“We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all of the power we need inside ourselves already.” – J.K. Rowling
I believe that when considering my authenticity, acceptance is key. In order to honestly accept myself as I am, I feel the need to cultivate my connection with my inner self. Cultivate means working on it. Yes, this may take a little work. This means digging deeper, looking at myself and asking the difficult questions. And then, looking at the answers. This is more than self-discovery. This is self-care.
I might start with a simple question. . .
Who am I?
Who am I, really? This is a pretty deep question. I am in touch with who I really am. It actually took a lot of work to “find myself.” I had to separate from that shell of a person that I had been trying so hard to become. I was trying for so long to fit in that mold. To live up to the expectations that I (and others who influenced me) set. I had to decide and accept that I am not just okay with who I have become, but I am happy with who I am.
I finally accepted that the people I care about love me just the way I am. My husband, who is a pretty good judge of character, fell in love with and married me. Me. Just the way I was when I was a teenager. He loved me and was attracted to me when we got engaged, got married, had children, and through everything that has happened since. If he likes me, I must not be that bad the way I am.
“I aim to meet myself with loving acceptance. I aim to strengthen the voice of my inner sweetheart.” – Marianne Elliott
I realized that I was worth loving. I liked myself just fine. If I project who I am on the inside to everyone I know and show them the real me, the actual me, not who I wish to be, then I will be my authentic self. I didn’t give up on striving to be a better person. Don’t get me wrong. But I did stop trying so hard to “measure up” and be something that I wasn’t already naturally.
It was easy to accept that my kids love me unconditionally and they have no pre-conceived notions of what I wanted to be or who I set out to be. My children are unaware of my failed attempts at a career, my lofty goals, and everything I hoped I would be by the time they grew up. They love me, truly love me, because I am their mom. Just because. Even when I want to change something like my hair style or lose weight, they hem and haw – they want me to stay the same – always. I can relate to that. I had the same feelings for my mom. Change is hard to accept. My point is, that I realized that I was good enough for these amazing people. I realized that God made me perfectly fine. I realized that I was born this way. I was born completely me. However you would like to put it – I am who I am. And it’s not bad. In fact I think I’m pretty good.
“What I am is good enough, even for me.” From Out of the Dust, By Karen Hesse
Strengthening the voice of my inner sweetheart means to stop listening to my inner critic and actually listen to the inner sweetheart. I need to give her more credit. After all, she knows what she is talking about, too! She is positive and helpful and most of all , loving. What a sweetie! She is soft and good-natured and means well. She is getting stronger every day. My inner sweetheart is a winner!
As Marianne Elliott says: “Ultimately we want to be able to call up our inner sweetheart anytime we do anything that requires vulnerability and courage, you can call upon your inner sweetheart when you need a kind word, and the encouragement to carry on. Because, remember, being kind to yourself is at the heart of finding your own place of peace in the midst of chaos, conflict and even war.”
What does this have to do with self-confidence? What does it have to do with magic?
The key to having confidence in yourself is, in fact, loving yourself! Listen to your inner sweetheart. Believe in yourself and your capabilities. Love who you are right now. Go out there and shine brightly!
Look in the mirror and say, “Hey, I’m lookin’ good today! I am great!”
In order to express myself, I must first accept myself.
One of my biggest fears about expressing myself and sharing my creativity and talents has always been the fear of being laughed at or dismissed. I have so many defense mechanisms in place to avoid being laughed at and ridiculed. I don’t want to place blame. That doesn’t change things now. Heck, I don’t even want to explore the reasons why I am the way I am. It won’t really matter. I already know. I am the way I am. I accept myself the way I am. I have fears and I handle them.
I am at a point in my life that I have accepted myself and now I am ready to express myself. I began doing that when I began blogging. Sharing my thoughts, my feelings, and my experiences with the “world” – with you – has been the key that unlocked my true self and set me free! That freedom has fueled the flame that keeps my desire for love, joy and happiness burning in my heart.
It’s my time to shine!
This week I had the opportunity to share one of my poems at a performance of spoken word alongside some very talented musicians, poets, and artists. When I was asked if I wanted to read a poem I said, “Yes!” without hesitation. When I was asked if I was nervous, I said, “Yes!” but it was the excitement kind of nerves, not the sick or stage fright kind. The fears that came to mind were brief fleeting moments of panic. What if I mess up? What if they laugh at me? What if no one likes my poem. What if I get sick to my stomach? What if I have an anxiety attack? What if I get a migraine or vertigo and can’t go on? These things have happened before.
The thoughts of my biggest fears did not remain in my consciousness for very long. I have always wanted to get to a point in my life where the things I enjoy doing are not a challenge. They are just a part of me. I want to show the world that I can do these things well. I have always wanted to be able to share my talents without concern for what others think, without fear of judgement. This was significant in my life’s journey because I have now become more confident in myself and my abilities than ever before. It was because of that confidence that I did not get nervous or sick. And you know what? I rocked it! It was great! Not just because I did not get ill. Not just because my friends said I was good. Not just because I didn’t mess it up. I enjoyed the experience. I shared my talent with my friends and family. And – no one laughed! I did great because I believed in myself.
The Urban Desert Cabaret
Thursday night’s performance of The Urban Desert Cabaret was a show that my cousin, Joe City Garcia arranged. The show takes place about once a month and if you like folk music, art, and poetry – you should definitely see it. Most of the performers have a few things in common, they either know Joe City and/or have some connection to Joshua Tree – a community of artists who live or work in the desert. These men and women all have a soulful camaraderie and connection to the earth, to light and to love. Even if you just appreciate great music and song – this show is for you! You can read more about UDC in my previous posts: Hollywood Nights and Urban Desert Cabaret.
I don’t want to forget anyone, so here is the line up from the January 31st show: Guest artists: Billy Gill (songs), Paul McCarty (songs) Monique Caruso (songs), Cari Banke (art/spoken word), Lalo Kikiriki (song/spoken word), Laura Anne Lacy (songs), Miz Meliz (Melissa Reyes) (spoken word) and more TBA! Plus songs and jams with the UDC combo: Jeremy Gilien, Tonya Lee Jaynes, Robert Matsuda & host Joe City Garcia. First, Joe City and the Urban Desert Cabaret combo band started off the show with a few songs. Their music is transfixing. It brings me to a place of soulful reflection. Have you ever driven through the desert and listened to the album by U2, Joshua Tree? It opens up your horizons. That is how Joe’s music is to me! He is a rock star that I have admired my whole life.
Joe thanked everyone for coming and explained a bit about UDC. Then, he said something like “who wants to go first?” and at that moment, I had just stood up. He looked at me and said, “Miz Meliz – are you ready?” I had told myself ahead of time that whenever he asked me I would say, “I am ready!” and I did. And I was! I didn’t expect to go first, but I was happy to because then I could relax and enjoy the rest of the show. It was a bit of a bummer because some of my friends missed it, but it was good for me.
Next up was a great performer who played accordion and sang, her name is Lalo. . . her songs were light and fun and she told her stories in a way that made me smile. She was a bit of a crack up and brought some humor to the scene. After Lalo, Billy Gill came up and performed a few songs. His guitar playing is remarkable and his singing is impressive! I enjoyed the guitarist Monique Caruso and was impressed that one of the pieces she performed had just been written the night before! (I wrote the poem that I read over a decade before!! Some people cant help but share their talent, it precedes them.) Then we had the pleasure of a performance by the Wicked Saints with Paul McCarty and Retro Rob Thomas. They were awesome!
Cari Banke spoke about her art that donned the walls all evening and shared some introspective poetry that she wrote to accompany her pieces. When she took the stage, she said, “Are you all in a good mood? Having a good time? Well, I am about to bring you down.” Her art and poetry was about genocide and survival. She was very insightful and did manage to leave everyone on an upbeat note! There was more singing and guitar playing, more poems were shared and the UDC combo wrapped up the evening with more tunes. It’s surprising that all of this is put together and performed without rehearsals or much else in the way of planning. It always comes off flawlessly, because of the spirit and expertise of Joe City – all the performers make a commitment to be there and they bring their best to share for that moment. It was an honor to be a part of it!
Saturday I had the chance to spend some time with some very creative friends that shared their unique talents with others too! I have recently shared some of my humor with Fazel Huts and I always say that laughter is the best medicine but a true comedienne is a hot commodity! It is not easy to be a woman and be funny. That’s why I love the Two Funny Brains!
I had the unique opportunity to visit Jessica Bern and attend a “girly clothes party” at her home. Debbie Anderson was there, too. I couldn’t believe how lucky I am! I asked Jessica, “You know who I am, right?” when she invited me to this intimate setting. She was surprised by my question. I know we are friendly on Facebook and have “talked” late into the night via instant message on many occasions. But to me, she is a total rock star and I am a total groupie! (I met Jessica for the first time when I had the rare opportunity to be an extra on an episode of Blog This.)
To me being “a total rock star” is being able to show off your talents in a big way. I admire everyone who does that and makes it look so easy. I know it is not easy.
The Poetry Salon
After hanging out with the ladies at Jessica’s house, I headed over to The Fat Dog Fairfax, a fun eatery in Hollywood. I had the pleasure of being invited to attend a special event hosted by Jennifer Styperk, poet and CEO of Poetry Salon. It was their annual Valentine’s Day event to kick off this season of love. What better way to celebrate your love for someone than by getting them a bespoke poem for the occasion. (A bespoke poem is a custom crafted work of art based on stories you provide, inspired by an individual muse whom you want to honor.) I was thrilled to meet this amazing entrepreneur rock star poet! I was impressed that Jennifer took her talent as a poet and made it into a business that is thriving and employs and engages other poets to use their craft to help others. (See this great blog post with an interview of Jennifer Styperk for more about Poetry Salon and Bespoke Poems: http://mngirlinla.com/2013/02/04/looking-for-a-personalized-gift-try-out-poetry-salon/#comment-22702)
Creativity and rocking a special talent comes naturally to some people and it is a difficult journey for most. No matter what, keep at it! Don’t ever give up hope! Face your fears. Find ways of making it work. It’s your time to shine!
Behind the scenes busy at work at all the above events are the bloggers that I know that help to promote and in doing so are encouraging and supporting one another constantly. Please check out their blogs, Like them on Facebook, and Follow them on Twitter and Instagram. Carolyn,Jamie,AJ, and Deanna. I had a blast sharing these experiences with them and I am glad to have their friendship!