Monday, April 25, 2011

Sticks and Stones: Knowing What To Ignore

"I can only be who I am, not who you want me to be"  Ava Aston 2011
In the past I used my Greekness as an excuse. But then there came a time to fess up and come clean. And I did.  Hello, my name is Ava Aston and  I am an ex-approval seeker.
Becoming an approval seeker was part DNA and part occupational hazard. As a Greek American I always told myself I was just being passionate when I became argumentative about someone not liking my music or performance, because after all that's what Greek people do. Even after we eat when we are happy we smash plates. Just imagine if you catch the "Greek Wrath" when we are upset. If you have ever watched the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding then you know what I am talking about. It was as if Central Casting went to one of my family's gatherings and cast the entire movie from my gene pool.
Being an approval seeker is also part occupational hazard, because anyone who is in the public eye, and if they are honest, are there partly because of a need for attention. Otherwise, you could never risk the rejection of getting on stage or in front of a camera in the first place. So I admit that me being in the entertainment industry was partly to get approval.
But here is where my Greek noggin got a crossed wire (or two.) My passion (read my Greek heritage) and my need for attention (read my career as a recording artist and actress) collided. If that collision had been left unchecked it would have been very unhealthy for me. There are all kinds of stories of other entertainers turning to alcohol or drugs as a way to combat that same unhealthiness. Not me.
 As much as I wanted the attention, the minute someone was a critic of me or my craft, I wanted to kick their butt, Greek style. I learned very quickly that I had to change otherwise I would have a very quick career. I decided I had to run my own race and not worry about what others thought of me.
Now, I try to keep my blinders on and  focus on my own career, not the career other people or organizations want for me. I want to be a positive role models for young girls and to do that I have had to turn down roles and not do what other pop stars are doing.  It's a slower road, but it's who I am on the inside.  If others disagree with what I say or do, I am fine with it now.
Regular readers of my blog or fans of my cartoon series, Ava the Diva know that I love to make Mr. Bricks out to be a bumbling idiot with a lazy eye. (Oh, before I forget, I want to mention that I think it is hysterical that the term "Lazy Eye" was trending on Google so much the past few days that it made my blog views sky-rocket because I talk about Mr. Bricks' lazy eye so much) Anyway, I do trash talk Mr. Bricks a lot, but it is all in fun. And ok, this is going to sting in my mouth a little for saying this, but seriously Mr. Bricks is a genius. There I said it. Cut-paste-save, because I doubt I will ever say it again.
All along, since my manager Mr. Bricks came aboard the Ava Aston express last July, he has told me not to worry about what others are saying, just keep doing my own thing. Mr. Bricks told me that a critic was like a  legless man trying to teach someone how to run. Graphic I know, but also profoundly true.
I have known ever since I started singing at the age of five I was singing because that is what I was supposed to do, not because I wanted to be famous. Heck, at that young age I didn't even now what fame was. But then somewhere along the line I started to listen to the critics, and despite 100 great reviews, I would let one negative review ruin my day.  I had turned into an approval seeker. I wanted everyone to like me. I thought if I could just convince my critics, then I could unite the world together like a Hallmark Greeting Card or like a Coca-Coal jingle could. I can't.
Alas, I am just a Greek girl and sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.
Photo Credit: Ava Aston © 2011 All Rights Reserved.

1 comment:

  1. It'a true. You cannot live your life trying to be what others want you to be. A person has to be true to themselves. Far better to be respected than liked, if one has to make a choice. I refer to respect of who and what you are, not respect garnered through intimidation or fear.