The Value of Being "Good Enough"

"And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good."

–John Steinbeck, East Of Eden 

Growing up, I was a bit of a perfectionist. I got good grades. I was competitive, and wanted to be the best at the sports I played. My clothes and hair had to be just right. And my room was always spotless — I happily made my bed each and every morning, and would get pissed off if one of my brothers came in to sit on it or mess it up.  

Thankfully, I’ve eased up the perfectionism over the years, though I still make my bed each morning and do like to do things "well." But it took a rather big fall from grace in my life — a struggle with addiction for a brief but impactful period of my early 20s, which I’ve shared about in interviews and my music — that I can look back on as a kind of "before and after" of this perfectionist pedestal I’d been on, and the life I’ve been creating since.  

My fall was an awakening. 

Now that I didn’t have to be perfect, I could be good.

I could be real. I could be messy. I could be wild. I could be free. I could make mistakes and learn from them. I could create my life from my heart and my desires and not what others thought it should look like from the outside.  

This newfound outlook on the possibilities for myself and life started to take shape during my later years of college, then after as a young professional in my mid-twenties. And from this near destruction of my former self came the fertile ground of creation — of starting my solo music project, Lady Lazarus, where I could be all those things. Messy. Wild. Free. Brave. I could excavate the dark in me, exploring melodies pulled down seemingly from the stars, and give voice and light to my deepest pains, feelings, desires. Living from this place changed the course of my life, and has facilitated more healing than years of therapy likely ever could.

"Heart over mastery," the old adage goes that a creative friend once said of my music, which seems accurate along this chosen, artistic journey. I didn’t wait to become a master at piano and songcraft before writing my songs — I just went for it, and that helped create something unique I feel, combining the skills I do have, into something singular and often beautiful. Because I learned it’s better to be "good enough" at something, then to be scared to start and do nothing at all.

There has been far too much feeling not good enough in various areas of my life that have held me back. But these days as I grow more into my artistry, my own form of mastery, and into being the master of my own life, I’m learning that good enough is a great place to be.