I have had the privilege of seeing a small part of a dream I’ve aways had become reality. In 2008 I signed a recording contract with FairTrade/Columbia (then INO). I remember the feeling of excitement and anticipation of the music I would write, record, and sing for everyone. It was a good day.
I had been writing songs since as far back as I can remember. I used to sit outside as a child and take morning glories, turn them upside down to dance to the song I would make up at the spur of the moment. It would usually be something like “the sun the sun, up in the sky. The sun, the sun, sends light to my eyes.” (I was quick with those rhymes yo!) I would belt out the words to the tune and sing as if I had an audience of a million little morning glories applauding and cheering me on. It was second nature. I didn’t even stop to think “are these words good? Can the audience relate to them? Am I good enough?” Not once did I even entertain those thoughts. Yet, here I was signing a record deal and months later I found myself in the throes of all out panic. I remember the feeling of meeting with renowned, Grammy winning, writers and having my palms sweat with anxiety. Each note I would try to clumsily put into a melody to me sounded like fingers on a chalkboard. Every word I would attempt to weave into a lyric read like Dr Seuss for dummies. A couple of times I actually left the room and had a “pep talk” with myself in the bathroom. It was funny to me, because I had songs that were going to be on this album that I wrote practically alone. Those songs were the ones I felt most confident of yet I felt as if I couldn’t say anything because.. well, these people had won Grammys for Pete’s sake and I was a nobody. Not the best of times but, through it all I released an album that I am proud of and wouldn’t you know it, the song I wrote practically all by myself was the biggest hit off the album. It charted in the top 20 on the charts peaking at number 5 on the AC charts. I should have had a boost of self-confidence, but I found myself in the grasp of something completely different. Self doubt.
It is not the easiest thing to type the next couple of paragraphs, but in the interest of full disclosure and honesty I must.
I sit today, a woman who was in the midst of a cloud of insecurity. I longed to fill pages with lyrics and my music room with melodies, but I didn’t. Why, I can tell you… I was scared. Scared of the “what if’s” the risks not paying off in the end. Those things that live inside my head hold me captive and I, like suffering from Stockholm syndrome, have become a willing hostage. Even as I type this, I am a bit mad at myself. The last few months I have done so much praying, and soul-searching that when the breakthrough came I was not as surprised as I thought I would be. I remember the day, I had just put the two younger boys down for their nap and I thought “hey, I will strum the guitar and just sing something.” An innocent enough start right? Next thing I knew, I had two verses and a chorus and tears streaming down my face. I grabbed my phone and hit record as quickly as I could. This longing inside of me came pouring out and it was not afraid. I sat and wrote some more. It was freeing. “Why had I waited so long to do this?” I thought to myself. The answer came back like a stinging slap to the face.. “because you are afraid to succeed.” I stopped everything and just sat with that stinging slap for a while. I began to realize that it was one of the most honest assessments of my fear and anxiety that I had ever “heard.” You see, I have a pretty crazy childhood story, given away by my birth mom at age 11, blah ,blah, blah. I have this insatiable hunger for stability and a sense of “home” in my life. I had somehow transferred what typically would be healthy cravings into an unrealistic expectation of everything reflecting them constantly. Again, I say it UNREALISTIC. How can we (I) live our life with a box like that being a coffin? I began to realize that God was knocking on the door of this room I had kept under lock and key for almost 25 years. How sad that I had been deaf to it. God wants me to LIVE! I want to LIVE! I mean, truly live! Not in some unrealistic, fear driven existence, but a life that is not afraid to be who I was meant to be. God has even began to chisel away my insecurity that has created a horrid habit of not using my full abilities in fear of making others feel less. That sounds (and reads) so ridiculously that I actually just cringed to type it… but its truth. I have felt that way for years and years. How sad that I allowed what God had given to me as a gift be hidden because of my longing to please others.
Well, I have emotionally vomited enough for this morning so I will leave you with this.. Don’t allow fear to be the captain of your ship. It is a tyrant that is never satisfied no matter which direction the wind blows. Be honest with yourself, painfully honest. Dissect the reasons why fear has any hold on you and then… kick it in the face.