Out performing

Last week my daughter Angel was home from college for spring break. We watched a couple of rockumentaries. We watched the Kurt Cobain documentary “Montage of Heck’. I found the documentary to be rather disturbing. It showed raw footage of his drug addiction. What a tragic story of a brilliantly troubled mind. He was so talented, yet died so tragically young. Sadly, it really isn’t unusual anymore to hear of talented performers dying from suicide or drug overdoses. I wouldn’t wish the life of a performer on my worst enemy.

Then it occurred to me that this is the kind of life two out of three of my children want to have. They want to be performers.

My firstborn, Angel, is in her second year of college for vocal performance. Recently she competed in a very elite competition and was one of the very few students from her college that was chosen to sing in front of an opera star. She never had singing lessons before college. It might even sound stupid, but maybe I never fully realized her talent. She was the only one ever in the history of her high school to get as many perfect scores at state for her vocal performances. Now she is in college competing with students that have had singing lessons for their whole entire lives.

But don’t all parents think that their children are the brightest, most talented, most intelligent children even if they are not? I also had the opportunity to listen to performances of strangers for solo and ensemble. I sat through one of the worst vocal duets I ever heard to look around to see parents recording the blessedly miserable event on their phone beaming with pride.

Parents often wear blinders. Why would I be any different?

My son is going to state for a piece that his piano teacher couldn’t even play the accompaniment for. It has a difficulty rating of 9. She said that it was a PhD piece. The ‘second chair’, who is a senior, played his level 4 difficulty solo from last year and bombed it. It was the song that my son got a perfect score on at state as a sophomore. After my son played his solo this year, the girl’s mother introduced herself to me. She told me that my son is a genius, a savant at music. She went on and on to the point that I almost was embarrassed. What could I say back to her? Her daughter as a talented senior bombed the solo my son aced at state last year as a sophomore. It was awkward.

I have two children that are the top performing musicians from their small town school. They are joining the hordes of a million other talented young wannabe famous musicians who are just as good if not better than they are.

In all honesty, who doesn’t want to be a star?? I sure would love to have 20,000 followers on WP. How about you?? If you have that many followers, how worried are you about continuing to write brilliant posts? Point made.

But do I want the life of a performer for my children?? I am not so sure anymore.

I picture them searching from city to city for a mirage they can’t seem to grasp onto. They will deal with the fear of failure. But guess what? The fear of success is just as terrifying. Rejection. Not having a stable lifestyle. Not having a steady income. The possibility of finding permanent residence in my basement. Not being able to pay off college debt. Maybe being famous? Having to keep performing at a stellar level to keep their fame. The possibility of drug addiction. Fans worshiping them but not knowing who they really are. Haters. Critics. What do you think a beautiful girl might have to do to make it to the top? A life on the road. What about a family? Broken relationships. Constant pressure. The isolation from a lack of anonymity. Broken dreams from not succeeding. Not being able to handle fame.

Why do I worry that it might not go well for them either way?? Didn’t we teach our kids to follow their dreams when we followed ours? Performing is one of the most exciting career journeys that anyone can follow.

Who knows? Maybe it will end well. As I overthink about it, maybe I am just worried because that is what I do as a parent. Worry. Sure, my kids are talented. But are they talented enough??

Maybe not pursuing a dream gives a life of more regrets.

And maybe I shouldn’t have watched that documentary.

Thoughts on Making a Murderer

I feel extremely sad for the Halbach family this year. I am not sure why Netflix released the controversial “documentary” Making a Murderer a week before Christmas. It follows the story of Steven Avery. If you are not familiar with the story, google it. It is a very intriguing story that happened in our state of WI where an innocent man was exonerated for a rape in 1985 due to advances in DNA technology. That was after he spent 18 years in prison. After his wrongful conviction, he filed a civil suit for millions of dollars. But before he collected the money, he was convicted of raping and killing Teresa Halbach with the help of his 16 year old nephew Brendan Dassey. He is back in prison for life.

Back in 2005, during the time of the murder, the media portrayed Steven Avery as a monster. The public was outraged and there was even talk about instituting the death penalty in our state. But this documentary comes from another angle. It tends to portray Steven Avery as the victim. That he may have been set up for a murder he didn’t commit. What really is troubling to me is the media’s ability to sway public opinion in either direction. I have heard some people having the mindset on social media sites that Avery should be freed from prison after watching this documentary. A lot of people have very strong opinions about this without knowing the full picture. I have started to watch the documentary with an open mind.

Do I think that Steven Avery killed Teresa Halbach? I honestly don’t know. Was he capable of murder? I think so. Although Avery was innocent of the rape that he was convicted of in 1985, he wasn’t a model citizen. He was a convicted felon by the age of 18 for burglary. In fact, he was convicted of several felonies before his rape conviction that he was exonerated from. At age 20, he was convicted of animal cruelty for the merciless killing of his family cat. If that doesn’t show psychopath potential, I don’t know what does. He also ran a female relative off the road and pointed a gun at her. Her husband was a police deputy. That was not very smart on Avery’s part. Regardless, a 23 year old man spent 18 years of his life locked up for a crime he didn’t commit. At the time of his arrest, he was married with 5 kids. Kids that he never saw grow up.

Do I think that there were some major issues with corruption within the police departments handling this case? Without a doubt. Does it seem odd that there wasn’t blood found at the crime scene? Absolutely. Could Avery have been set up for another crime that he didn’t commit? Maybe. Isn’t is puzzling that the victim’s vehicle was found on his salvage yard property hidden under branches when he could have possibly crushed the car instead? This is where I am going to bring up the point that Avery is shown to have an I.Q. of 70 which would make him on the edge of being intellectually disabled. What really convinced me of Avery’s guilt 10 years ago was the confession from his nephew, Dassey. However, Dassey has a similar I.Q. and his confession seems to be very inconsistent. He didn’t even appear to understand what was going on.

Did Avery kill Teresa Halbach? If he didn’t, then who did?? I find that question to be even more disturbing. Did someone else kill her and the police noticed that she was last seen at Avery’s house which gave them an opportunity to frame him? Seems a little far fetched. Why does Avery’s blood appear to be tampered with?  Nothing about this case makes any sense. This documentary seems to bring up more questions than answers, with no new evidence.