#TruthBooking: What's holding you back?
From going all in on your dream.
From being present in your life.
From giving your wild idea a chance.
From actualizing your goal instead of beating yourself up for failing.
From believing you have the right to take up space.
From taking off your masks and walking as yourself in the world.
I see you.
You carry audacious hopes for your life that you almost never utter out loud to anyone.
You're a master at keeping it together when your insides feel like they're coming apart.
You live with deep pain, trauma, and wounds that won't heal, no matter how hard you've prayed, or how many hours you've spent in therapy.
You see clear, palpable pictures of who you are meant to be, but that woman seems like a stranger to you.
You've been trying to fit in your whole life, only you never feel like you belong.
You believe at your core you are messed up, broken, damaged, or unlovable, that you are all at once too much and never enough.
You fear if anyone ever really saw you, they would run, ridicule, or reject you.
I hear you.
I am not a guru of any kind. I boast no letters of pedigree after my name. I do not purport to have the answers nor do I believe you need fixing. But I can offer this one truth every one of us longs for: You are not alone.
If you recognize yourself depicted above, I see you and I hear you because I am you. Until very recently, this has been my view, my experience of myself ever since I can recall. Perhaps you relate to only a statement or two, cause let's be real: We each carry our own unique selves in the world. In fact, I am not you and you are not me, yet when we peel back the layers we'll find we are more alike than different. Not you, not me, but we. Every one of us shares the same basic human emotions. I see you. I hear you.
The fancy red carpet picture here? That's me going all in on my dream and giving my wild idea a chance. It's me finally, (finally!) championing all that I am as more vital than anything I lack.
The photo was taken a couple weeks ago at a conference called the Mom 2.0 Summit. I've wanted to go for years but was afraid. Afraid of putting myself out there. Afraid of being rejected by capable, beautiful, powerful women who have their shit together. Afraid they'd find out I don't have mine together. Afraid I'd have to talk to people. Afraid of breaking the mold and trying something unconventional with my music, writing, and influence. Afraid of taking up space. Fear had its way for far too long.
But as it turns out, I recently decided I am no longer willing to entertain fear unless it's death/safety related. When fear inevitably comes along for the ride in my story these days, I follow Elizabeth Gilbert's advice: Fear can have a seat and a voice but fear is never allowed to vote and never allowed to drive. (Real talk: Occasionally I'll wake up in the trunk and realize fear tied me up and hijacked the vehicle. In this case I do some super awesome girl ninja moves like radical self-care or asking for help or talking to my therapist or sometimes I even need meds and that's cool, too. As soon as my wits are about me again, I open up a can of whoop-ass and remind fear of their recent demotion to passenger.)
So I bought a ticket to the 2019 Mom 2.0 Summit .
While I was there, I showed up as myself and brought my heart. I stood in my story with my feet on the ground, heart open, eager to learn new things. This was easier written than done. I walked around with my shit utterly apart, and somehow managed to still make friends- incredible new friends. My main goal for my time at Mom 2.0 was to have meaningful, real connections with others, and to be myself in those conversations. In addition, I wanted to leave as many exchanges as possible feeling I gave each person the gift of being present with them and reflecting their value and worth, as opposed to only taking something for myself.
It is not an exaggeration to say I had a fantastic experience, one that exceeded all my expectations. I left my masks at home and embodied myself, daring to take up the space I deserve, and something truly remarkable happened. Those powerful, capable, beautiful women reflected my value and worth back to me, they unexpectedly held up a mirror. That was the part I never saw coming, the hidden gift. Because when I saw myself? I recognized her, and knew she was no longer a stranger. In the reflection I could clearly see the palpable picture of who I am meant to be, who I already am, who I've actually always been, looking back at me.
This year is ushering in big things for me, my upcoming record serving as a sort of nucleus. In many ways the inner work I've relentlessly been about for 24 years is coming to fruition. I am not fixed because it turns out I did not require fixing as I was never broken. This revelation alone has rendered my foundation both shook and shifting, as I discover the footings were here all along, only deeper and more secure than I ever knew. Still other parts of my story will never be made right. Trauma, grief, and pain that made off with precious portions of my life without so much as one ounce of explanation, justification, or redemption. I am left here holding the pen and telling the truths in hopes that even those parts might somehow, someday be of use. Perhaps in telling my stories and singing my songs, we could all feel less alone in our lives.
When I look at this red carpet picture, I see a beautiful, capable, powerful woman. Those are brand new eyes for me. I've never once looked at a picture of myself and felt that way. For the first time in my 44 years, I know who I am, who I'm here for, and that what I offer has a valuable place in the world. When looking at her I also can't help but see all the things that were holding me back, and some that admittedly still are. The lies I believe about who I'm not, the traumas I survived and their lifelong, life altering effects, the perfectionism and fears that grip and paralyze me, the shame that keeps me in hiding. The truth? Every bit of that still exists in me. I didn't drink some magic potion or stumble on a self-help cure. I have not changed or become someone else. Rather, I've undergone a gradual unbecoming, no longer willing to hide who I am or be someone I am not in order to please others. I came home to the woman I never knew I always was.
What's holding you back from coming home to yourself? What one small step can you take today to show up for yourself?
Here are the things I know without question:
You are loved. You are not alone. You are worth it.
For more #truthbooking stories and a free download of my latest record full of songs and stories to help us feel less alone, see the “Download My Album for Free” link in the navigation bar.
If you're already among my Generous Friends, I'd love it if you'd take a moment to follow me on Spotify http://bit.ly/kccliffordonspotify . As silly as it seems, this is incredibly helpful for independent artists like me.