I failed. I'm glad. Here's to being me.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

A few months ago I was invited, last minute, to an audition and I, against my better judgment, said yes. I had but a week to prepare, I had another event that day, there really wasn't time, I was already exhausted by a spate of too many speaking engagements and a summer/fall of physical labor and countless everyday concerns, but I failed to say the right thing: No.

Instead, I gave my all (or the all I still had) to the job at hand, rushed to the audition at the break of one dawn, then rushed back to the event where I was actually supposed to be.

And then, in a mass, impersonal email, the invitation givers said no.

I could not, I realize, be more relieved.

I lost months in 2015—of time, of income, absolutely, but also of the solitude and the room I need to make better decisions. Over the past few days I've sat on the couch beneath a blanket doing what I love best—reading books and thinking about them, writing sentences of my own. In doing that, I've reclaimed some of the parts of me. Odd and imperfect as I most surely am, I discover that I've missed me.

There will be less of me out in the world in 2016. There will be more considered responses to last-minute invitations, requests, expectations. There will be me asking me, Do I really want this, and why, and how much do the people asking actually care about me, actually need or want specifically me, actually think of me as me (and not as a willing convenience), and will, at the end of all my effort, a mass, impersonal email await me?

It's up to me to make the choices.

I'm going to try to make the right ones.


Jeannine Atkins said...

Lovely. Sending quiet cheers for a nurturing 2016.

Patty Chang Anker said...

I needed to read this today. The world wants your creativity, energy, wisdom. Here's to nurturing the source.

Jennifer R. Hubbard said...

The only trick is to say yes when we want to, no when we need to.
It just takes a lifetime to learn. ;-D

Jenny Hoppins said...

Beth, may your failure be a gift for those who truly love and appreciate you. More time for yourself means a richer expression to come.

Beth Kephart said...

Thanks you, all of you.

I can tell how well you understand. Because you live this, too.

Victoria Marie Lees said...

But aren't we all odd and imperfect? I know I am. Breathe, my dear. We all need you, desperately. In fact, the world needs you desperately. All the best in 2016, Beth!

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