I was 7 when I turned on the TV and saw Mariah Carey performing live in front of a crowd of 30,000. At the end of her performance, everyone erupted into thunderous applause.
I was transfixed. I thought to myself: How can one person gain so much adoration? I wanted it too.
I remember standing on the sofa near the window like it was my stage. As I looked into the sky, I declared that I wanted to be a superstar.
So I did what it took. I stepped into the entertainment industry at a young age. But instead of living the dream, the one common thing that I kept hearing people say about me was that I’m a blank piece of paper, 一张白纸. Someone with no personality.
I was very sad about it. I didn’t know how to take it. I wanted to matter to people.
But in this world if you’re not loud enough, you won’t gain attention. And I’m just someone who’s quiet, like a cat.
So as I was growing up, I constantly felt this tension between who I was, who others wanted me to be and who I felt I needed to be. And in the midst of all this struggle, I completely lost myself. I just didn’t know who I was anymore.
It was when I came to the end of myself that I decided to turn to God for answers.
He said to me: “You don’t have to be somebody else that you’re not in order to be liked. Begin from a place of honesty. Don’t try to be extra nice to people. Don’t try to keep up with appearances.”
But there was one area of my life that I refused to talk to God about: Why people in the industry kept calling me a blank piece of paper.
Nine years ago I was called a blank piece of paper. Nine years later I was still called a blank piece of paper.
Why? I didn’t understand. I had tried very hard, but why was I still a blank piece of paper?
I felt very hopeless. In desperate need of hope, one afternoon I poured out my heart to papa God.
To my surprise, He also said that I was a blank piece of paper. But He told me: “Your pages may be empty, but they are white as snow. You begin with me. I’m the author of your life and I’ll write out your pages.”
For the first time, I recognised that being a blank piece of paper doesn’t have to be a bad thing. My piece of paper is white; it’s clean.
I don’t have to care so much about what others think about me, but instead let God define who I am.
When I look back now, I know my identity crisis happened because I did not put my trust in God. I counted on man to make me a success, and I thought I had lost all hope and even wanted to leave the industry.
But I found hope in God. I can truly begin again. And this time, with Him.
This article is adapted from an interview with Olivia Ong. It was first published on Thir.st.