What have I gotten myself into? About a month back I received an invitation to an event for Cincinnati creatives. My first reaction…well I don’t know how these people got my name but I’m certainly NOT one of those people. Me…a creative? No way. I didn’t delete the email, but I didn’t immediately clear my social calendar either. A few days later I found myself re-reading the invitation, slightly intrigued, but still certain that I had mistakenly received this invite. I researched the host group, an amazing group of people out of Chicago called STORY, and became even more intrigued – and more convinced that I would not be going. The whole thing worked in my brain for a few days and I mentioned the event to Brian. His automatic response was “Well, you’re going, right?” For a week he asked me – often – if I had registered yet. I finally caved and registered. Waves of doubts and fears instantly rushed over me. What does one do at a creative meet-up? Have I ever been to a social mixer? I’m not a creative, I’m just a middle-aged school teacher who writes songs and sings. And then I made the mistake of looking at the list of the “others” who had registered for this event. Oh wow…more waves. More anxiety about walking into a luncheon by myself and feeling insecure about why I’m even there.
I truly believe timing is everything. My teaching pastor, Joe Boyd, recently tweeted about a book by one of his close friend, Todd Henry, called The Accidental Creative. (I have mentioned this book in another posting). Intrigued even more after seeing Joe interview Todd about creativity, I began reading the book. Here’s why I’m going to walk into my meet-up, mixer, luncheon tomorrow like I belong…I do belong! I AM one of those creative types. I am a songwriter, a singer, a writer, a blogger. My thoughts and ideas and creations were put in me by the ultimate creator. I have just as much right to be there as anyone else on the guest list. I may not have a big title, or run my own business, or any of that, but I do create and I do have a lot to share with the world. I am still nervous about going tomorrow – what will I wear, where will I sit, will anyone talk to me – kind of first day of school stuff – but I am more excited about the opportunity to learn more about myself and others at this event. I am ready to meet up with more people like me – the creative type!
Just over 6 months ago, Faith Passage played our first live show. I can still remember those feelings that accompanied that debut performance. We had only been writing music for a few months, had never played in front of an “audience”, and yet we were going for it. I remember those feelings that led up to that first song. They were feelings of fear, anxiety, self-doubt, excitement, and happiness – pretty much in that order. We did it though, and we were both so proud reaching a goal that we had set for ourselves. Tonight we are scheduled to play at Offering’s Cafe in Hamilton. We have played there many times and always have a lot of fun! As I go through my day today, I’m thinking about the show and my feelings compared to our very first show. The nerves are gone. I am no longer filled with the fear and anxiety. I think that the biggest reason for this is because we have grown in our style and our confidence and really know what to expect. I also feel like I have gotten over the self-doubt that I originally had when we would perform. I have truly come to realize and appreciate the fact that it’s NOT about us. Brian and I – Faith Passage – formed so that we could share the talents that God has given us. We love the chance to share our message and our faith and our music. We may not hit every note or every chord – but we do what we do with hearts full of God and a passion to share his love. So, no nerves or anxiety here…just excitement and happiness for the chance to meet new people and share our music.
This past year was my first year as a classroom teacher. A few years ago I decided to follow my heart and went back to school to become a teacher. I taught at a public school of choice (charter school) in Dayton. All teachers know that the first year is a rough one…and mine was no exception. I was in over my head…teaching 5 grade levels, 6 different bells, no plan period, very limited resources, and extremely challenging students. For the first few months I cried every day. Every day drained me of my passion for teaching and made me question my decision. The workload was overwhelming, but more than that…these kids needed so much more than what I had to give. I needed to be a social worker, a guidance counselor, a therapist, a probation officer, and a parent. I could not relate to the things they were dealing at their young ages. Mid-year, I had decided that there was no way that I could do this another year. I was completely drained physically and emotionally. I just couldn’t do it. But then something changed. I’m not even sure that I know exactly when that change took place…but I know it did. I began to not try and “fix” them…to stop trying to save the world. I simply began to listen to them….whenever and whatever. I learned that for the most part many of them just need to be heard. They need someone to listen to them and to validate their thoughts and feelings. Once I changed, I started to see a change in them. We began to develop a trust and confidence in each other. And once this trust and bond formed, big things started to happen. By the end of the school year, I couldn’t imagine NOT coming back to my school and my students. Looking back, I’m quite certain that I learned a lot more than my students did in that first year.