Whose approval are you looking for?

On writing, sports, and baggage

In the world of Ted Lasso, Jamie Tartt gets the gold star for “Most Improved.”

If you don’t know the show, Ted is an American third-division college football coach. He gets hired on as the coach of a Premier League football club in London, and his star player is Jamie Tartt.

But Jamie’s a prima donna.

A brightly burning ball of ego that—we realize over time—is fueled by his father.

Or, more specifically, by the combustible chemistry of Jamie’s fear and longing for his father’s approval.

But an interesting thing happens in Season 3.

Jamie’s fire? It’s gone.

His Dad’s disappeared from the match day crowds—we don’t know where.

Without his Dad, Jamie’s lost. And in order to become truly great, on his own, he has to see how his whole life he was borrowing fire.

He has to learn how to find his own.

How to give himself his own approval.

Ted Lasso Im Lost GIF by Apple TV

Gif by AppleTV on Giphy

What an idiot dog my husband rescued from traffic on a county road in Florida two years ago has to do with writing, and borrowing fire—

—and how borrowing fire can hold back your creative life.

Fear, judgment, perfection? It’s all here:

  • Waiting for approval is like trying to use someone else’s fire, when you can only use your own.

  • The truth is, Margaret Atwood, we’re all just kids in disguise. Our whole lives.

  • It’s only in giving yourself your own approval that you become authentic. You see everyone around you has their own vivid triumphs and inherited craziness. (2 minute watch)

Some people spend their whole lives waiting for the sound of a starting gun that never goes off.

Ken Burns understands how the things we carry run through our creations—maybe obviously, maybe not. (5 min watch)

The shape of fear, of those old needs you hold onto.

Words from Mary Oliver on letting go.

🧠 and ❤️