I fell in love for the first time when I was 25. I had wanted to be in love for the longest time. With all the highs life had gifted me, there was an undercurrent of loneliness, of wanting someone to share the joy with.
I found myself crying out around the 24-year-old mark: ‘Hello, universe? Is there anyone out there for me? Am I going to die an old maid? I’m not against that, I can handle it, but I would really love to experience this thing everyone talks and sings and cries about’.
I made a game plan: If I am the best version of myself living out my truth and working towards my dreams, and I met someone who is the best version of themselves, it will be pretty obvious that we want the same things and should totally be together.
Off I went, chasing dreams. I read Self Help books and got “brave” tattooed on my wrist, living out my quarter-life crisis cliché.
Maryann Wright. Source: Instagram
Roll your eyes, but Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly was actually a big help. I started to understand how to open up my heart to whatever was coming. I realised for years I had been busying myself to distraction. Juggling five jobs, my mind was a beehive of checklists.
I was happy but I was numbing myself. The highs weren’t so high because I was already thinking about the next challenge, and the lows weren’t low because I was already thinking about the next challenge. I was scared of sitting with my thoughts and confronting my ambition; of daring to fail or succeed in a big, risky way.
So I purged the busyness. I quit four jobs. I decided I wasn’t going to spend all my energy creating other people’s dreams, I needed to build my own. I didn’t have the vocabulary for that at the time; I just very politely told friends and bosses that I needed more time for me and I needed to consolidate my life into less so I could have more.
Guess what happened when I gave myself more time and space?
1. I got into The Voice Australia.
2. I got a fully-paid scholarship to study acting in New York.
3. I fell in love.
"I fell in love for the first time when I was 25." Source: Instagram
Within six months, three big things came along that needed time and energy, and I finally had both to give, along with a cracked open heart willing to take scary risks and either fly or fall.
Performing on national television taught me how to trust myself. Whatever happens, there is no need to worry because I am capable of handling whatever is coming my way – even if it is belting out a showtune in a ‘this is your one moment, don’t screw it up’ que sera moment. Studying acting in NYC taught me how to lean into the discomfort of a challenge. Big dreams take hard work, and hard work can be scary as hell.
But you know what serves up life lessons quicker than a tennis ball machine? Love. My heart was punctured. My system went into meltdown. There’s still so much that terrifies me and doesn’t make sense.