The Voices

Today I envisioned myself performing on a stage.

It was a stadium, sold out, packed with screaming people. The people were screaming for me — not just me; they were screaming for my art. They were screaming for the pieces of music and poetry that I wrote. They were lost in the pure ecstasy of experiencing my words — live.

It was glorious. I wanted that. I still want that.

And then the voices began.

They never scream; they always whisper. I suspect it is because they know it would be too easy reject. Sudden movements and loud noises cause our fight or flight reflexes to engage. The voices are intelligent enough to know that I have to believe they are my friends in order for me to listen to them.

So they whisper sweet nothings into my soul. Sweet nothings that are meant to bind my wings. They make me believe that flying is impossible when I was made for the sky.

“Impossible.”

“You are too old.”

You are too ugly.”

“You aren’t talented enough.”

“There are other who are better than you.”

“Who will pay to see you.”

The voices say this; they ask me that.

Anything can be used to disqualify me from relishing in the idea of what I want to be — what I could be. It is all under the guise of being realistic. The voices are trying to protect me.

And the voices bring feelings.

You know the feelings you get in your stomach the moment you visualize yourself doing something amazing?

The vision begins to feel scary; it begins to feel too big for me. Then I ask myself am I worthy of this dream? I do not know. I do not know if I am willing to do what it takes to discover the answer. And where I am now feels better than where I want to be because where i am now is secure.

I am protected.

But there is a blurry line between protection and hinderance. In protecting myself, I could be stifling myself from blossoming into my full potential.

I can either be great or I can be safe; I am not sure I can have both.

A couple months back I posted a video on Facebook. It was J.Cole performing. It was an amazing moment because he stopped rapping his lyrics and the audience performed his whole song. They were performing for him.

It was inspiring.

I captioned it by saying, “I can’t even imagine how this feels.”

And a friend of mine commented, “Yes, you can.”

She was right.

I can imagine my greatness but I don’t believe it’s possible — I don’t believe in myself.

And it’s time for that to change.

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Full Circle

When I was a freshman in college I knew all I wanted todo was write. I had already decided that basketball wasn’t what I wanted and that writing was going to fulfill me. (That is another story for another day.)
I had an amazing english teacher who saw my passion for reading and writing. She took me under her wing; she gave me extra assignments and weekly meetings outside of our scheduled class times. The extra work didn’t feel like work; it felt like fun.
One day she said, “Ro, you are a great writer. What do you want to do in life?”
I responded with what I knew. “I want to be a writer.”
She said, “Well what are you going to get your degree in?”
I said, “Creative writing.”
Her response would break me.
She said, “Oh no! You can’t do that. You will never make any money with that degree.”
I don’t remember her name anymore and I barely even remember what she looks like. I know she meant me no harm, but if I knew then what I know now I would have never let that derail me.
I am a creative writer. I am in a place where I am embracing it. I am allowing myself to be comfortable knowing that this is what I love to do, whether anyone ever reads my work or not, I feel comfortable knowing this is my place — this is home for me.
But that moment derailed me. It took me away from my focus. I lost my way. My motivation for being in school was drained, and eventually, I stopped going.
I hadn’t learned how to trust myself. I was ignoring my own instincts; my internal compass was telling me where I needed to be. Life is beautiful in how it will bring you to where you are meant to be — where you want to be — even after you have ignored it before. 
There are different reasons as to why we ignore what we want. Sometimes we feel like they are unacceptable or maybe we think we can’t be successful or make money doing it. We can lie to ourselves and try and fill the hole with other things. But sooner or later, we have to be honest with ourselves about what it is that we truly love. And then we have a choice. Either we follow that love or we continue to pretend. 
Alexi Panos, motivational speaker and life coach, asks the question, “What is your highest excitement?” 
My highest excitement is, and for as long as I can remember, has been writing. And when we find that place, there aren’t many feelings that quite compare to it. 
But there is a cost. Following your highest excitement comes with a sacrifice. Sometimes it means that you have to reject societies idea if what you should be and begin creating your own vision for your life. It can be scary and uncertain, but what you gain from the process is priceless.
I can’t help but think if I had chosen earlier to commit to writing where I would. But I am grateful for the path I have taken and I am grateful for where I am now. I feel like I am coming full circle. 
As they say, “All roads lead home.”

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Empty

this heart of mine is filled with holes

who knew carrying so much

emptiness could be so heavy

so consuming

but the emptiness is here

i would show it to you

but the only ones who see

are the only ones who desire

and the only ones who desire

are the only ones who volunteer

they look when i ask them

they look when i don’t ask them

they choose

they choose love

they choose me

and here i am

still

riddled with love-shaped craters the size of galaxies

toting burdens the size of celestial bodies

striving to plug these holes with

anger

anxiety

envy

impatience

i wear these on my being like a modern day Atlas

suddenly i see

these replacements are empty as i am

products of false evidence appearing to be reality

but now the choice is mine

either i choose to see or  i remain blind

either i choose life or i choose to die

either i choose love or i choose to be afraid

but one thing for sure

in order to choose love for myself and others

i must choose me

because

I was never empty

after all

I am LOVE

***

loving others

is impossible

without first choosing

to love ourselves.

to love ourselves

is to love others;

to love others

is to love ourselves.

to love

is

to love

everything.

choose love.


 

 

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These Words

will they revere these words as relics?  

will they say God wrote them?

will they be recited, said to be unaltered?  

will they change my words to be what they want?  

will they use my words to control — to manipulate populations?

to enforce crooked morality?  religious devotion?  divine mandates?

will they violate my intentions and substitute their own?  

once these words leave my heart and bloom in your mind

they are no longer mine.  They are yours, too.

how you use them — for poison or elixir — is up to you.  

i am a man frail as feathers; blind as darkness.

i share my ideas.  My experiences. My thoughts.  

pieces to a mural; moments in Eternity.   

these words, unwhole and Holy; tainted and Pure.

do you see God in them? do you see Your Self in them?

do you hear Devils in the syllables? do you hear Sin in my verbs?

 

ro lamb

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