Lately, I have not been writing or doing any radio blogging because I have a fear of not authentic. I don’t always have all of my ducks in a row, so how can I can I be an inspirational performer or a good coach to anyone? What position am I in to truly help people?
When I was a child, the son of a minister, I was looked upon as a role model at an early age. Though I did not ask for this role, I felt like I had to put on a front and live up to the expectations of my father’s congregants. I think every family puts on a front at times to keep up appearances, and I don’t think my family did this any more than any other family. However, we lived under the eye of scrutiny. It was the perceptions of others that we had it together more than every other family that made it difficult as a child.
I remember a time when I was about 16 a woman in the church came up to me, put her hand on my check and said “I wish my son was more like you”. Her son had been in and out of juvenile detention and rehab several times. I remember wanting to say to her “Lady, at least your son isn’t having sex with men in the park.” This was the early 1980’s and homosexuality was not something people spoke of so I’m sure she would have replied, “I’m so glad my son is not like you.” The concern of the perception of others kept me from living honestly and authentically. I wish I knew then what I know now that “it is none of my business what people think of me.”
Today I can live by this mantra in the safety of my private life. It also gives me courage to speak publicly about triumphs I have made in the past. But sharing with the world what I am going through when things are not so bright is not so easy. Maybe because I don’t want to be so vulnerable, seen as though I am asking for sympathy, or worse yet, hear solutions from people I don’t really know. When it comes down to it, I don’t want to deal with the perceptions of others, so I retreat. Yet the other side of this thought is that I don’t want their perception of me to change: Skip has his shit together. Again, who is going to want to listen to a motivational speaker who is struggling with the same issues as the audience and doesn’t have the solution?
All this fear of perception keeps me from being authentic, or so I think. Not that I need to share my every private thought with the world, but not doing my work is truly the most inauthentic thing I can do. The people who hear my music, hear my blog radio programs, or see me at a live event tell me it is my authenticity that they connect with and inspires them the most. I guess it is better to be authentic about not having my shit together if this is what people relate to. I am reminded that if I hold out my light for others I am lighting the way from myself.