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A couple of nights ago I was working until the wee hours of the morning with two of my artist-colleagues, with whom I have a monthly artist-workshop. I have spoken of this collaboration in my blog before: a highly rewarding get-together each month where two of my close artist-friends and I share our latest creations, and give constructive feedback and suggestions, thus helping each other grow and improve our work.

The other night I brought in all of my lyrics for my upcoming album for inspection, as I am at the point in recording, where I’m just about to start singing my final vocals. This was the last chance before sealing the deal to see if there were any lyrical faux-pas’ that I had overlooked. Indeed, we found a number of things that I have yet to tighten up. In the process of making an album, (especially as lengthy and eventful as this process has been) it is inevitable that growth will occur. And certain choices that one makes in the beginning of that process, are not the same ones one would go for at the end of it. It is easy to get lazy and simply decide to leave those choices as they are and have been for months and sometimes years, but then I would be selling myself short. I am grateful to have friends who push me to be the best songwriter I can be.

One issue which I have found challenging though, is accepting help from others. I have struggled with the misconception that if someone helps me improve a line that I wrote, then I can’t possibly claim that I wrote it. Immediately, in my head I twist it to mean that the whole song has been written by that other person.

I had a healing conversation about this very subject this week with my poet-friend, Robin Morgan (pictured with me, above and below.) She asked me: “Just because you help me out with my poem, does that mean you wrote it?” I naturally replied: “Of course not!” For some reason, the concept was easy when it came to someone else’s work, but when it applied to mine, it became a lot more complicated.

This year has seen me change many things about my life, but one of the most important changes is this: I no longer have an illusion that I’m supposed to handle everything on my own. I’ve learned that is ok to accept help and support from others, and that it doesn’t mean that I am weak or incapable. Accepting help does not mean that I am dependent on it.

These days I am learning to trust others and their good intentions, and the fact that I deserve the care that people willingly give to me. Be it a trip to fetch me from the airport, or accompanying me to a particularly daunting doctor’s visit, or checking to see whether there’s too much death and destruction in my lyrics–I am entitled to any and all of the assistance my loved ones wish to give to me. It doesn’t mean that I’m not standing on my own two feet; it doesn’t mean that I’m not carrying my own weight. It simply means that I’m ready to allow that closeness and intimacy and vulnerability. That to me, paradoxically, is strength.

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