Time is ticking and the race is on!! Thankfully, the only person I'm racing against is myself; but that can actually be a bad thing. For years I've been in a race towards the freedom of expression and self actualization. But I must say, it's hard to win a race when you're too afraid to run.
Ever since I was 4, I knew that music was a part of me. I heard music differently compared to my peers. Something always stirred my soul when my father would spin his vinyl in our downstairs den at 221 Fair Oaks Drive. Many Friday and Saturday nights were spent listening and dancing to The Gap Band, Deniece Williams, Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, and other soul greats from the 80's on back. Music was fun, it was a release. But at the same time I was very frightened of it. I had a singing voice, but was too scared to use it. Such a shy girl I was. Unfortunately I could not shake the shyness off enough to step out of my shell and begin to truly develop my gift. Yeah, I took voice lessons, performed in countless recitals and concerts and even studied voice in high school (what's up Alabama School of Fine Arts?!), but I could never manage to connect with the crowd and make the songs I was singing my own--because I was too scared that the people wouldn't like me and what I had to offer. Even as a college student at Clark Atlanta University who was heavily involved in music on campus, I was still wary of singing elsewhere other than a choir concert setting. So instead of getting out there and feeding my God-given talent, I starved it with my fears and lack of confidence. And when a living, breathing organism isn't properly nourished, it goes kaput!!
Fast forward with me to my mid-twenties. I hadn't been involved in music since college graduation day. So when I attempted to start back, my voice didn't treat me kindly. And I don't blame it, because "I" didn't treat it kindly. The only thing I gave my voice up to that point was silence. Can you imagine an athlete deciding to get back into the game after he has benched himself for 2 or 3 years without any workout or practice regimen?! Pitiful! And more than that, PAINFUL! Not just physically, but mentally. It's a big blow to the spirit to realize that what you once had has all but withered away. Unable to cope with the difficulties I was experiencing with resurrecting my voice, I once again went on a hiatus. With the exception of singing in the church choir, I wanted nothing to do with music. Like I said before, pitiful!
One of my professors in school talked about the way of the Samurai; how he works day and night perfecting his comabt skills only to abandon them and take up......painting. Painting? What in the blue hell does painting or some other leisure activity have to do with being a Samurai?! According to my wise professor, these unrelated activities were needed for the Samurai's body and brain to rest itself so that it could completely soak in what it learned during combat lessons. And then what happened after they painted or did needlework or whatever for that period of time? Nature, that's what happened. They would engage in combat and believe it or not, everything they learned would naturally come back to them. Just think of how you have to reboot your computer after installing new software...same principle. Now what does that have to do with moi? During my hiatus, I began promoting events--music, art, and poetry showcases. Whenever I was handing out flyers people would always ask me, "Are you gonna be singing?" And I thought to myself, "Why are they always asking me that? Do I look like a singer? Is it stamped across my forehead?!" I would always tell them no. But as fate would have it, several times I had to fill in and do a song at my events for the sake of stretching out time. Didn't think twice about it, because it had to be done. So busting out a tune became common place for me. And for some odd reason (well, I thought it was odd), people actually liked it! Me? I'm just Fayth, I put on events, I don't sing...not for real! But I guess it was real enough for them. And another odd thing, I didn't feel scared or intimidated anymore...and my voice felt good for the first time, like it finally formed into what it was suppose to be in the first place.
I must admit, I've been my own worst enemy all this time. My own hold up. But that's alright, because I'm right where I need to be now. I learned so many lessons with this particular obstacle and I can now apply these lessons in other areas of my life in addition to music. You can't be afraid of your gifts. Why waste the gifts that God gave us? If nothing were to become of it, then why would He have bestowed it upon us to begin with? To whom much is given, much is required. And we're required to use our gifts to the best of our ability, no half-stepping. As for me, I'm no longer afraid to run my race. My knees may get weak sometimes, but I still keep going. And as Ice Cube said to Omar Epps' character in Higher Learning, "Run, n&#%@, run."