trying to breathe

My girlfriend and her mom came over this morning. We engaged in the beautiful ritual of figuring out what to wear. They were there to help me with my wardrobe for the writers conference.

We got it all figured out and then I got Zachary down for his nap and then I had a moment to breathe. And think. And freak out. Just a little.

So in the quiet I started talking to God.

Okay Lord, please calm me down. Remind me that I am valuable because you love me, not because of what I may or may not achieve as a writer.

And Lord? Phil was so so so graciously supportive of this conference and we paid a lot of money for me to go. And we don’t have a lot of money right now. I feel like if I don’t come back with an agent interested in me that we wasted that money. That I was a bad investment. And we can’t afford bad investments right now.

Then I got a text from a friend.

She said she was praying for me and then she said words I needed to hear. Be yourself. Breathe. Somehow those words brought me back to the ground; out of the tornado of pressure and nerves I created. I realized I did what I often do. I made the conference an either/or experience.

Either I would be a success or I would be a total failure.

But life is so much more of a both/and experience. There will probably be some successes and some failures along the way of me working my way into the writing world. This conference included.

Take tonight for example. I succeeded in being one of the friendliest, easiest people to meet at the social gathering tonight. (I know, so shocking for those of you who know me – insert sarcasm.) There were quite a few other writers I succeeded in helping feel more at ease. Meeting people is petrifying for some people. I am not one of them.

At the end, I gave my card to one of the agents I will have a one-on-one appointment with tomorrow. To be honest, he is my top pick. But when I gave him my card, he looked at me a little funny. Uh-oh. Did I just faux paux?

And then, as I read over the writing I sent in for review at tomorrow’s appointments (that I hope to have these people love and want more of) I already see some ways that I could have made it more appealing. Suck.

But because of my friend’s text, I am remembering that life is more of the both/and. And Phil loves me and thinks I am worth the investment of this conference even if I come back without an agent who loves me. And I can be myself. And I can breathe. And I am loved by God.

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