I attended a live poetry night a while back for the first time and had NO IDEA what to expect. I questioned whether it was “my thing” or not, based on silly stereotypes and preconceptions that I wouldn’t fit in with the artsy crowd.
I was surprised, moved, inspired and most importantly…Proven WRONG! Isn’t it great when life gives you those little wake-up calls? I was in awe of their courage to speak such truth. To share their tears and laughter with a room full of strangers. Regardless of trembling hands and sweaty foreheads, vulnerability triumphed fear. Yassss!
Each sentence shot through me leaving a trail of goosebumps. As if part of my sleeping soul was awakening after an unintentional hibernation. Each poet could not be more externally different, yet commonalities ran through each of us like a sacred chord that connects all mankind. The audience clicked their fingers in ‘knowingness’ and support. It was a “whole new world”, to quote Aladin. I was happy Netflix didn’t lure away my attention on this occasion.
I pictured myself up there, baring my soul. Would people like me? Would they click their fingers? Would I be accepted? Understood? These thoughts must go through everyone’s mind, the difference being that some don’t let fear stop them. We all want to feel good enough, but waiting for external validation from others doesn’t really cut the mustard if you don’t believe in YOSELF first.
This enlightening evening sparked memories of my school days. Where praise was given for paraphrasing and I was told off for being too opinionated. When I finally got the chance to express myself in the ONE creative writing assignment all year, grades weren’t so hot. Spelling and grammar seemed more important than effort and meaning. Darnit… “I guess I’m not creative enough 😦 If Mrs so and so doesn’t think so then it must be so”, thought little Niki. WRONG!
These memories made me kinda mad. Looking back it seemed ridiculous to grade creativity, it’s too subjective. Absolutely ridiculous to give ONE person the power to crush a spirit or deter a dream. I mean, personally, I don’t get Picasso but he turned out all right. Walt Disney was even fired for “lacking creativity and imagination” according to his boss. We each have an audience, you just have to find it. What isn’t your cup of tea might be right up someone else’s alley and that’s the beauty of individuality!
My point is, don’t let grades/individuals/past failures define who you are and what you are capable of. Don’t ever let them inhibit you from doing what you love. Because by doing what we love, we are doing what we are good at and what makes us happy. We each have something unique to contribute to the world that is upgradeably magnificent. Speak, write, paint, dance and create your truth, we all need to hear it ❤