Before I start, I just want to say that this is not an attack at reality/talent shows. I love them! I will watch any kind of talent show, whether its singing, dancing or variety! The problem I have is with the way I think sometimes after watching these shows, so that is down to me, no one else.
I’m guessing almost everyone will have seen an episode of a talent show when a contestant comes on with a story that makes you hope that they do well. Either they are extremely shy and nervous, endured years of bullying or have had a really rough time with depression, anxiety or another illness. They come onto the stage and they start to sing (or do whatever their act is but its normally singing!) and it turns out they are amazing! The whole audience is behind them, the judges say how brave and inspirational they are. Then, this is always the bit that gets me, they say something along the lines of, “Your life changes now!” and the contestant cries and says that they know that everything is going to change for them now. The audience are on their feet and inspirational music plays as they leave the stage and run into the arms of their family or friends, who say they are so proud of them. These kind of stories make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, they are turning a corner, moving on and changing their lives for the better, forever! This is where my issue starts. I do hope that its not just me…
I watch the latest contestant walk off the stage, confident that their life is going to change from that moment on and I feel all warm and fuzzy and happy for them. But then I feel wistful. I think I want to do that! I want to take a deep breath, walk out onto a stage, wow everyone and put everything behind me, forever! There’s only one problem with that… I can’t sing, I can’t dance, I can’t walk like Rihanna (Bonus points if you understood that reference! If you didn’t, google “The Wanted, Walk Like Rihanna” Its a great song!) I can’t juggle, perform magic tricks or do death defying stunts. In short, I can’t have my talent show “Your life changes now!” moment because I don’t have a talent. What a downer! Actually, let me rephrase that, I don’t have a talent that is entertaining on a stage, in front of an audience. I have plenty of “talents”. I am a talented karate instructor, one of my students will be taking their black belt grading in a matter of weeks! I have taught them for nearly five years. I am developing a talent for cooking and baking but that’s in the early stages right now! I have a talent for listening to other peoples problems but I don’t always have the answers! I definitely have a talent for making a fool out of myself on Twitter, I must remember to proof read tweets BEFORE sending them!
The first point I am trying to make is that we all have talents. We might not see being a good listener/kind/nuturing/empathetic/artistic/creative/persistent as talents but they are! If you are good at it then it is a talent! Sure, having a talent for fixing cars or looking after your children is unlikely to make you the next winner of Britain’s Got Talent (or your country’s equivalent) but it is a talent all the same!
My second point; Does having a great audition on one of these shows really change your life from that day forward? In my opinion, yes and no. Yes if you are a great singer/dancer/magician etc, having that great audition can open many doors and provide you with amazing opportunities that you wouldn’t have had otherwise. But can taking part in the talent show remove your past or cure your anxiety, depression or other illness? No. If anything, being exposed to the press could lead to your past being splashed all over the papers! Sure the TV programs may make you believe that as soon as these people leave the stage a magic wand is waved and all of their problems disappear but that is hardly the reality. They will still need to work hard behind the scenes to forget the past or to keep their fears in check. They may be taking a huge step by going on one of these shows but that will not be the end of the story! They will have plenty more steps to take which won’t be televised and good luck to them!
So to start wrapping up, I think the point I am trying to make is no matter how we choose to tackle our mental health or other problems (Because lets face it, TV talent shows are not for everybody!) the main thing is that we keep taking steps forward. It doesn’t have to be a huge leap, sometimes the baby steps are more important! My next step is a weeks break in a caravan park! Looking forward to it but I’m also nervous! What is your next step?