It felt sort of like an out-of-body experience. Sitting at my desk on Tuesday night with a bottle of wine next to me and my hands shaking, I didn’t recognize myself. The apartment was too hot. My bag wasn’t packed. I still had no idea what I was going to wear for the event. I could barely get myself grounded enough to write. That night I didn’t recognize a woman whose confidence, bravado and sometimes pure audacity were her signature trademarks. I felt like a scared puppy, unsure of myself and what I was getting ready to do.
Then I heard about the Illinois plane crash, and I felt myself crumble. The nerves that had been festering for weeks about taking a regional plane for the first time swung into high gear. I transformed into a piping hot mess. So, I called my best friend.
“Don’t think about it for an hour,” she told me. “Don’t pack, don’t prep, don’t do anything related to the trip. Just decompress.”
Surprisingly enough, I took her advice. And while the nerves didn’t fully subside on their own that night, a cosmic signal finally put them to rest. While digging through my disaster of a closet for a tote bag, I found my first tattered notebook. I’m on my third one now. You know, those books writers just carry and keep to capture any and every note so a thought never escapes them. I took the notebook out of an old bag and flipped through it. I saw a page from a coaching session I had with Demetria Lucas D’Oyley–years before she had appended D’Oyley to her name and weeks before I had started Twenties Unscripted.
I looked at the page and realized that the notes from that conversation had come to life. There was this little diagram with my blog as the center and things like events, collateral and speaking engagements as the spokes coming from the middle. There was a bullet that said, “No one is ever going to be as invested as you are.” And the final bullet said, “Don’t judge your start by someone else’s middle or end.”
I packed that notebook and took it with me all the way to Southern Illinois University.
The Universe always has these beautiful and unexpected ways of reminding us we are on the right path. And even though I was still scared shitless to board that tiny regional plane from St. Louis to Marion, IL the next day, I am more scared to think about a life without that opportunity.
I could say a lot about Bloggers and the Beat, a panel discussion I had the chance to speak at, hosted by the Student Programming Council at Southern Illinois University. I could say how refreshing and reaffirming it was to listen to the other panelists recount their early days as artists and entrepreneurs, and drop some powerful words of wisdom. I could say how much I loved the students, from the moment I was greeted by Quiana and Kia at the airport, to the second I sat down at the open mic event prior to the panel, to the post-event meet and greet. I could say how much each of them, full of such life, energy and passion, inspired me to continue on this beautiful and wild ride. But, most of all, I could say that you can’t ever be afraid to fly. And, sure, that goes for tiny and claustrophobia-inducing regional airplanes. But, really, it goes for taking that next step and leaning all the way the fuck in to what you are being called to do.
Witnessing your dreams manifest is an amazing, frightening and surreal sort of thing. Even as recently as January of this year, I was dying to start speaking at events, while simultaneously stomaching the rejection I had gotten after having panel pitches turned down. I was starting to think that maybe it wasn’t in the cards for me and the Twenties Unscripted brand to begin translating my work in that sort of way. And, then, poof. Here we are. And, it’s not really “poof” at all because it’s not magic. No, it is years of work and writing and days dating back to that coaching session with Demetria. It has been a long and trying road just to get here. But now that I’m here, my God, am I ready to fly.
Be sure to check out the work of my fellow panelists, Kia Smith–the amazing young woman who surfaced this opportunity for me–and SIU student Tierra of My Future Is Chic who did a great job recapping the event.
Brandon “Real T@lk” Williams | www.realtalkraps.com
Kia Smith | www.KiaSmithWrites.com
Tierra of “My Future Is Chic”
Tierra’s recap | “10 Lessons I Learned from “Bloggers and the Beat“