Hi, how are you feeling?
I saw you today, your long, black wavy hair flowing in the wind. You look exquisite in Versace’s new collection. Very elegant. Your new song sounds melodious, and congratulations to your new #1, by the way. It seems like you’re living your dream.
Your life looks really glamourous. Millions of adoring fans, invitations to all sorts of upscale and exclusive events, numerous sports cars in your garage, and not to mention your newly purchased giant mansion sitting on top of a hill. Your latest photoshoot went viral again, and you have more shows coming up. Your 4-year-old self must be so proud of you. You went from dancing around on your bed to performing on some of the world’s biggest stages. She must be thrilled. But I think she might also feel a little cheated. After all, who could have known about the high price to pay for the life of fame when you’re watching the magic through rose-coloured frames? The music videos, the awards, the red carpets. You love to stand in front of the cameras with a big dazzling smile on your face. The lights never blind you.
But it did me.
I can’t live up to the fan’s expectations of me. I can’t live up to the expectations of my producers, my record label. I can’t live up to the expectations of everyone. The cameras, they follow me everywhere; Every one of them so eager to catch my downfall, dirty pictures of my private life. I don’t feel safe. Even the guards at my door can’t stop them from entering my home. Or themselves from sneaking into my room, for that matter. Remember that Tuesday night?
My home. The place where I’m supposed to have solace. Where I can unapologetically be myself and relax; But instead, it fills me with more paranoia.
Backstage. My parking space. Hotel rooms. They are everywhere. This life I’m living isn’t mine; it’s the public. I know you love your life, performing on world stages, being the face of every brand, appearing on every magazine cover, but your paradise is my hell. What started as a passion has turned into an obligation I no longer desire to complete.
The higher you climbed, the harder I fell.
You are an anti-smoking ambassador. I smoke two packs a day. You are on TV saying, “Don’t do drugs”. I do hard drugs every night and soft drugs every day. You wear a purity ring telling your audience how you are waiting for “the one”. I cannot tell you how many pregnancies scares I have gotten over the past year. You put on makeup in front of the same mirror I break every night because I cannot face myself anymore. The blade to my wrist is how I feel something; How I feel alive.
Everyone always talks about wanting to become famous, but how many know about the life they have to give up for it? Years of hard work, broken connections and having every single aspect of their life, no matter how insignificant, controlled by someone else. A whole life reduced to just another product placement.
Just because I wanted to sing.
It looks like mum was right; I have to be careful about what I wish for. I am burning out, and it won’t be long until you go too. I know a dying star still looks pretty, but it could never compare to a living one shining brightly by itself.
I’m afraid of what will happen if I stay, so I’m going to give myself a way out. I hope you will forgive my selfishness because if I don’t walk away from this life, there will not be a life to live anymore; for either of us. At least you would be kept alive in the memories of others.
See you on the other side, my other half.
© 2021 Alison Lian