Kate Coleman


Since my last blog entry 6 weeks ago, I've been trying to shed my ego more and more. Ego is interesting: it protects you, gives you an identity, and keeps you "in control" of your "destiny". Well, I'm finding that my ego just makes me feel like shit. I hear it come out when I try to make myself sound like I’m more than I actually am. You see, my ego's subtitle, right under my name would be, "Likeable, Accomplished, & Successful Singer-Songwriter" and my ego NEEDS people to believe it. But lately when I hear it come out, it takes form as this sour feeling in my stomach, a tightness in my chest, and it makes me anxious; I kind of have a song about it! I'm surprisingly grateful to be more self-aware about it... I think this must be the other side of learning how to take responsibilty for your own actions/consequences.

Because of my ego’s desire to be likeable, I've always been TERRIBLE with confrontation; I would avoid it like the plague because I would get so uncomfortable. As a result, I would over commit to things I didn’t want to do, withhold information, and even tell white-lies in order to avoid the tiniest arguments. That's gone now. I'm no longer afraid to stand up for myself or respectfully disagree with someone which I NEVER did before. That's very empowering and, I believe, another result of learning how to shed my ego. 

Now listen, I stand up for myself but what I DO NOT DO is jump down someone‘s throat when they disagree with me. In fact, I purposely try to do the exact opposite. I try REALLY HARD to imagine life from other peoples persective to gain sympathy and understanding of who they are. 

The other week, I played a Dixie Chicks song (really a Darrell Scott song but whatever) during a show and a lovely young woman from the other act performing that evening jumped up on stage to sing harmonies with me. It was so fun! Her and I had been talking earlier and I was telling her, along with loving Dixie Chicks' music, how much I admire Natalie Maines for her courage, strength, and wisdom during her/their career crisis. Fast forward to the end of the evening: I wanted to say goodbye to my new friend before I left but she was chatting with a gentleman that had seen her play. It just so happened that him and I were talking earlier that night- we had a pleasant conversation about music and mutual acquaintances that we shared. I decided to cut in quickly to say goodnight and I thanked her for singing with me. The gentleman excitedly asked, "Oh what did you sing?!", and I told him that we sang a Dixie Chicks song. I visibly saw his stance morph from open and sweet to suspicious and inward. He then proceeded to say to me, "Hmm well, I liked them until they decided to put their boots in their mouths!", which is a common reaction I get when I bring up my favorite bands name. The girl went on and said, "Oh, well that's actually part of why Kate likes them so much". He seemed a bit surprised and even more suspicious by that. 

Let's pause here for a moment...

That right there was this man's ego stepping in. His subtitle would be something like, "I am a patriot, a protector of what is right and I will call out confidently what is wrong." There’s nothing really wrong with that.... except, I believe, our human tendency is to use our ego's as weapons. I think that is VERY clear nowadays with everyone broadcasting on facebook. But you know what I realized? That may really be how he feels! Maybe he had someone die in 9/11. Maybe he has a relative that served our country and he felt Natalie Maines was disrespecting that. Maybe President Bush was his hero and he 100% believed in his decision to go to war. I. DON'T. KNOW. So what gives me the right to quickly judge him? Absolutely nothing.

Let's resume...

I said, "I just think she was very brave and I can't imagine how betrayed she must have felt but regardless of what you think of them personally, they are great musicians." He agreed but still seemed to have a wavering opinion of me. I smiled and made myself EVEN MORE open to him (again, practicing shedding my ego). I leaned in toward him a bit and said, "I'm comfortable with not agreeing if you are, I mean hey-- you liked me real well until you found out how much I love the Dixie Chicks, right!?"
We all laughed and he came in for a hug and I hugged him right back. It was actually a beautiful moment.

I'm not a ’shout in your face with my opinion’ type of person because I believe, in the grand scheme, it doesn't really matter. My best friend voted for Trump. Yes, MY BEST FRIEND voted for A DIFFERENT PERSON THAN ME! Politcally we agree on nothing but she is one of the most respectful, loving, generous, and kind-hearted people I know. She's always there for me and we want the same things in life; peace, love, and happiness. Even better, WE CAN TALK about why we hold our different opinions, understand where each person is coming from, respect it, and then eat lunch and move on. Oh, and she doesn't like the Dixie Chicks either.

I'm a realist. I don't think "love will conquer all" so I'm grateful that there are men and women out there fighting good fights. But I do think love can save your soul. In hard situations, instead of getting scared then defensive take a deep breath and respond as lovingly as you can. Now, I'm not an expert with this and probably in no position to give advice. In fact, I’ll probably kick myself in a year if/when I read this and say something like, "what a fool you were, young Kate Coleman!". But I'm cool with that. 

All I'm trying to say is your ego is not you. Underneath it, we're all very similar. The older I get, the more I notice that and I find it very comforting.


2018-09-28 20:20:50 - Andrew Gregor
You are a great talent. We are all as “unique as snow flakes”. ( stole from a friend). We are not meant to agree on everything, but it is nice when we can get along with those who differ. To be able to let other be themselves and not be threatened.
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