The Other Shoe

Fading beauty…

At fifty-five, this has been the best year of my career ever; my book was released in January, I took on the role of Associate Chair of our Department, I was elected President-Elect of my international professional organization, I traveled to and performed in Belgium and Canada, judged an international competition in Italy, recorded two CDs with another coming up next semester, and will be filming educational videos for my clarinet maker in L.A. in two weeks. On top of that, I am blessed to have a very happy marriage and a home and career that I love. I am overwhelmed with gratitude thinking of it all.

And then it happens…the ‘why me’s?’ and the ‘what if’s?’…the waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Watching the clouds race by at 3am…

Inevitably the inner dialogue begins, undermining my hard-won confidence, and I feel such frustration. Why can I not just accept and be grateful for these wonderful things? Why can I not say and truly mean the words, I deserve this?Perspective…

I’ve worked hard to come to this place and I have paid many dues, made many sacrifices, but as I forced myself to type the list of accomplishments, it truly felt as if I was writing about someone else. I felt embarrassed to write the words…how could I deserve to have all of these good things? And then of course the next step in this ritual…when is the bad thing going to happen that will take all of this away?

So many women I know deal with this impostor syndrome, the feeling that we are not worthy of accolades or opportunities. I for one have given too much power to others who helped to firmly root myself in the ‘I’m not good enough’ mentality, the ‘you only got here because you’re nice’ mentality. Well, I call bullshit on all of that here and now.Visions of sugarplums…

I am very far from perfect, but I have worked hard my whole career to learn and grow and be the best I know how to be. I’ve tried to be a good person, and yes, nice, because that is who I am, that is what I want to put out into the world. I want to be the person that I would like to work with or perform with. I don’t always succeed, but I always try. If good things come my way because of those behaviors, then I say thank you, because those behaviors have been backed up by years and years of hard work and dedication, blood, sweat, and plenty of tears.Shiva tv…

I’m going to make every effort to close the door on the self-defeating negative inner voice- and on those people who stoke the fires of doubt in my life. I don’t want to spend my days living in the insecurities of my youth any longer. I want to humbly welcome good things into my life as the gifts they are, embrace them, and do my best to keep putting good things out into the world.My goofy family…

What we put out into the universe comes back to us, and I am going to stop putting self-doubt out there- I don’t want it boomeranging back to me. I’ll stick to kindness, humor, humility, and gratitude with every fiber of my being. I’m also going to open my arms wide to the excitement of these wonderful opportunities and work hard to keep them coming. It will be difficult to do that at first, to let go of the doubts that I’ve clung to for so long, but, oh, the view from the other side looks amazing. It’s time to step out from behind the shadows, and I hope to bring others out of those shadows with me.

10 thoughts on “The Other Shoe

  1. So many people feel the same way. I am stunned at the wonderful, accomplished, beautiful people I know who feel the same way. Why not you?

    I am glad you wrote this. People need to know they are not alone in this all too common struggle.

  2. Congratulations. You have earned your success , and the very hard work you are doing now to accept what you’ve earned , without apology, lays the ground work for young women to accept without apology the success that comes from their efforts and talents. You’re being the best role model in recognizing imposter syndrome and acculterated feelings of being “undeserving” for what they are , phantoms that we can wave at as they fly on and out of us!

  3. Denise, It is so important to be able to accept compliments and recognition with grace and confidence. Everyone is different, I realize that, but you are the most important part of this equation. You can’t confuse arrogance with confidence. I’ll bet that you have no problem giving credit to others, and do it with great sincerity. Why would you not think others would do the same for you….especially when you have earned it. I’m sure you appreciate deeply, all that you have been able to accomplish. Let it happen…..

  4. I was blessed to be smart or cursed depending on how you look at it. It took awhile but I figured out that natural talent will only get you so far – hard work on the other hand will take you to the stars. You worked hard and nurtured your talents – you deserve every success! Not because you are entitled but because you EARNED it!!

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