Do you remember back in the day when we used to buy music on CD's? Do you recall actually having to go to the music store to purchase your favorite band or singer’s latest album?
Tell me that wasn't that long ago! Please! Because I refuse to believe that I'm one of "those people" who uses the words "back in the day." Have mercy.
I can remember getting Beyoncé's first solo album like it was yesterday. Ya'll remember her first solo album, Dangerously in Love? It was BANANAS.
One day I was in the car with a close friend of mine and we were listening to that Beyoncé CD. "Dangerously in Love" started playing, and I forgot my friend was even in the car. Part of my personality as a creative artist was that I could get lost in music as a way of expressing myself. So I used every ounce of lung power I could muster up to belt out the lyrics of that song. When the song was over, I quickly got myself together and looked over at my friend, only to find her laughing hysterically to herself. I never had to ask her what was so funny. Even now, many years later, I can remember how uncomfortable I felt at being laughed at that day.
That was one of my first experiences of learning that everyone may not "get me" and my passion for life and entertainment. Music has always played a big part in my life, and I’ve never been that person who could just listen to music or simply sing along. If I'm going to do something, I'm going to put my all into it. It didn't matter if I couldn't carry a tune to save my life. If I was going to sing, I was going to SING.
As I write these words, I remember that adolescent girl who marched to the beat of her own drum, that fearless girl who didn't care what anyone thought about her. If I'm very honest, a little part of my spirit died that day along when I realized that someone thought less of me for being me. And over time, those kinds of interactions continued to diminish my fearless attitude, like another time where I put my all into a praise dance at a pageant and received only a few hand claps.
What I want you to know is that those hard moments, and the many other times I felt misunderstood, have given me more compassion than I ever would have had if I had never been laughed at. My experiences of having my spirit crushed by the critics have enabled me to be someone with whom you can share your heart and passions. I will understand. I will rally with you, and push you to express yourself however you need to. I will be the one giving a standing ovation when I see someone giving their all.
Can you think of moments in your life that "killed your spirit?” Did you used to be fearless, but now you're full of fear? Are there things you want to do or try, but you're afraid someone will laugh at you, afraid that you may not be good at it, or afraid to fail in front of people?
Sweet friend, you must get back to that creative, spirit-filled enthusiastic girl you used to be.
Don't stop being you because others don't get you. If there is a dream or passion in your heart you want to pursue, then by all means do it with all your heart, with all the power you can muster up. If it makes you happy (as singing does for me) then do it. You don't have to do it on a grand scale, but do what sets your soul on fire in whatever small way you can today. You never know where it will lead you or how you might discover more things in the process that you have an aptitude for.
You see I just want to express myself. Whether it its on the movie screen, dancing for the Lord on the praise team, or writing blogs to dear friends, I just have to be me.
And you have to be you. All of you. Not the watered down version that people can handle, but the too-much-to handle person you are dying to be.
Yeah they laughed. Yeah you failed before. Yeah they may talk about you. Yeah you feel inadequate and unqualified to pursue your passions, but you must.
Decide today, that you will live your life doing those things you really love to do. No more playing it safe and holding back. Just like that little girl belting out the lyrics to Beyoncé, live like nobody is watching. Do what sets your soul on fire and give it all you've got!
"Live your life full of passion, or you'll end up being full of regrets."
-Dr. Tiffany Pierce