Fear. Shame. Perfectionism. Wholeheartedness.

I’ve been thinking about these things lately. Or rather, these things have been smacking me upside the head lately.

Last Friday I auditioned for Listen To Your Mother in Austin. It was an incredible experience. I’ve heard other people say that; you probably have, as well. I didn’t fully understand until I experienced it. Gigi talks about her audition here, and The Empress tells her story here. Their words ring true for me, too.

I started writing for real – and by for real, I mean publicly and with commitment – almost a year ago. Before that I was a Writer-In-Hiding. Afraid I wasn’t good enough, afraid of rejection, afraid of hurting someone I love. So putting myself out there, standing on a stage, reading something I wrote was exhilarating and terrifying and validating.

Going in I was simply excited to meet two women I admire, Wendi Aarons and Jennifer Sutton (@thesearenewdays). Walking out I realized it was a bit more than that.

Understatement of the year.

I walked in overtired and raw. How fitting, as I was there to audition for a show about the trenches of motherhood. I spent most of last week wallowing in those trenches, taking care of sick kids and juggling the myriad other tasks and obligations on our calendar. After several near-sleepless nights, I was edgy. Exhausted.

It was also fitting that I was there to read a story about my oldest, about his heartbreak and my heartache. Friday happened to be the day of his fifth birthday party. It was divine, I thought, that on a day when we were to celebrate him, I was telling a piece of our story. His and mine. Together. Almost exactly five years to the day from when our story began, I was celebrating our life together though story. And through birthday cake.

As of this writing I don’t know the results of the auditions. Ann Imig, LTYM creator and director of the Madison show, explains the casting process from a director’s point of view. It’s not cut and dried. I have few expectations. Don’t get me wrong, there will be one hell of a happy dance if I’m in the cast. But if I’m not, that’s okay, too.

It will be okay, because I left feeling bouyed. Feeling challenged. Wendi and Jennifer looked me in the eye and said (I’m paraphrasing here, as I didn’t take my little reporter’s notebook and tape recorder with me to the audition), Get out there. Submit your writing. What do you have to lose?

My story, validated. My writing, encouraged.

And I am so grateful for that experience.

As I walked away, I had what you might call an aha moment. I tend to think of them more as Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. moments. So there’s more to this story, and you can read about it here, on the Studio 30Plus Magazine. (Like how I did that? Subtle, right?)

A note:

I wrote this post, and the one for Studio 30Plus, over the weekend. Last night, Sunday, I picked up Brene´ Brown’s book, The Gifts of Imperfection, and sat there with my mouth open.

I’ve heard Ms. Brown speak before. You may remember that her talk is where a lot of my energy around kicking fear to the curb, and embracing authenticity, came from. The book goes into depth about what it means to embrace Wholeheartedness. It talks about why doing things like auditioning for LTYM is key to accepting ourselves.

It’s good stuff. I once again recommend that you read and watch Ms. Brown.

I wonder…

:: Do you have a story about a time you kicked fear to the curb?

:: Have you ever stepped outside yourself and done something uncomfortable? What was the result?