The worst mind games are the ones we play with ourselves. We stick post-it notes to our own foreheads as reminders of what worries us just so we don’t forget to focus on those fears. Before we know it our subconscious mind is programmed and like puppets we dance to songs of fear whether those fears are rational or not. Eventually the music in our head gets so loud we have to make a choice: succumb to it and believe what we’ve been telling ourselves or confront it head on and fight until we can turn the volume down.
The UN has declared this Friday October 11th International Day of the Girl. It’s also the day of the biggest performance I’ve done since my April show at the Apollo Music Cafe. The only thing I’ve done more consistently than teaching workshops is perform. Poetry, dance, music, theater–I have always performed. Every possible distraction that could exist has come up. The guys in my inner-circle say that it just means it’s going to be a damn good show. I am adopting their perspective but still wanting to meditate on letting go of any negative energy I may be carrying. What is in my way?
Last week the answer to my question came. I finally admitted that I am in my own way. What is it that makes us humans so uncomfortable with being our best? Why do we resist shining our brightest light? Why do we not give 100% of ourselves to the very thing that we say we want? I have performed thousands of times, where are these fears coming from?
Last year I had a performance where I made a major mistake in a song. It was the kind of mistake where you find out who your friends are. When I worked with my coach, he walked me through an exercise to demonstrate that my mistake was based on my not warming up. Simple enough but self-forgiveness has still been a journey. I am absolutely comfortable freestyling in front of thousands of people yet the fear of singing until now– persists.
I know it is tied to letting go of the good opinions of others. The fear of not being perfect can be self-destructive. Atelophobia is the scientific term for the fear of not being good enough. Our fear may not be at the level of an anxiety disorder, but not only do many artists have it but people in general carry these feelings of unreality and extreme disappointment when we fail at something. It’s ironic because I work professionally as a communication coach, an area where I know I am a master teacher. I coach my clients to let go of the very fears I am dealing with in another realm. I can see their potential greatness and massage their resistance. In my freestyle rap and improv poetry workshops I coach artists to make mistakes material and to embrace their imperfections. Getting over these things is critical to our personal development and to reaching many of our goals.
I am a performer, I am a speaker, I am a presenter, I am a conveyor of messages and music and I have been groomed for this very moment in my life. I rap, I sing, I speak the spoken word. I am a writer with stories to tell and feelings to share. There are insights that are unique to me, that were meant to come through me. I am not my mistakes nor am I my fears. I remind my mind that I am in charge. I control the tapes that play in my head. I am whole, healthy and in complete harmony with myself, my gifts and the universe. God rocks mics through me so every time I perform I get open, I do my best, I honor my gifts.
I plan to play a new kind of game with my mind this week. It’s the least I can do to honor the girl within and all of the girls watching. My drummer has assembled a tight band that can support what it is that I do and my girls Yolanda Zama and Gabriella Callendar will bring both their love and musical genius to the stage. The show must indeed go on…