Wow, this past weekend was a busy one! Shortly after I created my first zine, my husband (who is my biggest supporter), encouraged me to table at the PHX Zine Fest 2017 which would take place less than two weeks after I published. I agreed. Then he sprung an open-mic/reading on me. He and my friends joined forces to convince me to read but knowing that I suffer from debilitating stage fright and social anxiety, they did not push. Instead, my friend Tameka agreed to read my poem, "a poem that needs to be seen," for me.
I was happy. Because while I was ready to put my work out into the universe, I was not prepared to stand before the world to be dissected and judged. Bracing myself for the opinions of others regarding my writing is one thing, but waiting for them to come for me, well, nah- I'm OK!
But then, Saturday night, at Wasted Ink Distributors in Phx, surrounded by other nervous writers and feeling the love, I took to the stage after Tameka brought my words to life, and read not one, but two poems.
That embarrassed little girl who was laughed at during the 7th or 8th grade's Winter Concert because she muddled through, in off-key scratchiness, Tevin Campbell's, "Tomorrow," proving that she was nowhere near as good as she said. Yeah, that girl, took to the stage and read her poetry to the world.
And you know what? She lived. I lived. Better still, my poetry was well-received and when I looked to the right of the stage, I saw my husband and my daughter beaming with pride. I was proud too. Of myself, but also of my friend Tameka, who stood before that same audience and read a poem that I authored, but that she delivered with flair and a reflection of her vulnerability. She was there with her daughter and her husband standing beside mine, and at that moment, I understood genuine freedom and real love.
It's when we step from behind the fear that we can see clearly, the world. It is when we have the courage bare ourselves that we find those who will provide shelter.