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There I was, sitting in a small back room at Molloy College, waiting to go on stage to talk about my new book, “I’ve Been Thinking…”
This was Wednesday, two days into my book tour. I had just driven two hours from Manhattan to Long Island and I was tired. I was sitting alone. I was feeling anxious. (Yes, I still feel anxious when I have a new book come out.)
I was trying to take a few moments to gather my thoughts. Trying to calm my mind and heart. Trying to remind myself why I had written this book and why I was doing all of this in the first place. Then, thoughts of self-doubt started to fill my head. (Yes, I gave up self-doubt for Lent, but like anything hard, this is a process.)
“Will anyone like my book?” I asked myself. “Of course, they won’t.”
“Oh my God, I should have added this line and not that one,” I thought.
There I was feeling a bit like “God help me.” Then, I heard my name introduced on stage. I walked out from behind the curtain and saw a packed room sitting before me. People filled the auditorium all the way up to the rafters. I looked up and around and the first thought that came to my mind was, “I’m in the wrong room! God help me! I’m in the wrong room!”
I looked around again in slow motion and, in that moment, I could feel my eyes well up with tears. I could feel my heart pounding. At that moment, standing on that stage, I went from thinking that I was in the wrong place to thinking that I was exactly where I needed to be.
I saw all of these people with my book in their hands. They had come to listen to me and to support me, and I was completely and utterly overwhelmed. I was overwhelmed with emotion. Overwhelmed with gratitude. Overwhelmed because I couldn’t believe my eyes.
Then, after a really moving, deep and, at times, funny conversation, I drove back to my hotel, went into my room and wept. Yup, I did.
I was feeling so grateful. So grateful to the people who showed up at that event. So grateful to all the people who bought my book this week and made it a No. 1 national bestseller. I was feeling so touched and so moved that I couldn’t even begin to find the words.
“I’ve Been Thinking…” is my first book since my mother died in 2009. It’s my first book since I’ve been on my own. I didn’t know what to expect, but all this week, I’ve watched as my friends, my loved ones and people I didn’t even know have shown up for me. They’ve spoken up and out for me. The feeling I have right now is overwhelming gratitude.
Putting something this personal out into the world is nerve-wracking and scary because you never know how it will be received. But, you know what’s worse? Having something inside of you that wants to come out and not doing anything to honor that feeling.
So, if you have something to say, say it. If you have something to write, write it. If you have something to paint, paint it. If you have a cause you want to champion, speak out.
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