A few months ago, I received a pretty terrifying e-mail.
There I was, minding my own business, when BAM! Ebonnie Rowe, the founder of PhemPhat Entertainment and Honey Jam, a mentoring program and event for women aspiring to be in the music industry, sent me an email, asking if I’d like to be a part of a panel, and speak at a workshop about social media.

If you know me IRL, then you know that I looooove to talk. I mean, part of the reason why I got into writing was because it was just another way to blab about things that I found cool or interesting. Naturally, I should have jumped at the chance, right? Not quite. When I received this email, I was pretty nervous, and I actually almost declined. You see, this email came at a time when I was really feeling a serious case of self-doubt. As I type out this post, I realize that quite a few of my recent blog posts have spoken about fear, so maybe that’s my theme of 2017 — getting over my fears and doing things that scare the shit of me, RE: freelancing, running a half marathon, etc.
However, in that moment, reading over the email (first to make sure that it was really meant to be sent to me), I really didn’t feel like I had anything to contribute to a group of young women trying to put their life’s work — their art — out there. I mean, had I ever been successful at getting people to hear what I had to say? Do I even have anything of value to share?

I’m sure people are well aware of this already, but life isn’t always rainbows and perfectly styled Instagram flat lays. The hustle is so real out there, and it’s tough to speak on success when you’re not feeling especially successful.

Fortunately, I have some great people in my life who reminded me that I’ve been working in the industry for some time, and that my experience is relevant, even if I didn’t necessarily feel like it was.

At the panel, I spoke a lot about authenticity, and showing people who you really are among the sometimes filtered moments you publish on social media. I came away from the panel feeling like maybe that’s what was missing for me as well. I always try to be as real as possible on social media, because I feel like it’s takes too much effort to portray a persona that isn’t authentic to who you are. However, I’d also been feeling like there just wasn’t anything interesting for me to share lately, and that’s why I was feeling like maybe there was nothing going on in my life. To me, authenticity means showing every facet of your life — even the parts that aren’t necessarily that interesting or happy or beautiful, but despite knowing that, I still found myself feeling shitty when I only had “regular” stuff going on. BUT, I did/do have things going on! I work in social media, I write, I blog, and dammit, I work really bloody hard. Just because it isn’t always glamorous, doesn’t mean it isn’t interesting.

Getting this opportunity was a nice wake-up call for me, in that it reminded me to be grateful that I get to hustle every day and work towards my goals and making my dreams a reality. It’s so easy to be jaded by the day-to-day stuff that we have to deal with, but remember that not everyone gets these opportunities, and that it isn’t all luck that gets people places — there’s a lot of hard work, sweat, blood, tears, sleepless nights, etc. that go along with it, too.

I think that as I get older, it’s becoming more important for me to share the parts of my life that aren’t necessarily the greatest, because it can be really tough to live your life watching everyone else’s highlight reel, and feel like your life is completely mundane all the time. Everyone’s life has highs, lows, and plateaus, where it seems like everything is just coasting along, uneventfully.

Basically, I feel like I learned as much from this experience as I hope the ladies at this panel did as well.

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