So where did I last leave off……oh yeah, I was walking in the door of the IMA about seven minutes late and a little worried that I was holding up the progress of the show. I was not, however, they were looking for me and when I arrived the immediate relieved look that graced the women of IMA’s faces told a story of worry and wonder. The bad part about that, is I was hoping to possibly make a good enough impression on these people that I would be on their list of people to contact in the future; but my lateness may have messed that up. But what God has for me, is for me, and nothing can stop that….but me….but I digress.
so I walk in and immediately see people I know; Allen Imagery was walking in my direction, Ja’net from Writeon was coming up the escalator, Eddie the Poet and Too Black were both standing by will call and there were a couple more faces that made my heartbeat speed up; as if I needed more of that….I gave as many hugs as I could and ran the long winding hallway to the Toby and was promptly escorted to the greenroom where Tasha, Georgia Me and who I thought was Sunni Patterson (there was someone in the bathroom but I didn’t know it was M’rald the poet instead of Sunni. I told the ladies how honored I was to be there to perform with them and was told by Georgia Me or G.A.M.E. that she had been waiting to hear me!!!
Now was not the time to get all choked up so I kept my game face and fought the cheesy tears from dropping. I looked at the set list and saw we were each doing two pieces, which shouldn’t have been a surprise seeing as though I was prepped for 7 minutes of speaking time. But the problem was I had spent the greater of 2.5 wks entertaining this one poem I wrote for the show entitled Hard Truth (is) We R Artists. No other poem had made the list. I also didn’t have my proverbial list of memorized poems with me, so I had to zoom thru my brain for something befitting of why we were here and the crowd that awaited. I immediately went to my default poem; “Poem Cry” ….I wrote this poem to compete in the IBE slam in 2007, which I never competed in of course. Needless to say, I know this poem like the back of my hand. This also gave me more time to run through my piece Hard Truth, that had given me all the stress before I left home.
to the hallway I went to practice. I ran through P.C. as fast as I could, realized I still knew it and probably always would, and commenced to working on Hard Truth….again! I think I was second or third on the first round, FIRST on the second. My turn came so quick. I hadn’t even removed half my butterflies before Strange Fruit was playing and it was time for me to get there and be one with the mic. I had walked thru the audience to get backstage but didn’t really have a chance to take it all in; so I was pretty oblivious as to who all was out there and where they were. I knew one thing though: this was a big stage and more than likely, the lights would be so bright that I wouldn’t see any faces in the audience, which would take away a lil pressure.
there was no host….the show was continuously in motion, so the audience never knew who was coming out or when. When I walked, I heard a few gasps. I must say, I felt BEAUTIFUL! …I was initially supposed to be styled for the event by The Black Apple, but due to my car issues, I had to style myself, which was no biggie. All I knew was my brand new Ebay Betsey Johnson earrings would be my centerpiece and everything else would be worked around them. I walked to the mic, adjusted it, felt less pressure because this poem was so easy to perform but looked up and immediately saw the first 4/5 rows of people!!! I saw my girls, my guys, ppl I didn’t know. it was crazy….in my head, I said oh shit, I see everybody!!! LMAO…..I lit into my poem more slow and profound than I ever could and halfway thru it, I had found my home in front of that mic….the audience was SO receptive and alive; it was crazy!!!
I didn’t know what to expect from them; would they be live, quiet, would they chant, stand, clap, make me stop….or would the crickets be on guard. I got out there and felt ALIVE in my own right….the audience reimbursed every word I said with love and respect. I gave probably THE best performance of P.C. ever! And I have spit that piece hundreds of times….but last Friday, that piece belonged to Hard Truth. I didn’t know what pictures were being displayed behind me, I didn’t know if my poem even matched the show, but I was doing it and I was gonna do it in a flawless victory just in case it didn’t necessarily “fit". when I got to the end of it, I turned and left the stage holding my long ass pants and the cheers made me wanna turn back and run to the mic in tears and tell everybody how much I love them so. it was priceless…..I left the stage thinking….I got this! When I got to the side, M’rald, who was next, gave me the high five and told me I did great! I cannot even begin to find the words to say how much that small comment weighed on my heart….FABULOUS!
I don’t need people’s reception. I don’t need the compliments or the praise, as I didn’t have it when I started. this journey has been one helluva long ass journey with just as many downs as there are ups! I’ve gone thru the poetic mud; I’ve been disrespected, I’ve won a slam fair and square, didn’t get paid and was left hanging, I’ve done the label thing, I’ve taken the handouts, the “oh yeah, you were good too’s”, the ignore buttons and the wow buttons!! I’ve had it all; the greatest of highs, I can say I have experienced as well as the lowest of lows. But if ever there were a moment to prove to me none of it was in vain, it was friday.
So when I say G.A.M.E. telling me she had been waiting to hear me, and M’rald high fiving me and telling me great job meant a lot to me, I' mean it…..the most simple of things make my heart flutter because I am not superhuman….when I hit the back and Georgia and Tasha both reiterated the “good job” sentiments, I could have walked up to Heaven myself and kissed God!
but this was just the first poem. ….and not even the stressful one….I had one more round that I was eagerly anticipating and extremely nervous about. …I spent the remaining time backstage before my second turn praying and rehearsing. …my heartbeat had not jumped off the fast track since before I left home…….so I finally sat down on a small step in the back and rehearsed and prayed and let my heartbeat return to normal. ….I drank water from the sink since the lady hadn’t returned with our bottled water…..then….before I knew it……it was my turn again…..only this time.
it was Hard Truth.
Final Pt 3 coming later!!!!
it was funny when I was reading the 30 Days Later post because on there, I mention this past fridy’s Hard Truth show, but at the time I wrote it, I had absolutely NO IDEA what was in store or ahead for me. I didn’t know about Sunni Patterson or Georgia Me. I had few details and was just excited to be performing at IMA! I remember when I wrote it, I had this little voice in my head ask me was I even still apart of it because I hadn’t heard from Tasha about it in awhile. But I knew if anything changed Tasha would let me know, so I wasn’t worried. Heck, I was stoked!!! I spoke with Tasha shortly after writing this blog and my poetic spirit has been on the rise every since.
Friday started off on an extremely high note. I had taped a flyer to my desk and had one sticking out of my photo holder. I was receiving all kinds of love and energy from different people on Facebook; even some of my co-workers were giving me love. I left work floating, I arrived at home on a sunken ship. Over the previous weekend, my transmission finally went out. Can’t say I didn’t see it coming so I’m not surprised. But since I’m in nobody’s relationship and my mom is my neighbor, she puts on her mommy cape and takes me to and picks me up from scho- uh, work. But friday, of all days, of all times, she wanted to take the scenic route. And by scenic, I do mean visiting people!! We all live around each other; me and my mom are neighbors, my grandmother lives around the corner, my aunt (gmomma’s sis) stays next door to my gmomma and my dad lives two doors down from my aunt. I know. I’m the odd one out in this equation; I don’t belong over here, but another day, I digress.
so as we are driving up the street, she sees my dads car, stops and talks to him for awhile, then my gmomma pulls up and drive to her house. I know you are thinking why didn’t you just say “mom I gotta go.” To that I say, you would just need to know my family dynamics. The show started at 7. I got off at five. I usually get home at 530. I had an 1.5 hrs to get dressed, practice a few times because I was worried about my poem that I worked so hard on, and get out the door via …how? By the time I made it home, it was 6:15. To them, a show is a show is a show. I had 45 mins to do an hour and a half’s work. I didn’t make it out the door until about five after seven. Luckily I only live like a half a mile from IMA.
but I didn’t make it without grief. Once I got home, rushed in, irritaed, put the dogs out, grabbed my clothes, jewelry and shoes, jumped in the shower where I attempted to rehearse. suddenly, I no longer new a particular set of lines that I had known all week long!!! I kept messing up. I got out, tried not to worry, started getting dressed, doing hair and make up….see why I needed that hour plus?? I’m running around the house like a mad woman and my mind was too cluttered and I lost all that great energy I had owned since I awoke that morning. The lines were lost. I couldn’t help it. I burst out crying. I was disappointed in myself; couldn’t understand why my brain was attempting to set me up on stage when soooo many ppl would be there…..family, friends, fans, strangers, GEOGIA ME, SUNNI PATTERSON, people I want to book me, I mean the list went on and on. I was nervous and couldn’t remember my lines. I cried so much, my eyes turned red and after I put my make-up on, it looked like I had pink eye on both sides. it made more tears fall. I was stressing. And disappointed in me that I had even allowed it to get to me like this. How dare I get this close and act up like this.
….so….I had a drink*; I NEVER drink before a performance. I just want it to be totally me that you get. Drinking makes my nerves bad before getting on stage. it comes out in my performance. But I had to calm down a notch. so I had about the equivalent of a shot of Moscato. I’m embarrassed to admit it but, I needed to dial it back for real. it helped a little. I didn’t rehearse anymore. My ride came, dropped me off at the door and I walked in. But what I walked in on, made it worse.
TBA *since clearly this is still too damn long