Introspection & Lessons On Being “Good Enough”

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I have this really bad habit of doubting myself.

Not just intermittently, like when something goes wrong or an opportunity falls through. It’s only natural to question your talent when you’re told “no.” A “no” is always difficult to deal with, no matter how familiar you are with the word, especially in an industry where it so easily translates to actually not being good enough.

If it were just during these moments of rejection that I found myself questioning my legitimacy as a writer, musician and singer, I could easily chalk it up to simply being human. But it’s not as simple as that for me. I find myself doubting my abilities ALL THE TIME.

In short, I suffer from Impostor Syndrome. Have you ever felt, regardless of what other people tell you, that you couldn’t possibly be good enough? Have you earned accolades you don’t believe you deserve or praise you’ve deemed yourself unworthy of?

Congratulations, you suffer from it, too.

I just finished a new song yesterday that I’m really excited about; it departs quite a bit from my comfort zone, which, as you probably know from my previous post, is something I’ve been challenging myself to do lately.  As an artist, I think it’s important to be malleable, to be flexible.  Especially since I’d love to one day be able to not only write songs for myself, but to write with and for other artists as well.

This morning, I woke up with it at the forefront of my Alejandro Villanueva Authentic Jersey mind, sure that I had probably dreamt about it last night. I had a cup of coffee and sat down at the keyboard to revisit it. I played it through a few times, playing with the melodies and phrasing, and though I was still incredibly happy with it, I began to wonder if maybe it wasn’t as good as I thought it was. Like I said, it’s Alejandro Villanueva Womens Jersey a bad habit of mine.

I’ve been doing this for as long as I can remember.  It didn’t matter that I’d booked showcases at SXSW & NXNE or that I’d signed with a great producer out of Memphis. No matter what I was accomplishing, I had a knack for undermining the progress of achieving my dreams with this crippling self-doubt that has been following me around all my life.

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But Alejandro Villanueva Youth Jersey as I was sitting at the keyboard this morning, I found myself fighting against it for the first time. It’s a slippery slope, that self-doubt. And up until today, I had never made an effort to resist it; I’d simply give into it until it disappeared, at which point I’d start again, having lost momentum and confidence and often valuable relationships.

This morning, however, I was fighting it for the first time, telling myself that it didn’t matter if it was objectively good enough. I had to remind myself that, first and foremost, I make music because it’s what I love to do.  Not to win Grammys or get rich (though, let’s be honest, both of those would be wonderful). And it worked.

I’ve finally found a way to silence that nasty little voice in my head that tells me I’m not good enough. I just have to remember that it’s not necessarily about being good enough. It’s not as though I’m going to stop writing music the minute people no longer want to listen. It’s not about other people. It’s about doing what makes me happy.

Finding the Magic

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A few years ago my husband and I bought a truck to pull our 5th wheel camper.  It was a bit of an older truck and needed some work done: specifically, the O2 and speed sensors needed to be replaced. One evening, my husband came home and, after learning I had replaced the parts that afternoon, the following exchange ensued:

Mr. LRF: “You’re just good at everything aren’t you?”

Me: “Hardly. I just don’t do things I’m no good at.”

I was thinking about this exchange today. It used to be a point of pride for me; if I did something, I did it reasonably well. All of my hobbies and interests were things I had a relatively adequate understanding of or ability for. But in thinking about what that really meant, I started to feel a little disappointed.

How many opportunities or experiences was I allowing myself to miss out on because I “don’t do things I’m not good at?” I’ve always thought of myself as someone who was rather open-minded; among other things, I’ve always identified as a free spirit (totally cliche, I know). But I realized that this may have been an area of my life I was overlooking. Lifestyles, cultures, ideologies: these are all areas where my inclination for adventure manifests itself easily. But in matters of personal pursuit, it’s been a completely different story.

I’m completely unwilling to be bad at things.

So, in an effort to address this unexamined part of my life, I’ve decided to make a commitment to myself. This year will be the year of making myself uncomfortable. I’m going to consciously seek out opportunities that lie well outside my comfort zone; I’m going to relish in being bad at things in the hopes of exploring new facets of life that have, until now, evaded me.

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What does that look like in my life, though?  I’ve narrowed it down to these three things:

  1. Writing one song a month in a different genre. I love folk/soul and adult alternative. It’s what comes naturally, what’s easiest for me.  However, I’d love to get to the point where I’m not just writing songs for myself but for other artists as well. Being able to write well in other Alejandro Villanueva Kids Jersey genres is a sure-fire way T.J. Watt Jersey to increase the number of opportunities available to me and may even reveal new areas of interest or sounds to incorporate in my personal projects.
  2. Finding a new hobby, specifically something I’m terrible at. I love design and visual art; I marvel at those people who can create pencil sketches that jump off the page or portrait art that’s so life-like you’d swear you were looking at a picture.  I have no delusions that I’ll ever be great at it but sometimes it’s not about becoming an expert. Some things are worth our time simply because they’re enjoyable.
  3. Focus on relationship building. I am incredibly introverted by nature. Though I’m no longer socially awkward and can engage with relative ease in social situations, they prove to be quite draining on my energy and I generally need time to myself immediately thereafter to recharge. When I play shows, I have to mentally prepare for my time opening and engaging with the audience and withdraw into myself afterward. As a result, my relationships outside of my family (they get it) tend to suffer. Do to the fact that being a performing musician forces me to engage on a regular basis, I don’t make an effort to do so outside of that realm. It’s uncomfortable. But I know that my neglect of my other professional and personal relationships surely has had a negative impact on my life and I’m determined to turn that around this year.

In the last few years, I’ve become much T.J. Watt Authentic Jersey more comfortable with myself than I’ve ever been; it’s one of my most treasured achievements. But just because I’m finally enjoying who I am, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t spend some time exploring the outer reaches of that self, in an effort to find some heretofore untapped well of enjoyment.  I’m interested in what these unexamined aspects of my life may turn up and excited about exercising some metaphorical muscles I’ve let languish up until now.

Security Is Overrated

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I am officially unemployed.

Up until this afternoon, I’d been working for a non-profit in San Antonio, managing their database.  When I decided to get another 9-5, I promised myself that it would be a means to an end.  I said that I would use my income to invest in myself and my music.

Fast forward two years and, somehow, it had T.J. Watt Womens Jersey become my security blanket. Rather than using it as a tool to accomplish my dreams, I had made the decision at some point to play it safe. I haven’t been to an open mic in almost a year. I haven’t booked a show in almost three. But the really scary part is that I didn’t even realize that this had happened until today.

Eight days ago, I suffered a third degree right ankle sprain and since then, I’ve been unable to drive to the office. Today they decided they could no longer hold my position and they let me go. Luckily, my husband and I aren’t dependent on my income, otherwise I may have ended up seeking their rental and utility assistance services immediately thereafter.

If I’m being honest, I’m a bit heartbroken over it. Even though I know the plan was never to make a career out of it–and I keep reminding myself that it was always supposed to be temporary–somehow I had let myself become emotionally invested in my work there. It was a great cause after all, that did a lot of good in the community, however I may feel about the organizational culture or management.

It’s also difficult because, as much as I thought I was an invaluable part of the team, I learned rather quickly that, no matter what you bring to the table, you’re always replaceable. When my supervisor broke the news to me, it was really hard to process. I had exemplary attendance and stellar annual reviews. I had just completed a database conversion project that should have taken a team and 6 months; I did it on my own and in less than two.  The fact that they could let me go so easily seemed almost cruel.

But it couldn’t have come at a better time. Like I said earlier, I had let the job sneak up on me and implant itself as a necessity in my life. And the truth of that revealed itself when, after being let go, I felt like I had T.J. Watt Youth Jersey lost something. Now that I have had the chance to sit with it for awhile, though, I realize that it was my ego that was feeling the loss; it had knocked me down a peg or two.

I also realized that this was a blessing in disguise (damn cliches–they’re so overused but apt all the same).

I think that, over the last two years, this job had found a way to blind me, or at the very least shift the majority of my focus away from what was really important to me. When people asked me what I did, my answer was no longer “singer-songwriter” or “musician” but T.J. Watt Kids Jersey “database administrator.” And while it satisfied my left-brained nature, it wasn’t satisfying to the soul. It didn’t pull me from my sleep the way a song does when it comes to me in my dreams.

My job had become an excuse to neglect my dreams. So, thank you, (insert organization here), for doing what I didn’t have the courage to do. Thank you for ripping that security blanket from my man-sized hands and setting me free.

Maybe I’ll write a song about it.

Style Swoon: Cutout Booties

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I don’t always wear sky-high heels, but when I do, I make sure it’s worth a sprained ankle.

You guys. I think I have a problem. I just discovered these things and I am completely obsessed. Not this Alexander Wang pair specifically, but this Cutout Bootie trend is rocking my world. I have acquired three pairs in the last few weeks and I cannot get enough. I need help.

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T.J. Watt Youth Jersey /> I might only be paying for T.J. Watt Kids Jersey three-quarters of a shoe but sometimes less is more, no?

These work with everything. Pencil skirt and blouse for the day job department meeting? Check. Ankle jeans and oversized sweater for running errands? Check. Date night with the Mister? Well, we haven’t had one of those in awhile, but if he every finally takes me to see The Revenant (I’m calling the Oscar for you, Leo, and I haven’t even seen it yet), I’ll be kicking these up on the back of an empty seat.

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I haven’t loved a trend like this in so, so long.  Admittedly, part of me is just happy that something I like happens to be generally appealing. But mostly, these are just so damned awesome.

Little Guy’s First Road Trip

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Visiting our friends who own Ozark Outdoors, the best river resort on the planet!

Well, we’re back in Ozark territory My husband hasn’t stopped talking about “going home” since we decided to make the trip a few weeks ago. A few years ago, we decided to move back to the area of his hometown, Sullivan, Missouri. After a year, he was itching to leave again.

Distance truly does make the heart grow fonder.

I don’t really know how that feels, missing home.  I was an army brat, so T.J. Watt Jersey they only thing that really felt like home was wherever my family happened to T.J. Watt Authentic Jersey be. The closest thing I’ve ever come to experiencing that sort of longing was when I left St. Lucia, my mother’s country, for the first time. I had only been there for a few weeks but it felt eerily familiar; it was a place of comfort for me almost instantly.

As far as Missouri goes, I will say, the landscape is incredible. Beautiful bluffs, crystal clear rivers, magnificent towering trees. It’s wonderful in that way. Unfortunately, I’m not built for cold weather and Missouri has that in spades.

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Wouldn’t you give anything to be sitting on that bench?

This was our first road trip with the little guy and, to my surprise, it wasn’t nearly as nerve-wrecking as I thought it would be. The dogs kept to themselves, BoogerButt was either sleeping or keeping himself occupied with his toys and we didn’t hit much traffic in Dallas.

By the way, I don’t know how anyone lives in Dallas. There’s always major construction underway. The traffic is perpetually terrible. The drivers are borderline insane.

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Meeting Grandpa Long for the first time.

But it’s nice to be back. Little guy had the chance to meet Grandpa Long for the first time and, before it’s all said and done, will get passed around the family Christmas party T.J. Watt Womens Jersey while Mommy enjoys her first glass of wine in nearly a year.

In all honesty, that’s pretty much the only reason I got in the car in the first place.

Digging Up Dreams

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This time last year, my dreams seemed dead and buried.  I’ve been working full-time for a non-profit and, though it’s something I’m good at and generally enjoy, it issn’t what I’ve been working for since I was 12.

I’ve known pretty much my entire life that I wanted to make music.  Even when my dad would tell me I was going to be a doctor so I could fix his heart when Alejandro Villanueva Authentic Jersey it broke (cute, I know), my dreams remained.  Even when everyone told me that I need to focus on finishing my engineering degree instead of packing up and moving to LA, my dreams remained.

So, it was an odd thing last year, when I realized my guitar was hanging lifeless on my wall, having been untouched for months.  I had a few melodies and lyrics saved in my phone that popped into my head in the shower or in line at the grocery store but, if I’m being honest, they were just taking up space.  It’s not as though I was doing anything with them. The days of writing 30 songs in 30 days were long gone.

If I’m being honest, I had finally succumb to my fear of failure.  It’s something I’ve battled with most of my life. I’ve been a perfectionist for as long as I can remember. In school, rather than turn in my tests early, I would sit with them until the last possible moment, going over and over each and every answer, to ensure I hadn’t missed anything. And that proved great for my GPA and SAT scores. In the world of music, this dream I’d been harboring for even longer, however, it’s damn near crippling.

Fast forward to September 24, 2015.  That’s the day my dreams were shocked back to life.  At 2:59am, my son entered the world and I became a completely different person.  All of the confidence, determination and resolve I had lost came flooding back to me in the first few moments of his life. I realized, almost instantly, that the best thing I could do to encourage my son to follow his wildest dreams was to follow mine.  I could never be Alejandro Villanueva Womens Jersey honest with him about the value of relentlessly pursuing your dreams if I couldn’t follow my own advice. He would never believe me when I said it would Alejandro Villanueva Youth Jersey all be worth it if I was able to give up so easily.

And so, the day my son was born, I found myself burying my fears and digging up dreams.