Carmen Rasmusen Herbert: How a mean email motivated me to share love and light

Damian Dovarganes, Associated Press

In this Feb. 27, 2013, file photo illustration, hands type on a computer keyboard in Los Angeles.

About a year ago, I was asked to write a song for a convention in New Mexico called the Women of Light Convention. I spent many days and nights pondering what I could share that would be positive, uplifting, encouraging and, most of all, motivating. I wanted women everywhere to feel they could make a difference by sharing their light. That their influence mattered.

Weeks after completing the song and witnessing yet again the magic of music creation, I headed down to Ashton Gardens at Thanksgiving Point to film a music video of sorts to be projected onto the big screen during my performance. I was excited to be a part of something whose whole purpose was to bring women from all walks of life together in unity.

I was standing on the grass by a little stream lined with flowering trees and berry bushes with the camera pointed at my face, ready to roll, when my phone buzzed. I had received an email. The videographer was still getting the settings on his camera just right, so I pulled it out and opened it up.

“Your last column sounded like it was written by a 14-year-old,” it began. My stomach dropped and my heart began to pound. The email went on and on about my lacking abilities and poor judgment. The person made fun of the fact that I was a former “American Idol” contestant, as if they thought I was using that for credibility, and not simply a way for people to remember where they might recognize me from should they see a column of mine. It was very hurtful.

“OK, we’re ready!”

I quickly shoved my phone back in my purse and took a deep breath, trying to look happy. And it was in that moment that I felt like a total fraud. How could I possibly stand in front of a camera and act like I was so happy to be sharing a message of hope when I was starting to lose my own?

Doubt swirled around in my mind and I began thinking of all the ways I was unqualified for everything I was trying to do. What was I doing? Who cares about what I have to say? My whole life,…

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