So by the time I’m writing this, I’ve attended a poetry slam twice (yay!) so I’ll probably mention both experiences. I’m feeling a little nostalgic now that Omicron is taking over.
Feel free to keep reading if that interests you. And if you want to hear the voice behind the words (or get a little extra tea) you can check out the audio version on Wednesday!
I actually went by myself the first time. Which is crazy enough on its own because I have a hard time doing things on my own. I usually overthink it or talk myself out of it so this was definitely a step out of my comfort zone.
I found a poster advertising it on my way to my screenwriting class and I was like “well why not?”
I remember walking in and I was nervous as fuck. Best believe I sat in the corner and listened to everyone else talk contemplating whether or not to get up there. Even with all my successes as a writer, I still felt like my work wasn’t going to be good enough or appreciated or I was going to make a fool out of myself. I was convinced that something was going to go wrong so I wanted to blend into the background and just keep everything to myself. That wasn’t my original intention though and this is where I always remember that fear is the biggest killer of all dreams. At least it’s the biggest killer of mine. I swear that if the host hadn’t made me sign up I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be writing this right now.
But I did it. And I loved it. And everyone loved me. There was so much magic in that room, so much love. I never felt so seen in my life.
It was like I was high but in a good way. It made me wonder why I was so shy in the first place and why I felt like my work was good enough when it was. Nobody was thinking about that. Artists just want to be around other artists. To share their pain and joy and all their individual human experiences.
I read two poems that day. One was about my boyfriend and the other was from my book mourning doves.
I think that first experience taught me that I need to stop being so fearful of the unknown and embrace it. That strangers can feel like family in all the best ways. And that being able to share a piece of yourself is indescribable. Magical even.
Now the second time, I had the pleasure of going with my boyfriend.
He always wants to be apart of the things I love so this was special in a different way. Ever since I met him, he’s always been my number one fan.
And this particular poetry slam just proved to me that people who want to support you, will, and they’ll do it wholeheartedly. He was one of the first people to clap for me and soothe me every time I got nervous about going up to the microphone again. And he was the only one I looked at. The only one I cared to look at.
But this second experience also reminded me about how much I love writing. How much I love the rawness of it. How much I love that you can set a mood or create an emotion with a few syllabus or sentences. It made me miss the simplicity when I just wrote for me and only me. It was a business back then. It was just something I did to escape from life when it got to be too much. It made me feel like I was back in my bedroom in Germany, scribbling poetry into notebooks and writing fan fiction. Sometimes creators (especially when they try to make a brand out of their work) tend to get so caught up in comparisons and numbers and all the rest of the bullshit that it doesn’t really leave too much room for joy.
So this lesson was a two fold. A moment to step back into my roots and it was refreshing to be reminded that what you love is what you love. That you don’t always need other people’s validation in order to be successful. That art can still be just for you.
And even with that being said, of course I still wonder. Of course I still think about where my writing is going to take me. If I can really leave a piece of me behind. But at this point I just want to write to write and if it pops off, that’s awesome. If not, that’s okay. It doesn’t make me less of an artist.
The same applies to any of you who feel the same way. I know that it’s easy to get discouraged and burnt out, but my biggest piece of advice is to go back to your roots, the beginning. Ask yourself why you decided to start writing, drawing, painting, etc. Take a moment to remember the inner child who just created to created, not to seek.
And if you’re afraid to attend a writing/art event for the first time, don’t be. I promise you that whatever scenario you’re creating is just that: a scenario. It’s not real. You’ll be fine and your words matter. Just be open to receiving. I promise that you won’t regret it.
Otherwise, this is a relatively short post and it might be a short podcast episode (but we’ll see once I record it) but I think less is more in this case.
Until next time!