Okay, I’ll wait until you’re done dancing around the room.
All set? Good. Now shut off your sound and play that again. Read the words. Carefully. A few times if you need to.
When this song first came out, the tune got me. It’s catchy. It makes you want to get up and dance. And Sara Bareilles. But then I started really listening. And the words . . . yes. Those words. Ooo boy. Hit me hard. Because I knew. I wasn’t brave. Not by a long shot.
And maybe I needed to be.
So I started a journey . . . I could tell you when and why and how it all went down, but that’s not important. What’s important is this – my words matter. Your words matter. Whether you say them out loud or write them down, they matter.
And only you get to choose when and how to share them.
I needed to fully embrace that – the importance of my words – as a writer, but more importantly as someone who is deeply loved by a Father who has an incredible plan for my life. And that right there makes all this worth it. That right there makes me brave. Brave enough to say what I want to say.
Brave enough to believe somebody will listen. And hear. And feel. Brave enough to know my words have a purpose. For such a time as this.
There was a time, not so long ago, that I almost believed they didn’t.
Rejection will do that to you.
Being a writer, knowing your calling, feeling it pulse through your veins every waking moment of the day . . . you can’t simply step over it when somebody tells you what you’ve written doesn’t matter. Well, I suppose you could, but not many of us do. Instead we sit down in it. Wallow. Whine. Wail a bit. And wonder why.
Because it’s easy to forget, you see, that the words do matter. That each word we write, each story we tell, is a gift that only we’ve been given. Nobody writes the way I do. I don’t write like anyone else. I may enjoy another author’s style, and even envy them from time to time (don’t do that, it’s very bad), but deep down, I know who I am now. I know my words matter. Because they’re mine. And I must be brave enough to embrace that truth.
I didn’t always.
Things are different now. At least today. This moment. I can’t say for sure I’ll always walk in confidence. That I’ll always be brave. But I’ll know how to find the way back if I veer off course.
Sometimes it’s easy to get sucked into the endless arguments of how we should write and what words we should use and shouldn’t use . . . I’m sick and tired of that one, but it’s not my hill to die on. Anyone who doesn’t think a writer chooses her words carefully has no concept of what being a writer is. And no business casting judgement on what we do and how we choose to do it.
And yes, I guess you do need a little brave to be able to say that.
But here’s the thing. I know not everyone is going to like what I have to say. And that’s okay. I’m okay with that. Does it mean I shouldn’t say it? Shouldn’t write the stories that only I can tell, in the way only I can? No. Heck no. It means being aware, being respectful to a point, but also being true to myself. To my art. To the words I’ve been entrusted with.
I need to be brave enough to know that my words matter. Brave enough to write it my way and risk it all. Brave enough to believe in myself. And to trust this gift was given to me for a reason.
I want to be heard. I want to be understood. I want to be loved. And don’t we all. But being brave in all this means accepting that won’t always happen. There will be those who simply refuse what you’re giving. They will scorn, belittle and reject. And okay, sure, that might hurt. But that doesn’t mean you stop trying.
Because your words, your song, your art . . . nobody can take that away from you.
Don’t let them think they can. Don’t let them try.
Stand up and say it. Say what you want to say.
And know your words matter.
Now get up and dance.