I Am Finally Free to Outgrow the Spaces That Tried to Restrain Me
When I was younger, there was a group of musicians I used to look up to. We were the same age, but they more “successful” than me, so if they had an opinion on something I made, I took it as fact. The problem was: I ended up spending years trying to bend my art to get their praise. Why? Because they were the ones who were getting the opportunities I wanted.
When they told me I was singing the “wrong” way or my lyrics were too cheesy, I listened. When one of them unfollowed me on Twitter, I am embarrassed to admit that I spent days trying to figure out which tweet was the one that sent them away.
Intellectually, I knew that I shouldn’t “care what other people think,” but when people from this group were routinely selected for the same opportunities I was vying for, I couldn’t help but focus on what I was doing wrong.
It took years of trying and failing to fit into their group before eventually, I got so tired that I wanted to give up. I tucked all of my fears of failure inside until finally, I couldn’t hold it in any longer.
Eventually (and gradually) I realized I needed to let my art be what it needed to be, and decided that I would use creativity to practice finding peace.
And I knew I had grown when those lies of not being good enough crept into my mind and I kept writing, anyway. I kept singing, anyway. I kept painting. I kept making.
There are still days where I overthink it. There are still moments where I am afraid to take up space with what I make for fear of what people might say. But I know I’m growing when I look back on the week and find, despite those fears, I kept creating, anyway. I kept drawing out of the lines. I kept finding ways to connect and serve, even when I didn’t feel good enough. I practiced generosity. I learned to outgrow an old space while remaining rooted in grace.