I Found Some Inspiration at a Poetry Slam

“Hickory dickory dock goes my biological clock”

These were the first words out of a tiny, curly-hair poet as she declared her desire to have children and attempt to not scare off potential partners.  I applauded so loudly and yelled out a hearty “Yasssss!” that my date sitting next to me jumped.   This poet had a great spirit and brought it to the stage.  It was clear this is where she felt comfortable, performing in front of an audience.

Until a couple of weeks ago, it had been many years since I had been to a poetry slam or spoken word show.  There was a time where I could not get enough of spoken word events.  I was enticed by the words poets used and they ways in which they delivered them.  I found spoken word to be the best of both worlds the cleverness of the art of poetry infused with performance.  I felt so inspired by the art form that there was even a time that I could call myself a spoken word artist.  I often found my inspiration in the most interesting ways.  From an image, a phrase overheard at a coffee shop or a beat from a hip-hop song.  As I immersed myself within the spoken word “scene” I found that the simple inspiration I could rely on to create was fading.  I felt that I needed to create more complicated and witty prose and I ultimately stopped writing.  I put the pen down and subsequently the mic and stepped away.  Even when asked to perform my older pieces I felt like a bit of a fraud because I no longer felt inspired. 

Being in that dimly lit lounge on a cold Saturday night, watching poets step to the stage, lay bare their most intimate thoughts and be judged by others on a scale of one to ten was inspiring but not in the way I expected.  I didn’t feel an urge to pull out my old blue notebook with my scribbles and poems but rather take a look at the ways I was choosing to take risks.  These poets were inspired, motivated, risk-takers and as each one, stepped off the stage I applauded regardless of how I felt about their performance.  I applauded because I remember what it felt like to be up there and I wanted to acknowledge the courage it takes to be so revealing.

Taking risks is not something I’m good at.  I either procrastinate until the opportunity disappears or jump in without fully evaluating the consequences.  This idea of calculated risk is something I need embrace.  The night before the poetry slam I had nervously put up my first blog post on this website and posted it to Facebook and Twitter for public consumption.  This was actually a calculated risk.  Go me!  I was largely inspired to take risks from the people in my life who were taking big leaps of faith in their own lives.  I had no choice but to ask myself, “why not me?” 

It is so much easier to encourage a friend, colleague or family member to do that “thing” they feel unsure about.  To lift them up, illuminate their insecurities as false and be their cheerleader.  We are encouraged to do this because it is clear that the energy that vibrates from someone who is inspired is motivating even when they are unsure of themselves.  Perhaps motivation comes from the place where inspiration is greater than the risk of not doing that “thing” at all.  What I am still trying to figure this out is how to do this for myself.

If you are inspired to take risks, move forward and complete your goal no matter where you derive the inspiration, you have the privilege of being amongst those who go forth and turn their dreams into reality.  Just as each poet bravely stepped to the stage perhaps we can bravely take that one step forward in our own lives.

The curly-haired poet was one of my favourites that night.  She was really funny recounting all the ways having a child would bring fullness to her life even if it scared off the men she dated. She ended her piece by declaring,

“Most important, having a baby will mean I’ve had sex!” *insert fist pump *

 Mission accomplished.