I haven't written a blog post in a while. It's totally because I'm procrastinating - something, I think, to which everyone can relate. Part of it is because I find other ways to spend my time - practicing, listening to music, eating, walking, sleeping, chatting with friends, etc. But part of it is definitely fear of putting words out into the internet where they can be read by anyone and shared. That's more than a little intimidating. I know a lot of people who are much better writers than I am, are more knowledgable about the horn and teaching, have more experience than I do, have more degrees, titles, and credentials than I have.
So, it's easy for me to put off writing my thoughts. What if I'm judged? What if what I say is stupid, silly, or wrong? What if I embarrass myself? What if I'm not enough?
Those are the same fears that I carry in my heart and head when I perform. (You, too? Maybe not, maybe so....)
So, how do we cope with those fears? How do we move past our terror of being judged and found wanting? How do we present ourselves to the world without wearing a mask or putting on armor?
These are hard questions, but important ones (especially for artists). They affect everything in our daily lives -- not just playing our instruments, performing, speaking in meetings, or meeting with clients. How we perceive ourselves, present ourselves, and praise (or criticize) ourselves makes all the difference in our day to day existence and work.
We exist in an increasingly aware (I would say hyper-aware) society -- one that's visible to everyone through social media, instant news coverage, FaceTime/Skype, texting, etc. All of these ways to connect can be great, but they can also be overwhelming. We are constantly bombarded with images and information, most of it telling us (in both overt and covert ways) that we are not _______ enough. Fill in the blank with your own insecurities. **
I'm not thin enough.
I'm not intelligent enough.
I'm not talented enough.
I'm not confident enough.
I'm not GOOD enough.
I would guess that all of us can fill in those blanks with many fears and insecurities.**
Here's what I take away from this feeling, though... what gives me the courage to teach, perform, talk, write, and leave my house:
We ALL have fears. We ALL try to hide them. And that connects all of us, all the time.
If we can tap into that commonality, we can connect with each other. And when we connect, the fears lose their hold over us - they lose their power and begin to leave us because we no longer need to hide them and be ashamed of them. We can finally admit them, bring them out into the light, and show each other. Our fears are much smaller in the light than they are in the dark.
By being vulnerable, we become stronger - but we can only do it together. I think that's why the arts are so important to our humanity. They allow us to be vulnerable through creative outlets that keep us connected -- writing, dance, visual art, music, spoken word.
So, as you create don't try to eliminate vulnerability. Show it through your art. Because then your art will be genuine -- then it will truly connect with those around you. And when you do that, your vulnerability becomes your strength rather than your weakness.
**For more reading on this idea, I highly recommend Brene Brown's Daring Greatly.