On Wednesday I attended a local author event. I’d been invited to come speak and sell/sign books.
It was just me.
As in, the organizer wasn’t there, and the audience had better things to do.
I sat alone in the room for twenty minutes and then I went home and had a glass of wine with my husband and thought, “Maybe I suck.”
I’ve thought about it, and I’m pretty sure I don’t suck. I’m no Pulitzer prize winner, but I can tell a story. I can entertain you, maybe even make you laugh or cry. My books have done fine. I even bought myself a car with the proceeds.
So, nope, I don’t suck.
In retrospect, it’s very clear to me that the sponsoring organization did zero in terms of advertising and promotion. I don’t necessarily hold this against them – they are chronically underfunded and overworked. And perhaps they believed people actively study their website calendar and my BIG name would carry the day.
Sadly, I couldn’t compete with the first real week of spring. I didn’t want to be inside either and was secretly relieved when it turned out to be a bust and I could retire to my deck and my dogs.
The day before I posted a video about how I have learned to let go of the fear of making a fool of myself.
So one more foolish moment is really nothing.
In fact, I consider my ability to be fine with looking foolish to be my superpower. A power that was hard-won because I have spent a lifetime trying to live up to ridiculous expectations I placed on myself.
Here’s what I’ve spent decades learning:
No one is always right.
No one always says the right thing, and certainly not at the right time.
In fact, many times we say stupid things, embarrassing things, thoughtless things that unintentionally offend or hurt.
No one looks beautiful and poised and confident every time they step into the public eye. Everyone has bad hair days. (Except Ian, my son who has alopecia areata.)
No one is a wild success at everything they attempt.
We all mess up.
Every one of us has moments when we shine and plenty when we don’t.
And that’s okay.
It’s not a race. And we don’t have to win.
Most of us suck from time to time, but not all the time.
In fact, I’d wager that’s what makes us interesting.
The greatest heroes are the ones who are flawed. I’m partial to The Tick, but the best stories are filled with them, all the way back to King David.
Letting go of the fear of not being perfect has freed me up to let my writing take me places I’d previously been afraid to go. Not worrying about what others think about me is tremendously freeing. It’s allowed me to not only go to the grocery store without lipstick in my ratty barn shoes, but to say and do things that come from the deep dark me-ist parts of me.
As I drove home from my failed signing event with the top down on my convertible on that beautiful night, I thought, “Someday there will be a line out the door at my signing events.”
And if there isn’t?
I’m okay with that too.
Because that has no bearing on who I am.
And more than that, I know with great certainty, that I don’t suck.