For a long time I felt like a Jack of all trades master of none. Growing up, I participated in a lot of activities. I played the piano and the saxophone, ran track and field, played volleyball, sang in the church choir, and so on. I was good at all of these things but not great: not great enough to become a musician, a professional athlete, or a singer. That didn’t bother me though. What troubled me is that although I had the ability to do so many things, I never cared about any of them. I didn’t care enough to want to be great. Those things weren’t my passion. I didn’t know what my passion was and am still on a journey to find out what it is.
I’ve always had natural talents and things that came to me easily. I made decent grades in school but language arts is where I excelled. I liked to read and write. As an adult, reading and writing for leisure took a back seat. Due to my college studies (undergrad and grad) and work demands, reading and writing became a chore – something I had to do not necessarily something I wanted to. That changed a couple of months ago.
In September, I went to an open mic night. The house band consisted of a drummer, a keyboard player, and a violinist (electric). They rocked out with different vocalists who blessed the mic. There were some spoken word artists as well. I was both impressed and entertained at the level of local talent; however, not everyone attracted the right kind of attention. A few of the poems shared that night were elementary and far from exceptional. I thought to myself, “I can do better.” But then I had to ask myself, “Why? Why aren’t you doing better?”
Writing was one of those things that came naturally to me. I didn’t have to try very hard to match pen to paper. In fact, writing (text, letters, e-mail, etc.) is my preferred method of communication at times. I’m a very structured person and a planner. I think writing helps me to better express myself without feeling rushed. Somehow it’s easier, yet those same strengths of organization and planning prevented me from crafting my gifts. I don’t know exactly when, but a long time ago I said I wouldn’t do certain things like spoken word poetry because the end game was undesirable. I hate being the center of attention and death is more attractive than public speaking. What was the point of writing a poem that would never be shared?
I don’t know what it was about September’s open mic, but I felt like I belonged there. I wanted to join these people; not only as a spectator but as a participant, so I wrote a poem. I gave the poem the same title as one of my blog posts, ‘Bone, Scrubs, and Harmony.’ Both the poem and the post talk about the great efforts I went to to get my dog and the frustration of dating guys who give much less.
I initially wrote the poem as a word document on my computer. I saved it and e-mailed it to myself so I could view it on my phone. The font was quite small, so I pulled it up on my son’s tablet where I could read it easier. I missed October’s open mic but shared my poem at November’s. The day of, my son’s tablet stopped working. It completely froze. The power button didn’t work, and I couldn’t access the battery. I didn’t have enough time to write my poem on paper, so I was forced to read it from my phone. My name was called from the list. As I approached the mic, my vision was blurred. I was wearing contacts per usual but my sight was somehow compromised as if I didn’t have them in. I read my poem unable to look up at the audience while doing so, but I READ MY POEM.
I think it was well received, and I finally got over my nerves and my own self. The next open mic is in less than 2 weeks. I purchased my ticket already and am working on the next poem I want to share. I haven’t figured out the subject matter yet, but I can’t help but wonder why I had such opposition to do it in the first place. Again, I do not know what my next poem or poems will be about.
While I’m a Christian, I’ve never wanted to be a Christian poet. I feel inadequate somehow like maybe I don’t know enough or maybe my sin compromises my witness for Christ. In church we say it all the time, “The devil is a liar (lie).” I think for once that joker might have told the truth. He just might have told on himself. If he was making any attempt at all to prevent me from sharing my poem, my truth, what does he know that I don’t? What is he afraid of? What is he afraid of me to say? What is he afraid of me to write?