Two years ago, I got a keyboard as a gift. I remember sitting in front of it the first time totally terrified. My biggest fear was that, after getting it, I would not use it, and it would collect dust and dirty clothes in the corner.
Despite my fears, I began teaching myself to play. It has been difficult, slow and humbling, but it also has been immensely rewarding. Now, almost two years later I have come a long way. I have even used music to accompany some of my featured readings, and I am looking forward to continuing and expanding that element of my work.
Today, though, I am sitting in front of three pieces of paper, each containing a poem. I am considering for the first time actively memorizing my poems to read at open mics and other events. There is a voice inside of me telling me that I am bad at memorizing things, and that there is no way that I would be able to do it. The voice tells me I am afraid of getting up in front of people and forgetting every word.
But then I think about music. Two years ago I couldn’t play 3 Blind Mice, and here I am today writing music to accompany my poems. Suddenly memorizing a page of words doesn’t seem so intimidating.
We all have that voice, the one that limits us and tells us we will never succeed, so we shouldn’t even try. The more we ignore that voice the better we are.