“If you bargain away your life for security you will never find your bliss.”
Or to put it more simply… get the fuck out of your comfort zone.
It feels SO good. Maybe not before, or during but it will when it is done and you are still standing. Doing something you told yourself you could never do is extremely satisfying.
I have been doing this more and more lately. I started small with more vulnerable FB posts, and than this blog which was very uncomfortable for me at first. Each time I push it a littler further.
Last Wednesday night, I did something that was scary for me. I read a poem I wrote at a poetry slam. I still can’t believe I did it. Me, the one who panicked if a teacher ever called on her in class. Me, the one who dropped college courses if there was a presentation. Me, the little girl hiding behind her mom’s skirt afraid of the world.
I had written a short poem a week earlier so I brought it with me and signed up to see what would happen. I had never been to a poetry slam before so I had no idea what to expect. They randomly selected ten people to go and of course my name was picked first. This was perfect because I probably would have changed my mind if I heard some of the other poems first, because (OMG) they were good.
Before I went, I started talking to the woman next to me. I found out she was a career writer and when I asked if she was going to do it she laughed and said no. I thought, “Oh dear, what have I done!? She won’t even do this!”
I knew it was going to be unprofessional compared to the others but that was not the purpose of it for me. I am not a poet nor do I enjoy being in front of people. I do enjoy making myself extremely uncomfortable which I succeeded in doing. They called my name and my heart was pounding but I did it. It was thrilling. I can’t remember all the scores from the judges but I don’t think I got higher than a 4 out of 10 (which is really “bad”) Fortunately, I was grading myself on a different scale and I totally rocked it.
After I went, I stayed to listen to the other poems. I found many of them very touching. A central theme in the poems that night reflected on the LGBT community, personal experiences, and the recent Orlando shooting. I crave authenticity so hearing words that seemed to come deep from the heart is always a pleasant (but not always painless) experience for me.
The last poet was a special guest, Joy Young. She shared a few of her “queer” poems. Her poems were beautiful and I admired her courageous honesty. For me, I also found the words helpful to see the world through her reality which, like everyone else’s, is different from mine. I think poetry is a powerful tool at evoking empathy for the plight of others. Carefully chosen words can break down barriers but only when they are from the heart. I was happy to be there to hear hers and those of the other poets that night. I was also happy to share my own.
Mantra of the day: Get out there and get uncomfortable my friends because “when you have the courage to follow your talents into the dark unknown places they lead, often God will send angels to light your way.” Shannon L. Alder
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!