"They might say I couldn't sing. But they won't say I didn't sing." - FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS
This line from a movie has been tumbling around in my head since we watched it last weekend. Have you seen it? Based on the true story of a woman who loved to sing opera, but didn't do it very well. Yet she put on shows in big venues, sang her heart out, made records and became a bit famous, either because of or in spite of her awful singing voice.
As I watched this story, I felt at first uncomfortable...a bit of the nerves we all feel when we do something creative and put it OUT THERE IN THE WORLD, open to criticism and judgment. Florence was mostly protected from negativity by her husband, and perhaps that's why she kept going despite the odds. All she heard was remarkable feedback until near the end of her life. And she was encouraged to go big! Carnegie Hall, no less! Her dream came true.
Now I am one who really appreciates ALL feedback, not just the positive. Because I truly want to get better at what I do. But the movie did get me to wondering how far a person could go if they were simply encouraged over and over again. As a society, there is a sort snarky judgement vibe that pervades everything we watch and read, for the most part. I see it in our youngsters and in media aimed toward them. I wonder how much this critical undertone inhibits them from reaching for their dreams?
In the end, Florence lived her dream at Carnegie Hall and had her songs played on the radio. True, maybe the songs weren't very good. But her personal experience of her own life was unlimited, grand and fearless! And don't we all want that?
So as we roll into a new year, contemplating goals, dreams and resolutions, I am determined to encourage others - endlessly, fully and enthusiastically. Because with a little cheerleading, any one of us, or ALL of us, could live out our dreams.