At the beginning of 2021, I decided that I was ready to share my story about having cystic fibrosis as an aspiring singer. I saw an opportunity to audition for season 10 of The Voice Australia, so I mustered up the courage and went for it. The auditioning process was very long-winded and there were many “off-camera” Zoom auditions before I even made it to “The Blinds.” My hopes weren’t very high at the time, but I was determined to push myself out of my comfort zone and give it my very best shot.
Growing up, CF had felt like a burden, a dreaded disease that made me different from everyone else and stopped me from doing the things I wanted to do. From a young age, I was passionately involved in singing and dancing at my local dance studio, yet I remember so many moments including performances and concerts I had to miss out on because I was too sick or in the hospital.
The hardest part for me, battling this invisible illness, is the mental health side, which is so often directly related. I sometimes feel that people forget the impact having a chronic illness can have on a person’s mental health.
CF and my family situation left me into a deep depression by age 15. Finding out the average life expectancy of a person with CF, and sitting with that statistic from such a young age, I began doubting myself with thoughts like “nobody will ever marry me because I have CF.” It was quite debilitating. My parents separated before I was born, and I had a very unstable family dynamic. I didn’t really develop that self-security, identity, or feeling of belonging as a child.
Through the depths of my depression and long stints in the hospital, isolated for weeks on end, I always had music to get me through. I’ve always used creative outlets to guide me through my emotions, to fill the silence, to connect to something, to feel comforted, to express or feel in a way that words can’t describe. In the midst of it all, I found a deeper love and appreciation for music.
Having gone through so much pain and loss in my life, I started taking steps toward healing my heart and mind. After five or so years of hard work, determination, counseling, and working on my self-love and self-belief, I have finally gotten myself to a good place mentally. I am now confident in who I am, embracing the things that make me unique.
I’ve continued to live my life with purpose and a passion for music, despite the impact CF has had on my ability to sing and perform. I never want to let CF stop me from going after my dreams and the things I want in life.
I was very nervous leading up to the blind auditions for The Voice. Although I have had some experience performing, I hadn’t had much experience singing solo, so it was extremely daunting! Early on, I became aware that some of the other contestants were already accomplished professional singers, but I tried not to let that add to my anxiety and kept giving myself positive affirmations, reminding myself that I was chosen to be there and I could only do my best.
The blind auditions were a blur, between the rush of adrenaline after performing and the joy of having three of the coaches turn their chairs. I was in shock, yet ecstatic to have made it through and to be on Jessica Mauboy’s team, Team Jess. That night, I got home from the studio at around 11 p.m., exhausted from the rollercoaster of emotions. I couldn’t quite switch off immediately, as we were waiting for an email with information on what the next day of filming would entail. At midnight, I received the song I would be performing for Jess Mauboy the next day for “The Cut,” which would begin at 6 a.m.
Running on very little sleep, one too many coffees, and what was left of the adrenaline from the day before, I made my way to the studio, feeling jittery and pretty rough. To be honest, the whole experience was quite overwhelming for me, but I’m beyond grateful to have had a small glimpse into the music industry and what a performer’s lifestyle would be like. Even though I didn’t make it to the next round, I am so appreciative of the opportunity The Voice gave me to share my story and inspire others to live out their dreams despite life’s challenges. I’m learning to love CF and I hope I’ve inspired you to love yourself a little more.
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