Yesterday, Klee and I performed a two-hour set of our music in front of a packed house. About 10 minutes before we went on stage, I quit the band for the fourth time that day. Fear is an exciting thing and a great convincer to stay where you are even when you don’t want to.
In my case, staying where I was meant always wanting to perform music and put myself out there with it, yet not doing it. The irony is that I am someone who has written books based on putting yourself out there with the art that you create. I’ve spent years putting my art out there and facing all the criticism, rejection, and snide comments that could have stopped me. However, the one thing I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt was this, if I stopped and gave into my fear, I would regret not trying.
It’s not easy. I’ve announced quitting my art career at least a thousand times over the last decade. Whenever things didn’t work out, or the lack of money represented failure, I wanted to quit. Whenever I entered something new and unfamiliar, I wanted to quit. Whenever something seemed impossible, I wanted to quit. I’m good at quitting something. I can come up with just about any excuse.
“I’m not ready.”
“I need more time.”
“This will never work out.”
“I don’t have what it takes.”
“I never finish what I start.” and so on.
Luckily for me, I didn’t quit. I stubbornly kept going and would sign up for things even though I didn’t feel ready.
Yesterday, my heart started racing in the morning. I couldn’t catch my breath, and my hands were shaking. The concert was 7 hours away, and I did not feel ready to play 20 songs, 5 of which were brand new. Not only was I emotionally falling apart, but physically, I could not function properly.
“How the hell am I supposed to play guitar? I quit!” I exclaimed, and then I went into a panic attack. Klee told me to breathe through it. I did. My body slowly calmed down.
This happened several times throughout the day. My brain was also figuring out ways to get out of going. However, I knew I was going through with it no matter how brilliant my excuses were. Eventually, I ended up on stage, announced that I had quit the band four times that day, and played some music.
Whether people like me, my music, or anything doesn’t matter. What ultimately matters is that I did it. It is one small step past the fear. Next time, I’ll still want to quit the band and have a bunch of excuses not to do whatever it is. Just because you face a fear doesn’t mean you are not afraid anymore, it just means it will be ever-so-slightly less scary the next time.
That is courage. Being scared shitless and doing it anyhow.
Facing fear can be one of the most daunting and difficult things we ever have to do. But it’s also one of the most rewarding. When we face our fears, we open ourselves up to new possibilities and experiences we never thought possible. The key is to remember that fear is natural, and it’s something that everyone experiences. It’s not something to be ashamed of or something that should hold us back. Instead, it’s something to be embraced and conquered. So, don’t let fear stop you from pursuing your dreams. Just take a deep breath and face it head-on. You’ll be surprised at just how capable you truly are.
Fear wants to keep you in a familiar place that is predictable. However, life is unpredictable and requires persistence and courage to make the most of it.
So, as we head out into this new year, remember all the awesome fears you have faced and how far you have come.
Love you all!
What is a fear you would like to face in 2023?