It’s been 5 days since my first ever spoken word performance and I feel down. Not emotionally, just more a feeling of general blah-ness. That’s because leading up to the performance, there was so much buildup and anticipation. My friends constantly asked me if I was nervous, whether I memorized everything and oh shit, it’s a competition?! I brushed off the comments and reassured them that I was going to be fine. The week prior, I’d been practicing like a madman and was ready to go. I visualized the crowd and everything was going to turn out as I imagined.
It didn’t hit me until the night of the open mic and we started waiting in line at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. Then, we got our seats. Then, Jive Poetic, the MC for the night, started his intro and the countdown was on. I signed up for the 7th slot (out of 20) and finalized camera angles with my two Spielbergs for the night. Right off the bat, there were some talented and seasoned performers. I started watching closely to study their demeanor and figure out how far I needed to stand from the mic.
By the 6th performer, my heart was beating out of my chest. Jive called me to the stage and I started walking over. I got there and tripped slightly on the way up (I wasn’t the only one to do so that night) but laughed it off. I had work to do.
I forgot half of my intro due to nerves but I really just wanted to get into my piece. When I started, everything fell into place because I knew the words inside and out. The audience was a haze of faces and bodies like I was looking through foggy glass. At times, it felt like I was rushing. Sounds and cheers melded together. But by the end, I couldn’t believe it was over already. It felt like a blur.
I guess that’s what happens when you experience something truly exhilarating and the adrenaline is coursing through you. I want that feeling again. I still only have one performance under my belt but I know I want to do it again soon. Ideas for my next piece are already flowing.
I have no idea why it took me so long to finally do this. I was always a fan of the medium and I always dreamt about doing it but the time was never right. After this experience, I’ve realized that I was holding myself back. I didn’t do it because of any number of reasons. Laziness, fear, being too “busy”, you name it. My mentality needed to switch from “Neh, I could never do that.” to “Yes, I can fuckin do that.” (I urge all you out there to find your switch and do something you’ve been putting off. It will feel amazing when you finally follow through.)
For whatever reason, this finally happened at this point in my life and I couldn’t be happier. I’m on a new path and I’m going to approach all my goals with the same intensity and positive attitude that I had during the lead-up to my performance. The future may not turn out as I hope (I got a 26 out of 30 from the judges) but I’ll never know unless I stop making excuses and actually give it a shot.
I’m ready and I’m just getting started.