I have three daughters. My first one was born three weeks after my 20th birthday. Recently I shared a story with her about the day, about a week after her birth, when I looked at her and was hit with the reality that someone really important was watching me. Let me just say, I was not the greatest, most dedicated student up until that point. But when I saw that little baby’s face, a wave of motivation and refusal washed over me that drives me to this day; the motivation to be the model that she needs and the refusal to make my fears and lack of accomplishments her responsibility.
Needless to say, these last fifteen years have been a balancing act of motherhood, marriage, housekeeping, studying, charging towards new opportunities, and supporting my husband and children in their dreams. I’ve done all of this while losing myself in the process and having to find me, time and time again. I have also spent a great deal of time digging myself out of periodic holes of apathy and resignation. One such moment, a few months ago, led me to myself in a way that has created new momentum for my life and career, opened doors I thought were closed forever, and taught me a valuable lesson that I must share.
The lesson is this: If what you long for is to sing, then you MUST sing. If you don’t sing, you will die.
Replace the word sing with whatever happens to be your unique gift or passion and say the statement again. What did you feel? For me, it was a game changer. This lesson meant admitting that the many projects and busy-ness of my life could never compete with or fulfill the desire of truly living and pursuing what I am convinced I was created to do. But I was petrified…actually, I still am. So to work through the fear, one day I sat with my colorful pens and fancy journal and wrote these words that have become a guiding light in this new journey of authenticity.
What makes me shake?
What terrifies me?
When I sing, I open the door to myself. With every note and lyric, I tell my story, my pain, my joy, my rejection, my lows, my highs, my mistakes, and my victories. There is no truer expression of the essence of who I am than a song.
Singing is the most intimate, vulnerable space in my world. This vulnerability carries with it greater risk than most things in my life. It is not the risk of not getting the role nor is it the risk of making a mistake.
No, it is the risk of opening myself and spilling my soul unto deaf ears.
It is the risk of not being seen even when I am showing you all that I am.
It is the risk of allowing my brilliant, unhindered light to shine even when it is misinterpreted or misunderstood.
It is the risk of responsibility…that my imperfect self can serve as a model for others and in the process they will see that really…I am broken.
Today, I decide that the cost of resisting the risk is no longer worth it. I decide that I must uncover the person who has been in here all along. I decide that the only way to live this life is wide open with a song flowing from my soul.
*Breathe* *Sigh* It takes a lot to share this with you. But I believe that I am part of a collective experience and that there is power in sharing our stories. Power for me as I process through writing, for my daughters as they watch me model courage and authenticity, and for you as you connect with some part of this narrative. Through this story, I wish to tell you that there is someone out here walking this messy thing out…completely exhausted and deathly afraid but here…present and willing and holding space for you to do the same…whether I know you or not, for we are connected by something greater than ourselves.
I leave you with Gloria Estefan singing one of my favorite songs from Sesame Street. I hope she inspires you to sing your song…whatever that song may be.
Sing, sing a song, sing out loud, sing out strong…..