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'I'm Not Embarrassed by My Dream Anymore!'
Being imperfect out in the open is a necessary prerequisite for creating art.
Alligator Pears (1923) by Georgia O’Keeffe
You responded to my letter almost exactly a year ago and I wanted to send you an update. I went back and reread your letter this morning and had a deep, cathartic cry:
Your words stabilized me last year and gave me the strength to keep doing music through the embarrassment and shame and everything else that I had kicked up around myself.
You gave me so much insight into my relationship with my husband (as did your incredible book), and I realize now that he can’t see things in process like I can. He only “gets” the finished product. He doesn’t see the magical potential in scraps and pieces like I do. Now I show him completed, shiny products when I’m done with them and we’re both so much happier. I’ve also learned to ask for help from practical people and I indulge the magic parts by myself and with a select few people who get it.
The main thing I want to share with you is that I released my first song last Friday. My only expectation or hope was that at least a few people genuinely seem to connect with it and like it (which happened, yay!). I am creating for those people and not pool playing dude (this image lives permanently in my mind and I am very conscious that I am not creating for him). I feel so proud of myself. I, the uncool mom, released her first song at 39. I think I could have made the progress I have this year without your letter, but I’m not sure I would have. Here’s the link with no expectation that you’ll listen or respond: https://linktr.ee/lindadunnavant
I couldn’t let this milestone pass without sending you a note. Thank you x a million.
UGH. First I went back and read the column from a year ago and cried, then I read your letter and cried, and then I listened to your song and cried. So many tears! My dogs had to get up and check on me three times! Now they’re eyeing me suspiciously, waiting for the next dam to break!
What a clear, beautiful voice and what an amazing song. You must feel so proud! No wonder you carried a tape recorder around as a kid. You’re obviously a natural at this. Congratulations on pulling it all together and daring to share it with the world!
Just this morning, I was lying in bed thinking about how it’s time for me to finally get two big creative projects under way. I’m not *good* at either of these things. I don’t actually know how to do them. I’m embarrassed by one of them, and intimidated by the other one. But I need to push through those feelings and start anyway. I need to tolerate the uncertainty of doing things I’m bad at. I need to learn some new skills with an open heart.
I know how hard it must’ve been for you, to push through all of your fears and your shame. When you care way too much about something like music, it breaks your heart a little just to try, to drag your songs out into the light, to show other people something that you’re TRULY passionate about. It takes so much courage and patience with yourself to break through the fear and embarrassment and DO IT.
You should feel so proud of yourself. I feel so proud of you. And I’m so grateful to have played a tiny part in this!
Now I’m going to go listen to your song again. (Poor dogs.)
Send us more music when you have it!
Thanks for reading to Ask Polly! Are you struggling to create something that’s important to you? Write about it in the comments below, or send a letter to askpolly at protonmail.com. Remember, it’s not about making something that will impress someone else. It’s about falling in love with this day, and becoming who you are, out in the open.