Doubts Kills Dreams
After a wonderful weekend of inspiring conversation with a visiting performer about future compositions, my mind swirled with excitement. Doubt, however, swirled through my thoughts like a thick layer of cinnamon in a cinnamon bun. It flavored all my dreams.
I do love cinnamon buns, and sometimes I think we artists love our doubts. Maybe we think they keep us safe from rejection, failure, or worse, mockery?
Nevertheless, they kill dreams.
A Journal Entry
I opened my journal today to record significant moments from our conversations and ran across this former entry from June 23, 2016, long forgotten, not expecting to confront my buried doubt. It read:
I was listening to songs from musicals this morning on YouTube, getting ready to pursue my dream of rewriting my show (“The Soul Felt Its Worth”) and of getting it on Broadway. It has no original songs–well, maybe one silly thing–because I’m not a composer, so I need to find out how to do them. I listened for quite a while to different songs, but suddenly, my focus was brought to the stream of comments that had just passed through my head.
My mind came to an abrupt stop when I then heard: what do you hear?
I thought, what? Where did that voice come from? I stepped back to refocus; all I had heard was negative. Negative. Negative. Negative. It was a revelatory moment to realize that all that negativity truly did pass through me like a conquering enemy army marching into town as I consider a new project.
“I can’t do that, I can’t write songs, I’m awful at writing songs, every song I’ve tried has failed, is dorky, or stupid, Broadway? You’re full of yourself….”
No joke. That was my stream of thought. Have you been there?
I clicked on the Tony Award YouTube video, “The Opening,” and watched the opening playback. My dream of a successful rewrite slowly faded away in sight of the excellence of that show.
Then the announcer, speaking about the Tony Award, said, “Don’t ask if it would be. It absolutely could be.”
My eyes widened. It felt like somebody was listening in on my thoughts. Almost immediately, tears took over. I felt enormous confirmation for my goals, which I had held in serious doubt.
I closed YouTube and decided to record that comment for future encouragement. When I opened my DayOne Journal, where there is a provided quote for the day, I was once again shocked to read:
“You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.” ~Stephen King
“It Ain’t Over Yet”
I have long since learned to not dismiss such encounters as coincidence. And I’m not saying I’ll win a Tony or a Grammy or anything. Who knows, but trust me, I didn’t grow up wishing for one or ever thinking of myself capable of such “fantasy.” I mean, even five years later after this 2016 revelatory encouragement, I haven’t done a rewrite.
Still, “it ain’t over yet.” It seems like we may not know ourselves as well as we think. Perhaps we need to trust the still, small voice unshrouded in doubt that can truly see us.
It is this revelatory experience that strengthens me again today to step up with confidence into the next level. I am stronger than in 2016 because I have stepped out on the water several times and didn’t drown. My hope is that you, too, will be empowered to move into unimaginable explosions of creativity that serve to set people free…as you have been freed.
End Artistic Attrition
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