Jaclyn Steele International

It’s very hard to have ideas. It’s very hard to put yourself out there, it’s very hard to be vulnerable, but those people who do that are the dreamers, the thinkers and the creators. They are the magic people of the world.Amy Poehler, "Yes, Please"

By no means do I consider myself a magic person.

I do, however, remember being a child in love with creating, and specifically, creating music.  Very early on, maybe 6, I learned in school about Mozart and how he started creating his first piece of music when he was like 4.  So, naturally, I came home and started writing “notes” on a tissue thinking that I could easily become a savant, as well.

This is funny for 3 reasons:

  1. I didn’t know how to read or write music, so I was actually just doodling black dots with lines coming out of them in no particular order.
  2. I used the tissue because I saw in a movie that important things are written on tissues, so since my little symphony was going to go down in history, it must be written on tissue first.
  3. Even at 6 I started comparing myself to others and felt like I was already 2 years behind Mozart – which felt like a lifetime in my 6 year old mind.

Fast forward to today.  I have an EP coming out in a few short weeks and I’m feeling very vulnerable about it.  Some things have changed, but some things have definitely stayed the same.  I know how to read a little more music, but I’m still not a savant.  I don’t write on tissues anymore, but I do have like 300 notes in my iPhone from when inspiration has struck. And, this is the kicker, I still feel like I’m behind on everything all the time (I’m working on this).

We live in a world that seems to be built on comparison, especially in Western culture.  Every message we receive in advertising is meant to make us feel like we aren’t quite enough… not tall enough… not thin enough… not blonde enough… not cool enough… not smart enough… not popular enough… but if we just buy this one thing, then our whole lives will change.  And damn, y’all, this messaging is so effective.

Let me circle back to my music and why I feel so “out there” about it.

First, it’s vulnerable sharing things you’ve created.  These 3 songs are my brain children and it feels weird releasing them into the world to be heard (and judged).  I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make me want to smile and vomit at the same time.

Second, making something public I’ve worked on for literally YEARS brings up every insecurity I have ever had – which is probably a subconscious factor in why it’s taken so long to release it.  RELEASE IT.  This may sound silly, because I’m aware that I am a caucasian middle class female with many privileges, but I often feel like I’m not good enough.  And honestly, I don’t even know what “good enough” means, but I’m pretty sure I’m not crazy in the way I’ve been interpreting the messages I’ve received over the years.

I’ve been told I’m too big and need to lose weight (“A size 2 was standard in Hollywood and I was way off in my size 4 body”).

I’ve been told I’m too old and that was like 5 years ago (I was 27).

I’ve been told my music sucks.

I’ve been told it’s a good ‘ol boys club and it’s useless to even try breaking in as a woman at my age.

I’ve even been told that I sound stupid.

I’ve been told I didn’t have a chance.

I’ve been told all kinds of bull$shit that, for a long time, I believed.  But I cannot fault anyone else for internalizing the messages that were sent.  I chose to hold them.  I chose to let them seep in.  Me.  I chose that.

Dear ones, we have so much more control over the messages that are sent our way than we realize.  We can delete them just like we delete an unwanted email in our inbox, but we’ve been conditioned to let negative messaging define us.  But, dear one, they are not us.

We are stronger than that.  I am stronger than that.  Waaaaaaaaaay stronger than that.

I’ve kept creating music even when I didn’t know if it would ever be heard.

I said I wanted to record an EP when I had $0 budget, and thanks to some amazing people, we’ve done it.

I’ve kept walking forward in faith even when everything around me felt like it was falling apart – band members coming and going, empty promises, multiple recording projects that were started and never finished for one reason or another.

I could go on and on and on and on, but you know what I’m really fucking proud of?  The fact that I didn’t quit.  And yes, I feel naked and vulnerable and scared to release this stuff, but you know what I feel even more palpably… that I’ve been true to the deepest desires of my heart.  I’ve wanted to create ever since I can remember, and now, here I am at 32 still creating.

So no matter what happens with this EP as far as it’s reach goes, I know I’ve stayed true to my heart – to do what makes me feel alive.  And what more could I want than to feel alive?

I overcomplicated all those messages and forgot the most important ones – the ones my heart was sending me.  Maybe life isn’t so complicated – maybe we just make it so.

Cheers to the unknown and cheers to the dreamers, thinkers, + creators.

Light, Love, & Peace,

Jaclyn

 

10 Comments

  • David

    Stick with it. I am 68 and still creating. You will never get so good that everyone likes your music. Personally, I sing and play for ME 95% of the time. Playing at a friend’s restaurant tomorrow.

    • jsteele

      I LOVE this. So stinking true. Following your heart will never lead you astray. <3

  • Ian

    inspirational, thanks 🙂

    • jsteele

      You bet! It’s my pleasure. And thank you for stopping by. 🙂

  • Alana Dasaro

    You’re an amazing and very talented person. You do truly inspire others and as real as anyone I’ve ever met. Excited to hear new EP. looking forward to reading more of your blogs.

    • jsteele

      Alana, thank you for making my week. I miss you, friend. I wish we lived a little closer. Still, I’m so grateful for social media to keep us connected. You’re awesome and I so appreciate your friendship and support.

  • DT

    Very inspirational! Congrats on not f‘n quitting!!

    • jsteele

      AHHHHHH thanks, man! Never give up, never surrender. It’s been a big week. Can’t wait to continue working with YOU!

  • Mark

    at 66 I am more involved with creative projects than ever, and I’ve done my share. excited to hear the new music.

    • jsteele

      Mark, that’s fantastic! It’s so cool the creativity knows no boundaries. I LOVE IT!

Post A Comment