Listening to the Wrong Voices.

A friend of mine randomly told me she had been thinking about my “music career.” Which was funny to me, because I don’t really have one. But nonetheless, she told me that she had been thinking about me and my music and told me I should post more cover songs and try to collaborate with other people to try to get more of a “following.”

All of this is stuff I’ve always kind of known, but I just haven’t done anything about it. I told Mark about our conversation and he was like “Erica, that’s the exact same stuff I’ve been telling you for years. You just need to start putting yourself out there.”

I thought about it for a few minutes, then told him I felt like I wasn’t ready, and that people wouldn’t care. “Who wants to watch a chubby twenty-something mom sing cover songs? Maybe when I lose 40 lbs or something.”

He then proceeded to tell me that more people could relate to me that way. That I didn’t have to be this perfect version of myself to feel like I could put myself in front of an audience.

That’s when it occurred to me that these voices in my head have been seriously messing me up.

The past few years, I have repeatedly listened to these voices in my head telling me that no one would want to watch or listen to me because I’m not some young barely twenty skinny perfect person. That for me to be confident enough to put myself out there, I needed to whiten my teeth, get a decent hair cut, get some color on my skin, lose 40 lbs, get hernia surgery, lose the lazy eye… the list goes on. I haven’t been updating my website pictures because I’ve been telling myself that once I reach all those qualifications, I can get some pictures of myself taken so I can freshen up my website.

I have been wasting way WAY too much time worrying about what other people think of me. And worrying that people won’t accept or like me as I am.

But I’m done wasting time. I don’t want my daughter to feel like she can’t accomplish her goals and dreams because she isn’t some ideal version of perfection we assume everyone cares about. We are all beautiful, individual, unique people, and we ALL have something to offer the world. People relate with imperfection. People feel comfortable around other people who are imperfect because it gives them permission to love themselves as they are, too.

So I’m going to start trying my best to just be me, and to accept myself as I currently am. I’ll always be striving for better, but it’s a constant journey, and I can’t just sit around letting my life and dreams go by because I haven’t reached the destination yet.

So, hi. I’m Erica. I weigh more than I should, have stretch marks all over the place, an umbilical hernia that makes me look like I have a weird lump under my shirt, right on top of my pregnant-looking belly because my core muscles are shot from kids and just years of not having core strength in general. I have feet that are stupid wide, a lazy eye, a scar on my chin, and pasty skin. I have a short waist and shelf hips and overly dry hands from hand washing because I have OCD and generalized anxiety disorder. I’m codependent. I’m kind of weird. I’m a mess in all kinds of ways.

But I’m also awesome. I’m friendly, compassionate, and loving. I’m a decent singer/pianist and a pretty awesome songwriter if I do say so myself. I’m a good mom, and a good wife, and a good friend. And I hope as I start this journey of self-love, that the list of things I love about myself gets much larger than the paragraph of my imperfections.

Now I’m gonna go try to sleep while I can before my monster toddler wakes up 4 times in the middle of the night.

Dangerous Questions.

[This post was originally written several months ago. But I finally logged into my website after ignoring it for months and found this draft and it made me laugh. So here it is.]

Yesterday [a few months ago]  I asked Mark a dangerous question.

“Does my hair look ok, Mark?”

I’m in this weird in-between stage of having an actual hair style and growing it out. It’s awkward. So I pulled the front sides of my hair back and twisted it into a messy little bun, and used a few bobby pins to keep it in place. There, I thought. A fun little messy half-bun that will cover some of the awkwardness.

Mark’s response, “The sides are ok, but the back looks bad. It looks weird.”

It really wasn’t fair of me. I shouldn’t ask unless I want his honest opinion.

“Why is it weird? What’s so terrible about it?”

“It looks like a little kid did it. It just looks bad.”

“It can’t look that bad.”

“It does.”

“Sheesh, you could sugar coat it a little.”

I proceeded to fume for about 20 minutes while we kept getting ready for church. I ended up going back upstairs right before leaving and speed-straightening my hair so I could get by wearing it down.

By the time we were in the car Mark finally noticed the grump all over my face.

“Wait, you’re mad at me? What’s wrong?”

“Nothing. I’m fine.”

“I know that’s not true. Just tell me.”

“I’m fine. I don’t wanna talk about it. Just let it go, Mark.”

“Oh, so there’s an “It” to let go of.”

Fast-forward a few minutes to me finally explaining my frustration.

“I just don’t understand how it could even have been that horrible. Like, it was supposed to look a little messy.”

“It looked bad! I thought you’d want to know!”

“It did not look THAT bad!”

“I was hoping to save you from embarrassment. If I hadn’t said something, other people would have, or would at least be thinking it.”

“Are you serious? People care THAT much about my hair?”

“Look, you just don’t have much practice. It’s not your fault.”

“The only reason you care is cause you’re a design snob!”

“That’s not it. It looked weird, and I thought you would want to know!”

“So basically I just suck.”

“HOW did you even get to that? Just cause you don’t know how to do hair it doesn’t mean you suck!”

“WHATEVER.”

Fast-forward past my silent treatment to like 20 mins later when I realized how dumb the whole thing was an apologizing for freaking out.

Moral of the story?

Don’t throw your husband into an inescapable trap. The poor guy.

Also, someone teach me how to do my hair.