Sometimes we need a hand to hold. Even though we know we can do it, are strong enough, smart enough to do it, sometimes, we somehow, just don’t.
Sometimes we need a little extra help, to get us over a hump, a bump. To give us a hug, or a sweet smile, to hold our hand for a little while, as we grow the muscles to do it on our own.
Several weeks ago, I wrote about the Rapp Saloon and my desire to read at their poetry open mic. And how, for any number of reasons, I didn’t go.
Then last Friday night, my dear friend and writer/teacher extraordinaire, Deborah Edler Brown, sent me a text. “Hey, want to go to the Rapp Saloon tonight?”
Yes. Yes. Yes.
No hassle, no fuss, no anxiety.
She came to my house, we had dinner.
I drove, it was dark, there was rain.
Then into the room we went, all warm and cozy, buzzing with other poets who were there to listen and to read. A deliciously delightful host invited us to write our names, a one-line introduction, and something we wanted to share.
She began to call out names, and then it was my turn. To walk up to the mic with my poem, “Wells Gone Dry” in hand, and begin to read.
I heard my voice echoing in the microphone and looked out into the room, seeing my dear friend’s face, smiling, encouraging me on. I trembled only a little, my knees quivering a wee bit. But about half way I began enjoying myself. Loud and strong, I let myself play with the reading, forgetting that it was me up there. Instead, taking pleasure in the words, the story, the emotions I wanted to convey.
Before I knew it, it was done. The audience applauded as I stumbled back to my seat. Deborah grasped my hand and whispered, “beautifully done.” The rest of the evening was a bit of a blur, but wonderful. I’d done it. Wildly enough, the host came up to us later that evening and invited us to return as feature poets!
So why tonight and not before? Timing, no doubt. Enough sleep, maybe. Mercury no longer in retrograde, who knows. Maybe all of the above. But perhaps most importantly, in this significant step, the difference was a friend to hold my hand.
A few months ago, she and I formed our own creative support group. We call it ‘Braver Together.’ Having been friends and written together for years, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, we saw the power of supporting our mutual desire to get our work out there in a more abundant way.
We now meet every Monday to strategize and plan, watch webinars and learn, brainstorm and mastermind. And being the two women we are, we take time to catch up on the week and share a meal. She is gathering her writings and delighting to discover how she wants to share her work, while I am exploring how to produce and market my own creations. Step by step, we are walking, dancing, laughing more bravely towards our deepest desires.
Sometimes, for reasons not always understood, we need someone who sees in us what we can’t yet see in ourselves. Who believes in us when we do not quite believe in ourselves. In times of doubt and fear, when the swamp monsters roar, and the quicksand threatens to drown us, we need a hand, or even just a fingertip, to reach out and help us believe we can do it…
Yes, indeed, braver together.
This piece is dedicated to celebrating the fellow travelers on the journey.
#BraverTogether #StrongerTogether #SmarterTogether