AC Gaughen: You are Infinitely Powerful
April 23, 2012 at 11:39AM
I was at New England Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators annual conference this year, and a lot of it was totally surreal. This is *my* conference, my region–I got my start here four years ago at Mitali Perkin’s workshop on strengthening your online presence/platform. And I had the amazing experience of signing books, delivering a workshop, and sitting on a panel.
During the signings in particular, I had people come up to me and share their writing stories, and I saw a mixture of emotions on their faces–hope, excitement, shyness, nervousness. I remembered being back in their shoes and having this surface confidence that everything would happen for me, and a deep seated terror that it wouldn’t happen. That I wouldn’t be the one it works out for.
I thought when writers that I would fangirl gave me advice, they were being falsely positive, “just nice” or something of the sort. But looking at these writers, I was floored, because it was like a got a glimpse into their future. I could see it all unfolding for them in a grand way, in a way that they couldn’t see for themselves. I knew that all they had to do was keep at it, because they were so, so, so close to absolutely everything they wanted, everything they strive for.
It’s the same feeling I get at the Boston GLOW Awards Banquet, when we honor our finalists and award our biggest prizes. That the world is theirs–some of them have an inkling, some of them have no idea–but it’s like everyone else around them can see it with perfect clarity. I can see it.
My point is, at what point do we forget about this infinite power within us? At what point do we give it up?
Because it’s there.
I think we’re born with this innate sense of power–we don’t fly around the backyard with a cape yelling, “With a little more education, the right connections, and a lot of luck, I might be a firefighter!”
Of course we don’t. We pick up the kitten that we just saved from the tree and we say, “I’m a firefighter!”
As children we believe in ourselves in a way that we fail to as adults.
And I am the first to say that I am way guilty of this. WAY guilty. I pass my power out like potato chips or the tshirts that you blitz out of a cannon. I am tough and I am resilient and I am determined, but I all too often fail to believe in myself. I fail to recognize my own accomplishments. I fail to look within myself and know, without a shadow of a doubt, that I can do anything.
I think part of it is the Pretty Woman mentality–that the bad stuff is easier to believe.
I think part of it is the power of fear, of jealousy, of admiration of those around us. At a conference like NE SCBWI, it’s easy to look around at the amazing people in the room (Sarah Aronson, Nancy Werlin, and Kate Messner were just a few of the people that completely floored me this weekend) and think that you’re not good enough to be in their ranks. To be in the same room, much less the same sentence. Maybe we have a cultural, historical imperative to rank things in that invisible hierarchy–it helps us make sense of it all.
But really, this conference–and life in general–is full of people who give, who share, who offer aid, support, and emotional sustenance to those around them. Nancy Werlin gave this talk that was just so generous. It gave of herself in a way that really touched me and inspired me.
They aren’t there to show off. They’re there to inspire you. They are there to release that influx of water that creates a rising tide to float all boats. More importantly, they are there to remind you that all that stands between them and you is time and perseverance.
It’s okay if you’ve done it. I have to find ways to forgive myself when I give others my power instead of remembering how infinitely powerful I am. Maybe you’ll believe me when I say this, but maybe you won’t.
I’ll keep saying it.
You are infinitely powerful.
You want to do something? Do it. Dream it into reality and make it happen. Maybe it won’t be the way you first imagined, but you have the power to make it happen.
Look at your life; be honest about what you’ve accomplished. Look at yourself and remember that you probably have never given yourself the permission to believe everything that you are capable of.
Don’t ever give up on yourself. You are precious, you are powerful, you are a breath away from everything you ever dreamed.
And on those dark days when the I Suck Playlist won’t get out of your head, when every mirror echoes the ways in which you’ve failed yourself and others, when all you can see inside of yourself is this horrible cocktail of suck and bad and ugly and awful and lame, just please, please remember this:
You are infinitely powerful.