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!
Do you wonder about your life’s purpose? How do you become happy? How do you find inner peace?
For me, I have found that no matter what my focus is (let’s face it, being a mom, a wife, an employee, and so much more – I don’t always focus on or think about my life’s purpose) I am happiest when I am being creative. I love to make things and I love being productive. I will be the first to admit it – sometimes, I love being lazy! But, I usually have a few projects in the works.
Blogging has been particularly satisfying for me and has allowed me to be my best self whenever I feel like it. I have met amazing people and made some wonderful friends. I can express myself openly and honestly. I truly have found my voice! Through blogging (writing and posting information online) I have been able to explore and pursue all of my interests. I also have the opportunity at my fingertips to share what I experience and learn with others. That is the best part! What is the point of being passionate about something without sharing it with the world?
One way that I have been able express my creativity is by writing and sharing my poetry. I have posted some of my favorites on my blog, and I have even read my poetry at various open mic nights. My poem, Rain, which I read when I participated in the Velvet Guerilla Cabaret at the UnUrban Coffee House in Santa Monica last August is on my You Tube Channel.
This week I will be reading another of my original poems at a spoken word performance in Hollywood. The event is called Urban Desert Cabaret. It is a variety of artists who are brought together on a regular basis by Songwriter/musician Joe City Garcia. (Joe happens to be my cousin. That’s the reason I have this chance.) Most of the performers are professionals. Joe is passionate about this show and works hard to bring together a cohesive program that everyone will enjoy (its not an open mic night! I’m getting nervous!) But honestly, I have a sound heart as I prepare for my performance and I am completely open to the experience.
I put a lot of energy over the years into finding my life’s purpose and living to my life’s full potential. I know that having a joyful heart is what brings happiness to my life and the lives of those I touch. I love the confident feeling I have when I can express myself openly and my creativity shines through! It’s that creative force that brings joy, happiness and peace to my heart. This is what makes life worth living, this is what brings purpose and meaning to my life.
What makes your heart leap with joy? What makes you happy?
Years ago, I learned many of the principles that I continue to apply to my life now while watching The Oprah Winfrey Show. That is where I first encountered Gary Zukav. You can learn to find meaning in your life and start living it with the help of Gary Zukav by following his steps, he says:
“Discover your soul and its path.
Align your personality with your soul. Until that happens, you won’t be able to give the gifts you were meant to.
Remind yourself daily of the following:
• You are a soul first and a personality second.
• You are worthy. You are not on this Earth by accident. You have a reason to be here. There’s a difference between accepting that in your mind and accepting in your heart.
• It’s not an “it” that you’re looking for—it’s your life that you’re living.
• You are here to create an authentically empowered life. There is no guarantee you will do it. It’s up to you.”
Tonight I did my very first public poetry reading. It was at the Unurban Cafe in Santa Monica. There is a Velvet Guerilla Cabaret there on Wednesday nights with an open mic. It was a terrific experience. After a good night’s sleep, I will write more about it.
I had a really good time in Hollywood the other night! I attended the Urban Desert Cabaret show at the Pig & Whistle Back Room on Thursday night, May 17th. I spent some quality time with my family. My brother and sister-in-law were there with my niece and their friends. I was accompanied by my two best girlfriends.
The music was great and the night was special because there was a performance of a portion of Varieadades, a presentation of spoken word and music by the acclaimed writer, Ruben Martinez.
Besides the amazing bass guitarist, Juan Perez and the phonetic stlylings of Martin Holmes’ poetry, it was kind of a girl’s night at the Urban Desert Cabaret. The room was visually enhanced by the abstract art installation of Joanna Fodczuk. Her paintings are passionate and stirring and really set the mood for the evening’s talent.
I was impressed by Raquel Gutierrez who performed with Martinez and included a reading of her own work as well. Even though she comes off edgy, deep, personal and raw – I found Raquel to be cool, smooth and a powerhouse of Latina strength and fortitude.
I dropped her this note after she accepted my friend request on Facebook:
“Hi Raquel, I enjoyed your performance at #UrbanDessertCabaret! I’m posting a review on my blog, do you have a website I can link to? Or upcoming shows you’d like to plug?”
Awesome!! I look forward to seeing her perform again!
The highlight of the evening for me was early on when I was delighted by the incredible performance of guitarist/songstress, Cala Elaine. I can’t wait to see her perform again. I was intrigued by the combination of her strong sultry voice (reminiscent of Stevie Nicks) and her soulful charm and grace (a little like Jewel.) She had so much energy and depth in her performance and when I had a chance to meet her, she was friendly and genuine.
Cala and I also exchanged Facebook pleasantries and she has some website updating and more gigs in the works. Definitely go see her (and any of the artists from UDC) if you can – you will not be disappointed!
Everything about the line up was just as described by the organizer (my cousin) Joe City Garcia on the Facebook Event Invite. All the terrific artists coming together for a show that always seems to end too early! The poetry, the exceptional musicians, the atmosphere and the venue – all added to the perfect evening.
The food at the Pig & Whistle was great, the margaritas are pretty good (made with a splash of orange or pineapple juice.) I just hated to leave! The UDC combo is just getting started when they “play us out.” as everyone says their good byes.
I hope to see you next time at the Urban Desert Cabaret this Summer. You might even see me make an appearance and read my own original poetry!!