Mariah Carey Once Thought She Wasn’t ‘Worthy of Being Alive’

Mariah Carey appears to be the picture of confidence. However, she admits there was a time in her life when she didn’t think she had value. The singer opened up about her troubled past and how she once thought she wasn’t “worthy of being alive.”

Mariah Carey had a troubled childhood

Mariah Carey |  Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Mariah Carey | Ethan Miller/Getty Images

In her book The Meaning of Mariah Carey, the singer writes about her difficult upbringing. She says it was a childhood marked by violence and confusion. According to Carey, her father and brother would often get into physical altercations. Furthermore, her parents got to a point where they found their marriage “unbearable.”

Carey says she doesn’t acknowledge time, and she places an emphasis on holidays such as Christmas because she wants to reclaim her childhood. She also says she wants to be in control of how she measures time.

“Life has made me find my own way to be in this world,” wrote Carey. “Why ruin the journey by watching the clock and the ticking away of years? So much happened to me before anyone even knew my name, time seems like an inadequate way to measure or record it.”

Mariah Carey didn’t think she was worthy of living

Carey says she spent her early childhood feeling like she didn’t deserve to be alive. Although she says she didn’t have thoughts of hurting herself at that time, the singer didn’t feel like she mattered. Carey, who comes from a mixed-race background, also struggled with her racial identity.

“There was a time in my early childhood when I didn’t believe I was worthy of being alive,” wrote Carey. “I was too young to contemplate ending my life but just old enough to know I hadn’t begun living nor found where I belonged. Nowhere in my world did I see anyone who looked like me or reflected how I felt inside.”

Music was an escape for Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey | Todd Williamson/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images
Mariah Carey | Todd Williamson/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

Carey says music provided an escape. Singing allowed her to find a place of peace and calm. She says if she was ever feeling afraid or anxious, singing helped center her.

“I was always so scared as a little girl, and music was my escape,” wrote Carey. “My house was heavy, weighed down with yelling and chaos. When I sang, in a whispery tone, it calmed me down. I discovered a quiet, soft, light place inside my voice—a vibration in me that brought me sweet relief. My whisper-singing was my secret lullaby to myself.”

Singing gave her a reason to live

A friend of Carey’s helped her realize she had a gift for singing. Carey says once she saw how people responded to her talent, she began to feel better about herself. She suddenly felt like she had a purpose in life.

“I saw how my voice could make other people feel something good inside, something magical and transformative,” wrote Carey. “That meant not only was I not unworthy, valid as a person, but I was valuable. Here was something of value that I could bring to others—the feeling. It was the feeling I would pursue for a lifetime. It gave me a reason to exist.”

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