Sometimes in life we let what we cannot do stop us from doing what we can do. Let me explain.
A couple of years ago I had never stepped up on a stage and performed my poetry. I had this really big urge to share and perform but I let my inhibitions keep me from trying. I’ve never performed slam poetry before. I don’t think I’m doing it right. I don’t know the rules. I don’t think people will like what I have to say. The list of reasons went on and on and on. I let my fear take me away from my dreams.
There is this famous poet hub in New York called the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. It’s home to some of the best writers in the world and their famous Wednesday night slam is the place to be. It was my dream, at the time, to perform on that stage. I had some friends who offered to go with me but every time I found a reason to cancel. Every time I found an excuse to put myself down and hold myself back.
One day the world just came together and it worked out. Me and my oldest friend Rebecca stood in line in the freezing cold on a random Wednesday night and I performed my very first slam poem. It was the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done. But after I got off the stage I was just so happy. What had I been so worried about? I didn’t die. No one threw tomatoes at me. Even more I was so much more confident.
This one performance led me to keep performing and competing until I made it onto the Jersey City National Slam team. We place 36th in the world that year. Which may seem like not a huge deal but there were almost 100 teams. I had built myself up enough to be able to do poems about ex’s and family issues. My favorite poem being the one I wrote about God.
Looking back on it, I would have missed out on some of the best memories I have if I would’ve allowed myself to fail. I would have never made it to NPS in San Francisco that year if I would have told myself I am less than. In a crowd of strangers I became the most real, most fearless version of myself.
Today I challenge you. Look in the mirror and say ” you is kind, you is smart, you is important!” I know its a quote from The Help but I love it and I use it often so roll with it. Let go of every reason you have to doubt yourself today. Let go of all your past mistakes. Take a chance on yourself! Invest in yourself! Believe in yourself! You go this!