I appreciate all the messages I got yesterday about my blog post.
If you didn't read it, scroll back if you want, it's there.
One person left their message right on the blog.
That person, and you can read this as well if you scroll back, said that maybe the last two lines were a bit strong.
I want to say something about that because I thought about it all the rest of the day.
(I also want to say that I received texts, instagram messages, twitter messages, emails, and facebook comments and messages about the post on my blog yesterday...and ideally....all these people would write their comment on this blog because then we all see each other's comments...all of which were brilliant helpful and greatly appreciated by me...not one was the same as another...and would benefit all who read this blog..put your comment here if and when you can friends and fans.)
So the last two lines yesterday were something about how I would never let myself or my audience down ever again.
Okay, well, too far reaching.
Of course I will fall off the stage some night and break my leg.
Of course I will lose my voice and cancel.
Of course I will start crying over one of the songs and not be able to finish.
And of course I will have unforeseen problems and mistakes and disasters.
Hopefully most of these things will never happen, but none are absolutely impossible.
What I want to promise is that I will never take off my choir robe, walk out alone without saying anything to anyone, and never ever return for the rest of my life, like I did to the choir director and the choir and the church.
Let me remind you and myself again of the Brenee Brown book I wrote about in a past blog post.
She has the book called Daring Greatly and she has the second book called Rising Strong.
Rising Strong is the one where you fall on your face in the arena and you stand back up with the dirt on your face.
And then what?
I was talking to my middle child, the magnificent and illusive Ava Vaughn Yasmineh, who is a champion equestrian like her grandmother and great grandmother before her (I was the disappointment because the horses made me wheeze).
Ava has great pride.
She has disappeared after compromising situations in her life from time to time.
She had a situation at her work recently where she didn't want to ever go back, she wanted to just give up and quit.
I was telling her about the Brenee Brown Rising Strong concept and all of a sudden I realized that Ava is the one person you can say "fall down in the arena" and she doesn't think of it as some gladiator metaphor.
She was picturing the thousands of times as a horsewoman that she actually was thrown from her horse, actually did fall down in the horse arena, actually did stand up with the dirt on her face, actually did have to hobble across the dirt floor in front of the spectators to gather her horse, calm her horse, get back up and do the jumping course again.
When I told Ava that I thought she could build a new self image by going back to her office, asking for a meeting with her team, sitting in front of them and saying that she was sorry she let them down, because that was Rising Strong, she cried.
And she did it.
And she just got a big bonus this month.
Okay, so, that's what I can promise.
I may fall in the arena again as a performer, as a writer, as a songwriter, as a person.
But I promise to return and do whatever I have to do to regain the trust and confidence of myself and others.
Oh damn! That's big!
I love it.
Didn't I already tell you the story of my youngest child Jordan, my son, and his Rising Strong failed moment?
I'll add it here because it fits in.
Jordan had no brothers and his father was very worried about failure.
So, obviously, was his mother.
Jordan didn't have many Rising Strong tools in his tool case of life as a boy.
He played Lacrosse for a while.
He was good at it.
He tried hard.
One day he got hit really hard by an opponent's stick, right in his chest.
He was knocked off his feet.
Nina and I were at the game, along with many other parents.
We saw it happen.
He definitely got hit really hard.
He lay on his back, not moving, and the coaches ran out onto the field.
I was a divorced mother with a big Scarlet Letter on me in that community by then.
I was afraid to do anything wrong, afraid I'd embarrass my son more than I already had by just being me.
I didn't run out onto the field.
Nina and I just stood on the sidelines praying he was okay, not sure what to do.
He didn't get up.
Another mother beelined over and said, "Get out there! You're his mother!"
I ran out then, thinking that I had no sense of timing that was ever right with these people.
I bent down, my son was conscious.
The coaches said that they'd called an ambulance and it was coming.
I spoke to my boy and he responded.
Nina and I both crouched beside Jordan as the ambulance pulled up on the field and everyone gathered around us.
They said my son might have broken bones so they secured his neck and then put him on a stretcher.
I called his father who worked as a doctor at the nearby hospital and he said he would meet us in the emergency room when we got there.
I rode in the ambulance and Nina took the car home, she was old enough to drive then.
At the hospital we went through a bunch of tests and in the end my son was pronounced totally fine.
He seemed relieved, I was relieved as anyone could ever be, his father went back to work.
Nina came and got us and we all got ice cream on the way home.
All's well that ends well.
Jordan did finish his season with his team but didn't go on the play more Lacrosse.
The end of this story comes when I recently used the Rising Strong concept to talk to my son about the job he's in now, his first post college big real job.
I was telling about falling down in the arena and getting the dirt on your face.
We were talking about being ashamed of your failure.
We were saying that you don't want to stand back up, you can't see how you will be able to stand up and face everyone with the dirt of your failure on your face.
And that's when my son asked me if I remembered when he got the wind knocked out of him in Lacrosse.
I said of course I remembered.
He told me then that he had always known that he was fine physically.
He knew he could have stood up.
But he was so ashamed that he had fallen.
He was so ashamed that he had laid there on his back on the ground and held up the game, so embarrassed by that, that he felt he had to play it out completely and let the ambulance come and let everyone think he might have a broken neck.
He didn't know how to save face any other way.
We both said it was a very hard time in our lives because we had the shame of divorce already on us right then, in a fairly conservative community where nobody and I mean nobody got divorced.
A lot of failures.
A lot of shame.
A lot of caring what the other people think.
You can't hope to save face.
And you can't think that you have to commit Harakiri out of shame.
What we all have to do is find a way to address the failure.
We have to find a way to recommit to the path.
We have to restore our belief in ourselves and the belief others have in us and begin again.
We have to do this day in and day out throughout our lives.
Why is this such a big deal to me?
It's a big deal to me because my Dad disappeared when he failed and I never saw him again.
He disappeared after I ran away.
If you want that story, read my first novel.
My brother disappeared rather than struggle with mental illness within the community of his extended family.
I have not been part of a healthy network of humans ever in my life.
But I am now.
And we will fall down and we will rise again and we will help each other up.
My best wishes to you today and every day.