Dear Self: I know you feel inadequate.
This is the first submission in a series I am titling “Dear Self.”
They are letters, written to myself, with the purpose of cleaning up some of the sticky stuff in my head… Like goo gone for my brain and I want to share these thoughts because I think many of these sticky subjects are so intertwined with the fabric of our internal life that we sometimes forget that they also exist outside of ourselves – that other people experience sticky stuff, as well. And sometimes the sticky stuff is the very thing that binds us together.
So, welcome to the inner workings – where the pollen is harvested, refined, and hopefully, at some point, turned into honey.
You received an interesting proposition today.
A well connected gentlemen you met in Los Angeles last spring reached out to you and asked if he could share your new music with some people he knows in the music industry in Nashville.
When you met him and he mentioned he had friends in Music City you wondered what kind of friends they were. You’ve learned, the hard way, not to get your hopes up too quickly. This fact often saves you from heartache but it also makes you sad because it reminds you that you live in a world where promises are made and thrown away like day old bread.
Your mind wanders to 4 years ago when you met with TLC’s former manager and he said that you should move to Atlanta and that he would “be in touch” about next steps and then nothing happened… after you moved.
Your mind also wanders to an even darker place… one riddled with thoughts of doubt and inadequacy. Who am I to think I could perform in that realm? Who am I to think I am good enough? Talented enough? Thin enough? Smart enough? Young enough? Pretty enough? … Enough?
You circle back to the conversation you had with this gentlemen where he asked you about your music. “Do you write songs?” “Do you sing them?” “Do you play an instrument?” “I was invited to the ACM’s this weekend but I’ve been traveling so much that I really don’t want to leave again so soon.”
The Academy of Country Music Awards. Wow, maybe he really does know some people in Nashville.
So why, when you’ve been dreaming of playing music full time your whole life, are you so nervous about responding to this message? To pick up the phone and give him a call when he’s asked that you do?
I understand that you don’t want to be disappointed, but you’ll never know until you try. You’ll never know if you can win unless you put yourself in the ring.
I understand your fear. You wonder, deeply and vulnerably, if you have what it takes… if you are adequate… if you are enough… Do you remember when you nervously asked Mama Jan Smith, after your vocal assessment with her, if your voice was good enough? You were 27 at the time, but your 8 year old self was leading the conversation.
She replied that “you wouldn’t be sitting in the chair you’re in now if you weren’t” yet you still want outside confirmation to squash your inside doubt.
Well what if that isn’t how it works? What if we all feel inadequate at times and the only way to remedy that is to push forward? What if the remedy for self doubt is a total inside job? One that can only be tackled by one brave decision at a time.
My darling girl, I am not asking you to climb Mount Everest – though I know it feels that way at times – I am asking you to make the call. To dial the number. To take the chance. To move one foot in front of the other, one step at a time, until those thoughts of doubt float peacefully away like a feather on the surface the sea.
You will always have doubts. You will always wonder, at times, if you are adequate, and if your enough-ness is enough. These sticky thoughts are part of the human experience and the fact that you are alive and breathing means that you will experience them. You are not alone, but what matters most now is what you will do next, my love. What will you do next? Will you shrink in fear or will you rise to meet your next challenge?
Truly the choice is yours,