Can I back up a minute?
Can I post something else today?
Here's what I want to tell you: two weeks ago my youngest had a very important audition. The fact that it even came about was nothing less than a miracle. It wasn't something she asked for or even anticipated.
It fell into her life like a star shooting from heaven.
She held it in her hands with wonder. And a good deal of fear. This stuff only happens to other people, doesn't it? Like in the movies? Her questions caught me off guard.
I am a master of self-doubt, prone to view the miracles in my life as accidents--meant for someone else because I'm not deserving enough to receive them. Why? Back when I was not much older than my daughter I remember having one of the best days of my life. Everything was going well. I enjoyed a run of success in my schoolwork--things I hadn't before understood that finally came into view--and I'd recently made friends with several kids who enriched my life immeasurably. I asked my mother, "Why is this happening to me--all this good stuff?" Her response was simple and to the point: I don't know. She shrugged her shoulders and walked away.
I stood on the back porch steps and felt like a fool. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb! The impression left by my mother was that it was all an accident and I was a fool to think anything good could be intended for me. I've carried that experience around with me ever since.
Back to my own daughter. Her audition went well, better than expected. When the doors closed behind us she was overjoyed. She'd done the thing she never imagined possible. She'd conquered her fear and come out victorious. She wanted to jump and shout right there in the hallway. I told her no, let's wait until we get outside. Why? Ghosts from my past cast shadows I felt powerless to dispel. By the time we left the building she was feeling the phantoms of self-doubt herself. She didn't jump. She didn't shout.
Last Friday, I completed my YA manuscript. It's been six long months of agonizing over whether or not I was writer enough to do it, to finish what had been burning in my heart, but what had been held down by fear. Fear of failure. Fear of not measuring up as a writer. Fear of so many things I can't even name them all. When the finished novel was ready to go and I hit send I didn't jump. I didn't shout. Why?
I feel joy for myself. I feel joy for my daughter. Why is it so hard to let it out? Still, after all these years? I don't want it to be. I want to be able to celebrate, and so this morning I'm making a choice: chase away self-doubt.
As soon as my daughter wakes up we're going to make this the best day of our lives. The first of many.
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