Putting Yourself First is Not Selfish

It’s vital.

When I went into show business and began singing for audiences in my 20's it was always a nerve wracking experience for me.

I sang in hotel lounges with my guitar for a small salary and tips.

I was often in a state of panic before, during and after my gigs. At the time I didn’t know it was called Panic or Anxiety disorder, but I was almost constantly battling panic.

I had no idea what my problem was.

I knew I was talented, some would say ‘very gifted’, but I also had another side of me that was in total terror quite often.

I remember my mom asking me “Why do you act so weird?”

I wasn’t ‘weird’. I was in fear.

I remember once she was driving me to a gig with a friend of hers. They were in the front seat. I was in the back seat clinging to my guitar, reciting my lines, fidgeting with my makeup, trying to keep my shit together, hold my shakiness at bay — wondering why my whole friggin body was shaking!

I didn’t dare mention my fears to them. They were chit chatting in the front seat oblivious while I felt I was ‘dying’ in the back.

My mom usually dismissed any of my fears with comments like:

“But….You’re so talented’.

“Just…Go make em cry! You can do it!!”

“Make em feel!”

SHIT, what a tall order!

I felt pressured.

Both my parents would say things like ‘buck it up’ to me often. Ironically, neither of them ever saw my anxiety or fear.

After most of my performances my mom and dad would ask a variation of this question:

Did THEY like you?

Did THEY clap loud for you?

Who the heck are THEY and who cared what THEY think? I wondered.

What about what I thought?

My mom and dad were both in retail sales. They were not creative types. Both were high energy sales people. They were able to charm people. Both prided themselves on being liked.

I was the ‘artist’ in the family.
The odd ball.
The quiet reserved, yet highly talented one.

I always felt that what others thought of me was more important than what I thought.

This issue has come up a lot in my current therapy, at age 57 and as I write my Memoir, which I am knee deep in writing. I am re evaluating what I think about ME.

This is key.

I am not concerned about pleasing ‘them’ anymore. (Whoever the heck ‘they’ are!) Thinking about pleasing ‘them’ has never helped me in my life. Pleasing the masses is really not my concern. I have come to discover this:

We are born alone and die alone so we must learn to live with the most important person we will ever be with: Ourselves. It is more important to please your own soul than win over the world…

The whole world could say ‘to you:

“ Atta girl You did great!” blah blah, but if in your own heart you are not fulfilled you will live a sad unfulfilled life.

So, my goal now is to first check in with ME.

I ask myself things like:

* How does this feel?
* How does my body react when I do THIS?
* How does my mind react to this situation or person?

I am learning to honor myself. I now OBSERVE and NOTICE what my body feels — before worrying about what ‘others’ might feel.

I’m so glad I am finally doing this.

Putting yourself first is not selfish at all. I think it is vital to have a happy life!

Contact me at: michelle@michellemonet.com

MICHELLE MONET has published 5 non-fiction books including 4 Poetic Memoirs. Her upcoming Memoir will be about her life in show business including her surviving domestic violence, panic disorder and a dependency on prescribed medication. It will be a story of redemption and healing. Coming Soon!

Musician. Author. Poet. Seeker. Currently writing showbiz memoir and Broadway style Musical. Contact me at michelle@michellemonet.com

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