by Nina Bingham
I’ve never publicly promoted music before, but the first time I heard songstress Sara Bareilles sing, Brave, it was an extraordinarily painful moment for me. Everything in the room faded; it seemed Sara and I were the only ones left. She was singing the words I had wanted to say to my daughter. Tears ran down my face and literally brought me to my knees.
My daughter had just committed suicide, and while she was an extraordinarily bright and exotically beautiful girl, at age 15 her introverted personality and severely depressed brain wasn’t brave enough to accept the help she’d been offered. She was so much sicker than any of us ever suspected.
Sara sang: “Nothing’s gonna hurt you the way the words do when they settle ‘neath your skin. Kept on the inside and no sunlight, sometimes a shadow wins…maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live. Maybe one of these days you can let the light in…show me how big your brave is.”
Like the old Roberta Flak classic, “Killing Me Softly With His Song,” my broken mother’s heart was being crucified by her haunting lyrics. I’ve listened to it many times since that day, each time marveling at Sara’s genius lyrical acumen, how she crafts pieces of elegant poetry, humbly labeling them “songs.” Recently, I heard the song, Brave, again, and was surprised when Sara showed up in my office for the second time. It was just her and I again, although this time she wasn’t singing about my daughter. This time Sara was singing about me.
See, I had been worrying, which is nothing new for me. Even though I can teach clients anxiety management strategies until the cows come home, when it comes to me, I’m blind as a bat. As a Life Coach, it’s an occupational hazard; I can never take my own advice. Ever feel that way?
Even psychic Sylvia Browne, perhaps the most famous psychic in modern history, dispenser of predictions and advice, freely admitted she could never objectively see her own life, or what to do about her own problems. If Sylvia couldn’t, I certainly can’t. I’m a special brand of worrier, though. I’ll cover all my bases and then go back and check all my bases, just to make sure I really did get them covered; an OCD-like ritualistic kind of checking (but no, I don’t have it). One of my professors good-naturedly sent me this picture attached to the research paper I had been ceaselessly checking on, and said while I had earned one of the highest grades in class on my research, I had gotten an “F” in trusting the Universe. Ouch.
I hope you’re smiling because you can relate. Yes, I admit it, I get worried, too. Recently, when I heard Sara’s song again, it hit me at a time when I happened to be caught in the rip-tide of a worry-funnel. Or caught in what you might call a “Shame Spiral.” You know what I’m talking about…the worry starts building into a storm cloud, picking up speed and before you know it, it’s built up so much steam that the insecurity becomes a worry funnel, which grips you in a deadly shame spiral, and down you go.
On the ground once more, pushed down by my own demeaning mistakes of the past that keep telling me I can’t succeed, Sara Bareilles appears in my office as I’m groveling on the floor. She looks at me and shakes her head knowingly and says, “Say what you wanna say! And let the words fall out. Honestly, I want to see you be brave!” I remembered as she was singing how my daughter had kept all the words back, and how the secret shame of being mentally ill had killed her spirit. In my mind, my daughter, Moriyah, showed up next to Sara, and the both of them were killing me softly with their song. My office was getting a little crowded, and then like the icing on the cake, my favorite professor who had taken the time to care enough to call me a worry wart showed up, and all three of them were singing to me, “I just wanna see you be BRAVE.” I started to cry a little bit this time, too, because just when I needed it, I was reminded that past failures don’t determine our futures. Just ask Sara Bareilles, she’ll tell you.
P.S. I wanna see you be BRAVE.
About the Author: Nina Bingham is an Author, Life Coach, and Clinical Hypnotherapist. Inspiring, sincere and whole-hearted, she educates not only from her academic knowledge, but shares from her own hard-won life experience in a new and profound way. In private practice since 2003, she has treated individuals and couples with a wide variety of mental health issues. She is the author of three books of poetry and one recovery workbook, Never Enough. Her fifth book, “Once The Storm Is Over: From Grieving to Healing After The Suicide of My Daughter,” is the autobiographical confession of a counselor who lost her teen daughter to suicide. What she learned about love and forgiveness changed her life forever. It will change yours, too. Visit Nina’s blog or join her on Twitter. Nina’s daughter, Moriyah, was born on August 25, 1997 and died on July 9, 2013.