Why it's really ok that you didn't end up being an astronaut, or a pirate, or a fairy princess.Read More
Last year I read a book by Seth Godin called What to Do When It's Your Turn (and it's always your turn). It's a great book. In it he talks about his views on entrepreneurship and how to achieve your goals more efficiently or... at all, really.
The main idea Seth wants to drive home is baked into the title of the book. It's your turn. Now. It's never not your turn. Do something.
This was revolutionary for me (and maybe it is for you, too). The desire to be "the chosen one" is universal. Harry Potter, Luke Skywalker, Cinderella, The Matrix, The Sword in the Stone... I could go on and on naming stories, myths, archetypes from all throughout the history of storytelling that point to the same need in all of us. We want to be chosen. And for some of us that means a lot of waiting and painfully watching while others achieve what we had always hoped for.
I have spent so much of my life waiting to be given permission to live. When I was a teenager, I didn't do anything without permission. Well, I wasn't supposed to, at least... so if I did and it ever became known I'd suffer consequences for it.
Those consequences reinforced the need for permission from anyone and everyone to be able to act. So instead of making art or writing fiction or doing anything that I wanted to do simply because I wanted to do it, I waited for someone to tell me I was allowed to.
Growing up, I had bathroom mirror fantasies (you know, where you lock yourself in the bathroom and have imaginary conversations with your reflection? Anyone? Just me? Ok...) that I had been discovered by someone who would make me a famous model, or actress, or just a member of a richer, more "hip" family. The keen desire to be singled out, to be chosen, has lived inside me my whole life.
What I wish I'd known then, what Seth Godin drives home in his book, is that if you sit and wait for someone else to pick you, the odds are you'll never get to "go" at all. If you want to play the game, if you want to be chosen, you have to pick yourself.
It took me almost 4 decades to discover this truth. When I think about the time and opportunities I wasted by waiting for someone else to tell me I was allowed to live I get a little sad. How much more could I have done if I had realized early on that I could fill my own need by choosing myself?
These days I'm bolder, I dive in and take more risks without waiting for someone to give me the go-ahead. I make messes and sing out of key and am publishing my first novel this year because I'm not waiting for anyone to say "It's your turn." I already know it's my turn. I already know that I'm going to get picked for the team I want to play on because I'm the one doing the picking. I pick myself.
What about you?
All of the reasons (well some of them) that I love Amanda Palmer and what she teaches me about my own art, about being vulnerable, and about never apologizing for the space I take up in the world.Read More
Choosing to be vulnerable is hard. Like, painful and scary hard. But it's so much more freeing than choosing to live in the dark. Don't hide who you are. Come out in the light. Live Wide Open. Share that big, beautiful heart with the world.Read More
Brushy One String has done more with a one-string guitar than most people will do in a lifetime with far more resources. He definitely gets hero status.Read More
You know how it used to be a thing to ask which was your favorite Spice Girl (I'm gonna go with Posh???)? Or which was your favorite Power Ranger (duh, Pink)**? Well, Amy Ray is my favorite Indigo Girl.
I grew up on the Indigo Girls' fabulous harmonies and powerful social justice lyrics. In high school and during college, when I had no money for music, I repetitively listened to a bootlegged taped copy of their first album (Indigo Girls, 1989) that cut off in the middle of the song Land of Canaan. I literally did not know how that song ended until I was out of college.
Amy Ray's raw, sonorous alto voice and the emotion in the lyrics she writes and sings have brought me to tears oh so many times. What I love about her, what I wish to emulate most about her, is the authenticity she brings to her art. She doesn't hold back from any of it, whether it's staring down the black abyss of despair or grasping for a shred of humor to cover the pain of reality and make it go down just a little easier. "You have to laugh at yourself, because you'd cry your eyes out if you didn't," she says on 1200 Curfews, their live album from 1994/95.
I listen to the Girls when I write, when I'm driving, when I'm just hanging around... hoping that somehow some of that awesome authenticity will sink into my own craft, that some of the poeticism and raw emotion will shine through me or rub off onto the worlds that I write about.
So thank you, Amy Ray. Thank you for inspiring me. Thank you for writing lyrics that sit on my heart and help me express some of my own angst in this life, and rejoice at the beauty of connection, too. Can't wait to see you perform again on your next time through town.
**Disclaimer: I've never watched Power Rangers. Not even once.
In which I freely admit that I make mistakes, and refer to myself as "we"... because there are two sides to every challenge, and it's hard not to get caught in between them.Read More
Not buying new clothes for a year is easier and harder than you might think, but here's why it's totally worthwhile.Read More
In which I muse about why having no hair on your legs equals beauty... and decide to buck the beauty standard in favor of my own standard for beauty.Read More
What do you see? What do you need to know? What do you want most?Read More