Random: Battling Insecurity / by Shanelle Gabriel


Shhhhh… Okay, it’s taken me a while to admit this aloudI've been dealing with a LOT of insecurity over the last few years. Yes, boo, YEARS! What I thought was me protecting myself, my finances, my life, was really fear. I was scared to create because "someone didn't invite me to a writing retreat _x_ years ago, so I must be whack." I was scared to consider a new business because "I'm comfortable where I am, and what if I get sick again?" I dated a guy I wasn't REALLY that excited about because "well, even though he's not what I really want in a partner, he's consistent." I had all of these negative and limiting thoughts about myself that was very much reflected in how I treated every aspect of my life. Feeling like something was wrong, broken, I got a therapist to help me process the thoughts that seemed to only come when I was in my car driving home or when I was home alone on a Friday night. I began to think about the ideas I had about myself, things I would NEVER tell someone else, mostly forged from solitary, specific moments (many of which could have been taken out of context or were told to me by people who have no control of my success). And after I finally began the process of unraveling this tightly wound up ball of insecurity, a shift happened...

First, it was Milan, Italy. Someone who heard me years ago made it her business to book me for the Fast Company Magazine's European Innovation Festival. She gave me the seemingly impossible task of creating 5 poems on the spot inspired by the tech and health-based panels the two days of the event. For someone fighting an "am I good enough?" bug, this was a visit from an exterminator. While failing would have made the bug reproduce and infest my mind even more, but my desire to go to Italy for the first time made me risk it. And low and behold, I rose to the occasion each time! I actually liked what I wrote, and I can't remember the last time I was so proud of myself. (Check it out at www.youtube.com/shanellegabriel. Anywho, it’s bananas that I had to go abroad to kick-off the thought that I was, well, I am fly.

I remember meeting my mentor-in-my-head Andre 3000 a while back. To have him confess that he hadn’t released any of his music because he wasn’t in love with what he was creating should have foreshadowed where I’ve been the last few years. Almost 15 years ago, I created poems and songs, not because I was the baddest mamajama that picked up a black pen, but because I just wanted to share. I created as my world unfolded. I was hungry, I was happy, and living my best artistic life. What changed? My emotional life. Losing my mom, my faith in God, so many no’s, being hospitalized on the road, terrible dating experiences, and watching others’ lives pushed me into a place where I no longer knew what I was supposed to be doing. It made me second-guess what my life was supposed to be. The words “supposed to’s” can kill any dream and any vision.

Knowing all of this, where am I now? I’m still fighting to embody the following premises:

  1. God doesn’t give you talents that He doesn’t want you to use.

  2. Comparison is how you miss the blessings laying at your feet waiting to be picked up

  3. Don’t believe IG (so many people flaunt things on their profile that they only have access to on the day of the shoot. Ex. rented cars, borrowed clothes, their husband/wife, etc.)

  4. Do your thang because you love it. If they love it too, that works. Lead with your passion, not your head.

  5. There are numerous “experts’ who are in actuality NOT experts who are living life, making money, touring, writing books, and living their best life. Why do you think you, with all of your talent, experience, skills, ambition, and natural ability, think YOU CAN’T WIN??? COME ON NOW!

I just felt like sharing that with you all. I know someone else is going through this as they figure out their life goals and next steps. I’m still figuring it out, but I feel in a much better place than I was before to make it happen.

Peace y’all!