Tear Down These Walls

To everyone who commented on the last, thank you for your support. For a bit of background on this post, click here. Also, for the record, I’m doing great, now. I was proved very very wrong and I am thankful for that.

If I find in myself desires nothing in this world can satisfy
I can only conclude that I was not made for here
If the flesh that I fight is at best only light and momentary
Then of course I’ll feel nude when to where I’m destined I’m compared . . .

I’ve never felt as if I truly belonged anywhere.

I briefly felt as if I belonged when I went to youth group. When I served in youth group. But was that because I forced myself to belong simply as a means of ingratiation to the one I looked up to? I don’t know. After a while, I realized that my mistakes had been dragging me down all along, preventing me from truly belonging. It was my own fault. And because of those mistakes, I can not go back to the same place, to the same people, and allow them to accept me again. I’m afraid that I’ll let them down perhaps again.

It is similar whenever I move to a new place. Right now I’m at a music festival where my piano teacher has honestly told me that I’m not the best; in fact, I’m among the worst simply because of my lack of experience and no care to proper technique before I came to college, among many other things. He wanted me to come here to be inspired, mainly. At the same time, I’m supposed to be able to perform a few pieces in front of people who would know that the instant I place my fingers on the keys that I’m a fraud. I heard it in my mind when I laughed at his jokes. When I shook hands with the person at early check-in. When I shook hands with the lovely young Korean lady pianist from Juilliard. Fraud. Fraud.

Just looking at this picture makes me feel really depressed...

As if they already know that I have no chance.


I’m really not as together as I’d like to make myself out to be. Most times I’m desperately trying not to give in.

I understand that this is a place where hard work simply isn’t enough. I’m going to have a lot of learning to do, that’s for sure. That’s okay, although it worries me. I think I might be prepared for that.

It’s not just that I’m worried about, though.

I’ve always been a painfully shy person. He tells me that I am “socially awkward.” It is true… and I have become even more so after that mistake I made a couple of years past. This past mistake I have already repented from and moved forward, but I am still such a long way from where I’m supposed to be. Sometimes I feel as if the scars will never go away. I’m afraid of letting myself near. Of letting people come to close to me. Is it because I don’t want them to find out how hopeless and empty I truly feel? Is it because I’m afraid that the darkness inside of me is contagious and they’ll get sucked in, too? Of letting them become aware that I am yet another truly broken individual who feels so very helpless?

Am I lost or just less found?
On the straight or the round-a-bout of the wrong way?
Is this a soul that stirs in me, is it breaking free, wanting to come alive?

I am so afraid of what’s inside of me.

And the walls that I’ve put up around myself have become a very part of my existence… to the point that I don’t even know how to take them down any more.

Is this all melodrama? Spare me…

For my comfort would prefer for me to be numb,
And avoid the impending birth of who I was born to become

I know that I am going to try my best even if I am only doomed to failure. I hope that won’t be the case.

I couldn’t sleep the first night, thinking about my mistakes and trying to move beyond my scars. So I’m sitting here on a Sunday morning, with no internet (which is why this will be posted some time later), trying my best to be brutally honest for once in my life. Desperately listening to Brooke Fraser’s C.S. Lewis Song, which is where these lyrics are coming from, and trying to let myself be reassured that everything is going to be all right. Trying to find that peace of God that everyone talks about but has been elusive for me at best.

Speak to me in the light of the dawn
Mercy comes with the morning
I will sigh and with all creation groan,
As I wait for hope to come for me

In spite of all of it, I think I am afraid.

Afraid that I will make more mistakes — mistakes that will leave more scars. Afraid that once they really know how much is going on they won’t be able to accept me.

Afraid that I’ll not truly belong here, either.

Hope is coming for me

— C.S. Lewis Song, Brooke Fraser

All photos are under a CC license and used with permission. Click photos for credits.


42 thoughts on “Tear Down These Walls

  1. I feel like that sometimes too… so interetsing
    Hope you are doing ok,sweetie and I wish you a great day!
    Btw: those L.L. Bean sneakers are my fav too:)

  2. Oh, I definitely think we all feel that way! At times, at least, and it’s so hard to not be the best! Here is a little trick I learned along the way, “Act As If.” Act as if you are not afraid. Act as if you’re a talented pianist. “Fake It Till You Make It,” meaning change the behavior to being more confident and the mind will follow! You are amazing, give yourself a hug from me! XO!

  3. *Sigh* Wow 😦 Though I LOVE most of your post for it’s honesty at the same time, I think you spend way TOO MUCH time BEATING yourselve up helplessly and giving “umimportant people” credit for “much chat,” on stuff they’re not even equipped in that area themselves. You always speak often about wanting to BE ‘accepted’ thing is; Why try and fit into communites that DON’T want you? It’s always going to be the same result – people are SHALLOW and most times want to be accepted themselves! I personally have been thru that period in life TOO many times (mostly in my teen years) and came to the realization – Folk ain’t all that no way, and if they were they would like me! It takes a lot to convincing people…but who has time for that? I sure don’t. I allow people to BE.

    And it’s a process for me, as we as people don’t want to be shunned. But I’d rather be hated for who I am than loved for what I’m not. Don’t ever feel like you have to fit in, people who eventually fit in become as a CLICHE to the world; just like every other topic.

    Hope you have a fab day 🙂

  4. Wow. There’s so much in there I’m not sure where to begin. Let’s begin with the obvious – you are God’s creation and that makes you acceptable in His sight, despite the scars and insecurities that are trying to keep you down.

    I implore you to not seek to measure up to the standard of man. The teachers, professors and skilled musicians – their capabilities are all in vain if not used to the glory of God, my dear. So only seek to be who you are and hone the gifts & talents that God has given you. You will be far more successful as the best version of yourself than as a copy of someone else.

    Many blessings,

  5. Oh, sweetheart. The words you write, I have no doubt, resonate with other people. I was once in the same spot that you’re in. Sometimes, I still find myself there. But I found that once I belonged to myself first, belonging to a group came more naturally. The group may change over time, but then so do we. A girl I knew from high school got back together with her husband just as she was about to divorce him because she didn’t want to be alone. To be with others, we have to first be with ourselves and learn to love and appreciate ourselves. You may not be the best piano player out there, but you’re not a fraud. You may discover you need to approach it in a different way than others. You might discover it’s not the right path for you. As long as you’re honest with yourself and are willing to transform your fear into plans, things will work out. They may not work out the way you expected, but they will work out. I really know what it feels like to think you don’t belong to this world at all. You do. You just don’t belong to that same common one most other people live in. Artists are always exploring past those boundaries.

  6. Vulnerability is where it’s at, dear. This is possibly my favorite post of yours.

    You are not a fraud, but I understand what you mean…the world needs all kinds of artists, not just prodigies. You may have something in your playing that the Juilliard pianist lacks…

    Self-cancellation is rampant in so many of the artists/musicians I know. Know that every time someone reads your work, listens to you play, or comments on your posts, they are saying “I believe in you!”

  7. Hi Babe, you are no failure, no one is, it is the journey that shape and make us, don’t give in to despair, give your best, I am sending you LOVE right now babe, feel better, xoxo

  8. Thanks for being willing to be so honest. I relate … on so many levels that it isn’t even funny. But I have to keep reminding myself, that I have, that we all have so much more to offer than we think, and sometimes life is just about sheer perseverance. I really appreciate hearing that I’m not the only one in the universe who ever feels like that. You’ve inspired me, and I wanted to say thank you for that.

  9. Thanks for sharing such a huge piece of your heart. I love your honesty!

    It really broke my heart to hear you call yourself a fraud though! :[ Like your teacher said, you can really take advantage of being where you are to be inspired. For me, as a competitive runner, I’m always intimidated when I first get to races. I mean, here i am, standing on the starting line at 5’0″ with all these super “runner-like” girls are surrounding me. As we turn from side to side to wish each other good luck, I can’t help but feel like a “fraud,” as you described. However, what helps me most is to remember that I am running (just as you are making music) for the glory of God. This is YOUR special, unique way of worshipping God & no one can take that from you. My coach always tells me that God looks at my heart, not at my results. In the same way, God is not ONLY pleased if you’re the star at the festival. :] Keep on keeping on, girl!

  10. Abby,

    This is such a brave and honest post. Don’t ever think that you’re not honest. The truth is… you are SO not alone. I’m happy that you are blogging and the world that you have created here *is* already exactly what you might be afraid of: to tear down those walls.

    I lived my entire life looking from the outside in. It is, as you say, not that people don’t want you to come in. It’s a habit you’ve created over time. A habit that may have been nourished by others around you at a young age… never deliberately of course. It’s a hard habit to break and it’s not like one day it’s broken. I still have moments of outside, it’s something you manage.

    One day you realize that those people that seem like they won’t accept you, will totally accept you. And not only that. You find that you don’t need them to accept you! It’s so true that the ones that matter, love you. The ones that feign non-acceptance are dealing with their own issues (we all have them!) What’s most important is that *you* accept you. As you are. Mistakes are never really mistakes for long. Because you grow and learn from them. They just are. And it’s all part of your path.

    This is such a strong, powerful post. You have lots of support. Be kind to yourself today 🙂 and every day.
    Big hug,

  11. Not all of us are meant to fit in and be like everybody else. Embrace that. It’s nice to not to be a carbon copy of those around you. I have a daughter, 12, who sounds a lot like you. I hope I am giving her strength to just be who she is and be happy with that. It’s tough in a world that is constantly telling us to be beautiful, successful and talented in the eyes of others, but beauty, talent and success are truly only subjective values that we can measure for ourselves. Take care, and if you give somewhere I can send you a care package of the peanut butter cupcakes, I will do so. 🙂 I promise, on my honor…I am a Girl Scout leader and we never break the GS honor code!

  12. It’s hard not to compare yourself to others, especially when you are in a profession that seems like a constant competition, but sometimes all we can do is be our best. That will make life much more fulfilling. I appreciate your candid words. Very refreshing.

  13. Don’t be afraid, dear. I have struggled with shyness myself. But I’ve learned to embrace the person I am, and to live my life. You have every right to live as freely as you wish, just as much as anyone else. Do the things you want to do, live out the person you are meant to be and don’t look back. I believe in you, dear. I do. Believe in yourself and smile. xx

  14. Oh no! Don’t be sad!!!!!
    And hey, at least you can chalk up any of your “bad” piano playing to simply a lack of experience, which is something is easily fixed without effort! I know how you feel about not belonging, and don’t worry, I’m sure you really do.

    My recommendation to sadness? Make a play list of ridiculously happy songs, or cheering songs (Change by Taylor Swift, Stronger Woman by Jewel, etc) and listen to it and force yourself to smile. Just this act can already make you feel even a little better. Also watch a movie you know you love and will make you laugh (I love Bridget Jones’s Diary).

    I do hope you feel better soon!! And YOU’RE NOT A FRAUD!!!!

  15. You always find the way to articulate that which I cannot. As for not being the best, I find that it’s sometimes quite a relief. Let the virtuoso’s work on being the best, and you work on learning and being YOUR best. Don’t let the internal or external pressure affect you.

  16. Oh dear, I know exactly what you mean. I have made some BIG mistakes. And forgiving myself is the hardest thing. I know I’ve let the people I love most down. Moving on is hard. But, the only thing that is getting me back to normal is facing it, taking one day at a time, and realizing that the people around me are forgiving so I should forgive myself too.
    I hope all goes well for you. I believe in you. You can’t be disappointed in doing your best!

  17. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings so openly. I think we have all been right here at one time or another…or many times in our lives but most of us are too scared to talk about it. Good for you for being brave! I know you will help others with your honesty. I LOVE this video! I’ve never heard of Brooke. I want to run out and buy her album right now!

  18. Dear Abby : Your are not a fraud. I believe in you!
    You are intelligent, sensible and very honest. Excellent qualities.
    Enjoy the music , the piano…you do not demand you so much!

    There is some sentences very wise that I want share them with you:

    _Adversity enhances this tale we call life. ~Terri Guillemets
    _If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere. ~Frank A. Clark
    The soul would have no rainbow had the eyes no tears.~John Vance Cheney
    _Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which, in prosperous circumstances, would have lain dormant. ~Horace
    _Perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. ~Rainer Maria Rilke

    Only you can conquer your fears and your timidness, practicing the corage daily.

    Best regards and don’t forget: you are an artist!

  19. Oh definitely I think most ‘Normal’ people feel like that I do most of the time…. I play guitar and I got to a point when all my confidence of playing in front of people even my parents just dropped heavily but you have to be strong and carry on 🙂 It’s life ❤
    I hope everything goes ok for you.

  20. Well you’ve made a first step. You shared your pain with us, so, don’t think you are all alone with your struggles. You know, this might sound weird. But the fact that you worry so much to give your best proves you are a special person who dedicates herself to everything she does. I never understood people who were carefree and never questioned anything in their lives. Rather than feeling envy, I feel sorry for them.
    Like Theodore Roosevelt said ” Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat. “

  21. i really feel the same way… it’s so weird how so many people feel alone and afraid… i don’t have any brilliant advice… i’m 25 and i still haven’t figured it out yet… but if it helps… just know you’re not the only one feeling like this…

  22. Hunny, don’t beat yourself up. It takes time to come into yourself and find out who you are. Just be the best you that you can be. You seem to have a kind and gentle heart 🙂

  23. Abby,

    What is the nicest thing anyone has ever said to you (don’t answer here, answer in your mind)? Now listen to it again. And again.

    Smile. A lot of folks like you.

    Happy Ramadan!


  24. Your words resonate with me as they do so many because we all come to this place…we leave, and we come back again. I once learned an invaluable lesson…don’t claim to know it all because you will be discovered. Rather embrace what you don’t know and ask…appreciate that others know more than you and be inspired to continue learning.

    You know though, I think you’ve found a wonderful place in your writing, a community that’s non-judging and an inner peace. You don’t have to be anything that the world wants you to be but discover and embrace YOU. I certainly believe in that. Peace be with you my friend.

  25. Really, an insightful post. I think we all have that placement fear at one time or another. I have to admit a lot of times, I feel more comfortable talking to kids than grownups. It doesn’t help when you have a friend or a parent tell you what you should have done..long afterwards, either.

    Keep being wonderful and creative.

  26. We all make mistakes, but once you’ve taken your lesson from it there is no use looking backwards. I know it’s hard but it’s the only way to stay productive. We’re all scared something and I truly sympathize with you, just try your best not to be your own worst enemy.

  27. You are brave. To share your feelings is not easy. I know it’s difficult.

    Pain nourishes courage. You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you. – Mary Tyler Moore

  28. I am happy that you are feeling better.
    Like you, I am ‘socially awkward’/painfully shy. I guess thats why scribbling on a blog is nice…it is a better medium to overcome that shyness.

  29. I’ve never felt as though I belonged anywhere! I have an impossible time answering the seemingly simple question, “Where are you from?” I’m from everywhere, I’m a global citizen 🙂 although if I actually say that to someone I’m sure he/she will give me an odd look! haha

  30. What a powerful post, thank you for sharing such intimate feelings. I have to say that your music teacher seems a bit cruel in telling you you’re not good. He could have instead said, that your music was not at the same level yet or something else more affirming. Not very helpful.

    I wish you the best in moving forward; I’ve had my times of self-doubt and fear. We all do, it’s just that many of us are afraid to admit it.

  31. Reading this post makes me think that we’re really alike. I’ve had people describe me as “socially awkward” just because I’m not as open to people as I would like to be. I guess we just have to push past the pain of making mistakes in order to try our best.

  32. I know what you mean, I am so scared that I am gonna fail at everything. As for mistakes I have sure had my fare share of them and while the consequences can be devestating they can also lead to great things. I believe that everything happens for a reason and that sometimes we just have to wait and see where it leads. PS love the song, it’s the first time I’ve heard it and I really liked it. Can I reccommend that you listen to the sunscreen song – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xavFb4WH7o0&feature=related – it’s my bible and I listen to it whenever I’m feeling down

  33. As you can see in all the amazing comments, you are not alone Abby.
    I’ve had this conversation so many time with other people. The fear that everyone is going to “figure it out” that I’m a fraud.
    You are so hard on yourself! You are already an amazing person, no matter what surrounds you. I spent way too much time in my life comparing myself to others, and I hope, my dear, that you will too find peace just being…you.
    Because you’re wonderful!

  34. I’ve been scared and have tons of scars. I’ve made millions of mistakes. I’m single, I don’t have a family, I live on rent, I work as a free lance. There is nothing safe in my life. You know what? There is nothing safe in nobody’s life. And we don’t really belong to a place unless we choose to. The only thing I know for sure is that taking risks gets you somewhere. Play with your life, you’ll both have fun.

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