There’s a Brené Brown special on Netflix currently, all about vulnerability. Her talk hinges around the Teddy Roosevelt quote:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”Theodore Roosevelt
A lot of Brown’s talk hinged upon the fact that living authentically involves risk. It involves looking foolish. It involves making mistakes, or getting hurt from time to time. It sucks. But it’s better than the alternative of playing it safe. Living authentically and showing our scars and hurts is actually what connects us to other people.
Yeah, that scares the shit out of me.
In not quite un-related news, I sent some demos to a producer, Mark, and started the ball rolling on planning an EP. Scariest shit I’ve ever done. My inner gremlins were going crazy and saying all kinds of shit.
“What if your singing sucks?”
“What if your words are cliché? What if your very THOUGHTS are unoriginal?”
“How dare you think so highly of yourself? Who wants to hear this?”
To sum up: WHAT IF YOU LOOK FOOLISH? I had Brené Brown’s words ringing in my ears as I held my breath and sent the demos. I haven’t played these demos for anyone. Not a soul. It felt like sending journal pages to a business associate. Now Mark’s first impressions of me might be that I’m a freaking mess.
I texted my friends Dani and Kristen (they introduced me to this idea of inner gremlins, by the way) because I knew they’d understand my panic. They were incredibly supportive.
I have three songs I feel are ready. I want two more.
Selecting the songs has been a challenge in vulnerability in and of itself. Of course, I want to put my best foot forward. But I already have a couple of self-empowered songs on there. I think I’m missing one that says “I don’t have the answers.” “I’m hurting, and I can’t sum it up. I don’t know what the lesson is here.”
Those honest songs are the ones I gravitate towards most in other songwriters; but writing them myself is going to be an exercise in looking like a fool. In admitting that I’m not all buttoned up. I’m working on it.
P.S. If you get the chance to read any of Brené Brown’s books, or watch her TED talks on YouTube, or watch her Netflix special, I highly recommend it.