It never fails. No matter how rehearsed I am, no matter the size of the crowd or the venue I'm playing...the moment before I step on stage feels unbearably tortuous. In that moment, fear rushes through my soul and my fight or flight signals me to run... run away from the possibility that people might not like my music, my songwriting, my clothes, my hair, or all of me. I want to run because I'm vulnerable and scared to open myself up to criticism. I want to run because it would just be so much "easier" to wrap up this dream of mine and go home. But in that moment, I don't run. I take a moment to breathe, to remind myself that following my dreams is scary and risky and part of the journey. In that moment, I remind myself that I'm doing what I love because I'm doing what I LOVE...and that is reward and reason enough to risk a little failure.
The Moment After...
And without fail, the story always goes that I force my trembling legs onto the stage, I pick up my guitar, I breathe and I summon the courage to strum my first chord. And the story always goes that within seconds, the fear subsides and I am overcome with love and passion and excitement to share my music with the crowd. And the story always goes that some people love what I do and some people don't. Such is the nature of life, after all. Not everyone will love you or what you do. Realizing that sets you free. But ultimately, at every show, there are people willing to listen, to support and to celebrate my music and my dream. And without fail, at the end of every show, my heart is filled with gratitude, love and joy. I've never been sorry that I didn't give up on myself. I've never been sorry that I summoned the courage to face my fears. I've never been sorry that I didn't run away.
I hope that you have a dream that terrifies you, my Loves! I hope that you have the courage to risk failure and criticism. I hope you have the strength and determination to believe in yourself, no matter what other people say. On your journey toward your dream, when you have that gut-wrenching moment of fear and you want to run, DON'T. You are not alone. I'm here and I'm just as scared as you are.