mermaid Stella.’
I’m done distracting myself, done finding ways to be entertained that allow me to shift my focus from what I actually want. I want to learn how to see something through, even if it’s not the most fun thing I can think of in that exact moment. And making something part of your identity makes it part of the way you think about yourself. It becomes part of the way you behave. Deciding against a late night out to protect my voice makes sense if I am a singer. Less so if I’m a pole-dancing copywriter who also does concerts every now and again.
This is a scary step for me, because I’m committing. Putting this blog on a website that has my name in the URL – I’m connecting my identity to this. Though I will likely continue to do a bunch of different things, I no longer am a confusing kaleidoscope of activities to hide behind.
This also means that if I write something here, I have to still like myself afterwards. Which is actually quite a confronting thought. Hopefully it will motivate me to come up with stuff that’s useful to you as a singer, an artist, or maybe even just as a person.
Thanks for the read, and thanks, Instagram friends, for forcing me to get real about this.