Tonight in my journal I wrote the following:
I return to the mat tonight. In this case, I don't know if "mat" means the yoga mat or the wrestler's mat. The mat of the restful discipline. The mat of the fight. The mat where we experience fullness of life. Yes. and all of the above.
As I type this there are nine days till my first graduate school audition.
If you've spent some time here, you know this is not my first time around the block with graduate school auditions.
In many ways, this is so. much. better. Actually, in ALL the ways, this is so much better than last year.
I am more well-rested. I have fewer things going on in the periphery. There is just this one thing. And I am singing better than I ever have, and I have a quiet confidence somewhere deep down in my soul, buried underneath all the worry I feel like I should have --
Its roots are thin, but strong.
You know, in the mornings, I can't listen to soundtracks, but in the evenings, I love to turn one on while I journal or write or dance around my room to Baroque vocal music (you heard me).
I gotta tell y'all, this has been a good week for my singing, but today was not a great practice day. I couldn't focus. I was scatterbrained and absorbed in my two social media of choice. In my phone in general, actually. I just -- I don't know; I couldn't focus, couldn't get my mind on the singing, and I couldn't get my voice to go to exactly the right place.
Oh, it was close, and a lot of the times it got there. It just wasn't as consistent as I wanted it to be.
Really, I think that's my story. The things I'm disappointed in weren't bad. They just weren't everything I wanted them to be.
What a terrific pressure to put on something. On yourself.
The last couple of Thursdays have been a little weird. Last week I was hanging out with my friend Paige, and I ended up spilling my guts to her in an unanticipated way. I just needed to tell someone how I was feeling.
On the way home I called my daddy. I just needed to talk.
Today is weird, too, mostly because of the weird practice.
I have to tell you: I don't feel like I'm doing enough.
It is a frantic fear, clawing at my insides, searching for a way to get out.
It is breathless.
Its nails are short, but they scrape.
All the while I'm trying to just calm down. Lower my shoulders. Do a good job. Never let them see you crack.
Never let them see that you are not enough.
Sometimes I'm nervous that I'm prideful.
Other times I know that I'm ashamed.
I am terrified.
I am terrified that suddenly everyone will wake up and see that I am not what I have pretended to be.
And honestly, most of the time, I really am not sure that I'm pretending. Most of the time I feel like I'm being pretty genuine.
But I am convinced that if They knew what I was really like...
In a heartbeat.
In the twinkling of an eye.
I am hiding because I am so afraid.
Today the slight fear gnawed at me that because I stopped my practice short today, I will never get into graduate school. That I'm stuck in this rut forever. That I never really had what it took.
The other night I was talking to some sweet sisters in Jesus, new-to-me friends. And they were so kind and accepting and asked such loving questions that I was convinced that they could only be humoring. No one could want to hear me talk about music or the things I like to do that much.
They had to have been joking.
I remember one of my best friends sang a song from a musical about being asked out as a joke. That is an excellent metaphor for how I feel about the world.
That it couldn't really want me.
That it's all just a mean hoax.
That one day I'll look over my shoulder, and the veil will be lifted, and all I will see is people laughing at me.
Now, objectively, y'all, I think I'm a pretty cool person! I think I'm pretty and that I sing beautifully and that I do good work, that I'm smart and creative and funny and interesting, that I think deeply and have something to say, that I have talent and gifts and something to offer.
But that's objectively. And I am terrified.
Let me be the first to tell you that I deeply believe in my heart that no guy that I'm ever interested in could ever possibly want me.
I can't tell you why I feel that way. But I believe it.
From my daily practice to my walk with Jesus, I am afraid that I am not enough.
But somewhere underneath the panicky simmering of the fear there is a stillness of the water.
It is clear and blue and cool, and the light shines through it.
It is placid, as if the fog rose above it in an English morning. And above it all shines the sun.
Silver + gold.
Somewhere underneath the fear there is this comforting whisper:
It's going to be fine.
The word that keeps coming back to me as I prepare for audition season is gentle. I hear the Holy Spirit whispering to me, Sara, be gentle with yourself. Be kind. You are doing the best you can.
He reminds me that it's okay to be a human.
I don't have to be a machine. I don't have to be efficient all the time.
If I only get two pieces done that day --
Gah, I remember a time when two pieces in a day was a good day's work. What happened to my brain along the way, that it started seeing that as not enough?
I show up to the mat, but I am afraid that my showing up is not enough, either.
Not enough to get me what I want.
And when I typed that I realized how silly it was:
I'm not enough, guys.
I cannot describe to you the transformation in my singing that's taken place since July -- heck, even in the last month and a half of my life. My teacher says I'm a different singer than I was even a few weeks ago.
And all I did was show up to the mat six days a week.
Tell myself it didn't have to be perfect today.
And it's still not.
I am a walking, living, breathing miracle (who drinks more tea than any human should be allowed to consume).
Look at what God has done --
when all I did was show up.
I've been reading psalms recently about telling about the deliverance of the Lord.
Well, y'all, let me tell you -- have I ever been delivered.
The year I thought would be the worst of my life is shaping up to be the best. I am learning new rhythms of my life. I am learning to rest well. I am in wonderful physical shape, I have learned new things about my own body and voice, and I am singing better than I ever have in my life.
This is all in the year I thought would be terrible because I didn't get what I wanted.
Look at what God has done.
I am a miracle who is walking around with two feet and two small hands and long blonde hair.
I am not enough, but look at what God has done with Not Enough.
He made her into a miracle.
During audition season, Thursdays will be the evenings I drive to Dallas before I take the plane out to Wherever-the-Heck on Friday mornings.
It's Audition Trip Eve. Next Thursday I will be in exactly that position.
I want my heart to believe. To have some hope. To look up and see the goodness of the Lord.
I want to believe that I will see what I have never seen before.
But even my belief is not enough.
But Jesus knows that, and He loves me, and He tells me that whether I believe it or not, it's going to be fine.
Because look at what He has done with not enough.
More importantly: He loves me.
And the love keeps me safe and warm.
It is gentle and kind to me when I am not kind to myself, and it is that Love with a capital L that reminds me that deep down, where the stillness is, that I'm okay, and that it's okay if I don't feel like enough, because He has been enough for me.
And He has done the miracle.
So in this audition season, I will be kind to myself. I will be gentle with not just my voice and my body, but also with my soul.
I will give myself some grace. This is a big thing I'm about to do.
And it's going to be fine.