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.
“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.