Most of my life, I’ve struggled a great deal with confidence. It all started in junior high because of being relentlessly picked on, I started to believe I wasn’t good enough. I constantly compared myself to others, and it continually began to cripple me and destroy the joy I found in things that I loved to do. When it came to art, I thought I wasn’t good enough to call myself an artist. When it came to making music, I thought I was a terrible musician. When I wrote, I thought the things I wrote weren’t good enough to publish. I came to this realization that I was not confident in things that gave me life when I worked at a Salvation Army Day Camp for kids. Kids would complement me all the time on music I would play for them and doodles I would draw while they were watching a movie, but I would always dodge their compliments by saying, “thanks, but I’m really not that great at _____.” Earlier in the summer, I had one camper in particular that’s incredibly honest hug me and say, “Mr. Evan, you’re kind of chubby aren’t you?” He didn’t mean it maliciously, he was just a kid being an honest kid. I sighed deeply and said, “yeah…I am kind of chubby, buddy.” The reason I’m telling you this is to show how honest the kid was, and why something he told me two weeks later began to change my outlook on myself. Two weeks later, this same camper tried to complement me on a song I played for the kids. As I started to dodge the compliment, he said to me, “Mr. Evan, why do you always say you’re bad at things? It’s not true! You’re awesome!”
I wish I could say that from this point on, I immediately started to feel fully confident in myself, loved everything I ever made, started feeling amazing about myself all of the time, and floated around on clouds with rainbow jets—although I did not, I started to think maybe I was good enough. Shortly after that, I began going to counseling in college because I wanted to deal with my issues of feeling inadequate and unconfident. The more I went, the more I realized I struggle with depression, stemmed from winter (CURSE YOU SEASONAL DEPRESSION), and at times, stemmed from feeling I’m not good enough. The older I get, the more I realize that this struggle will never go away, but it will be a continual (at times daily) battle of seeing myself as good enough, not succumbing to fear that I am is a failure, and doing things that give me life.
As I’m writing this, I am coming off of work crew assignment for Young Life. It was a good month, but today I finally realized how exhausted I’ve been (even before assignment) emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Today has really made me start to refocus on life. This past year I’ve been putting so much energy on being “good enough” and trying to impress people, I’ve lost sight of who I am. Unconditionally loved by a Savior greater than anything I could ever imagine. I don’t need to front for Him. I don’t need to be good enough—He died for me so that I am good enough. My confidence doesn’t need to come from being good enough, from being better than other people, or from being the best at something. My confidence should come from the fact that I am a child of God who loves me unconditionally.
The reason I’m saying all of this is that as of right now, I’m hitting the “reset” button on Penn N Paper. If you’ve been following along, you’ve probably noticed that I haven’t done the podcast for over a year. You’ve probably noticed I haven’t written anything since April. From this point on, I’ve decided that I am going to live into the reality that Christ is my confidence, and I’m going to start doing things that give me life. I’m going to write. I’m going to podcast. I’m going to make music. I’m going to make videos. I’m going to create—and it doesn’t matter if it’s “good enough” to please anyone, because I’ve got nothing to prove.
Expect the blog to have new postings three times a week. Expect a podcast at least once a month. Expect an EP to come out on my site—free of charge (donations accepted)—at some point over the next year. Expect me to be more honest on the human experience through my own lens. Expect me to offer some levity at times. Expect me to try to be more myself. Join with me in this adventure—the heavy, and the light. If you struggle like me, I invite you to do the same. Create with me. Let’s make cool stuff while we’re alive. Thanks for coming along for the ride.