Emma Hardyman

I started singing, writing songs, and performing in middle school, and I realized being on stage was exhilarating because it was where I felt most deeply connected to myself. I’m an emotional person, so when I felt a certain emotion, I’d sit down with my guitar and put words to it because that was the best way of expressing myself. 

However, as I got older, adolescence wiped out the confidence I’d developed as a child when I allowed what others said about me to impact me negatively. I had songs and stories inside me, but I was too scared about what other people would think. To put my stories and songs out there and have people laugh at them would be like someone diving into my deepest soul just to drown me. Fear latched onto my insecurities and created its own stories to make me stay small. 

Quarantine interceded to change my story by forcing me to be alone with my thoughts. At first, I hated it. Then one day I was sitting outside, and a monarch butterfly flew by. As a kid I’d loved butterflies, and it got me thinking about where that kid had gone. The little girl who smiled, laughed, and believed in herself. I felt as if I were meant to see this butterfly because butterflies embody change, and I knew it was time for me to make a change. 

I cut out social media, toxic friends, and bad habits and began journaling and working with a life coach. I focused on appreciating small things like the smell of a candle, the colors of the sky, the orchestra of the morning birds, and I consciously forced my negative thoughts from my mind. When I wrote, “I’m learning to breathe in the hopes and dreams of my future and exhale the pain of the past,” I was inspired to set it to music and build a song around it. Playing on the piano, I used my four favorite chords and turned that line into the chorus of my song “Mind Storm.” I realized that my worst fear was not fully becoming the person I wanted to be. To look back on life and think “what if?”  What if I wasted my chances by not taking risks? What if I shared my words and they actually reached someone who needed them to overcome their own battles? 

No longer wanting to live in fear’s shadow, I decided to go on a date with fear. If I valued speaking up, then why not ask fear about its presence in my life. I conversed with fear with my journal and pen, asking questions like “why do I let fear overpower my dreams?” Ultimately, fear revealed it was trying to teach me to fully believe in myself. Once I understood that, I refused to allow it to hold me back. Instead, I turned this understanding into my song “Fly” about not stopping myself from achieving my dreams and finally breaking free from fear’s grasp. 

I no longer care if people judge me or my songs because their judgments are about them, not me. Being enough for myself is what matters. I think everyone could list a thousand things they think would make them happier. But nothing can make someone feel worthy if they don’t already feel that way to begin with. So, I wrote a song about learning to stop looking outside of myself to see my worth, telling myself that I am, in fact, enough. “To Be Enough” encapsulates my personal journey to loving myself the way I am.

Fear and I have made a pact to not just live life but be alive. To courageously express myself in my art and never again limit my creativity. To share my voice, my music, and my words in hopes that I’ll inspire others “To Be Enough” as they are. 

 

To be fearless.

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