So I was watching Chris Rock’s standup comedy show, Tambourine on Netflix with hubby last night. We both laughed until we cried at some parts and at other segments, similar to the studio audience, we listened in quiet, rapt attention because Chris managed to smoothly insert one or two important social messages into the routine. And as I watched him I thought, Wow, Chris, look at you go! Look at you doing your thing, being who you came to the planet to be, not giving one fuck about what anyone else might think or have to say about you. I love it!
It’s been months since I watched anything on Netflix, but after working so many hours around the clock for the past few weeks, I decided to peruse the site yesterday, see if there was anything new in cable streaming. My angels, they struck again! Intuition led me to Tambourine, to behold yet one more example of another human being in the act of following their heart, living their life’s purpose, refusing to settle for the restrictions the world tried and failed to place on them.
Of their own accord, the world would never have invited the likes of Chris Rock into the television entertainment business. No fuckin way. He was supposed to be leaning into some drive-thru intercom, asking, You want fries with that? Or maybe he was supposed to be mindlessly circling a towel on the hood of a red sports car, waxing on and off, buffing it to a high gleam at some Brooklyn carwash and detail outfit. But Chris said, Nah man. I got skillz. I’m funny. Y’all are gonna pay me to not only make you laugh, but you’re also gonna pay me good money to make you think.
Ha! Double ha!
I bet they laughed at Chris Rock back in the day. Even people who claimed to love him, I bet they thought he was crazy for going the entertainment industry route. I bet people laughed at Eddie Murphy and Kanye West and even Oprah Winfrey, back when they were coming up and no one knew any of their names. J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter book was rejected numerous times by publishers before she sold it. So was Jack Canfield’s (and co-author, Mark V. Hansen) Chicken Soup for the Soul because one particular publisher didn’t like the title. But Jack Canfield refused to give up and refused to compromise on the title which, by the way, had come to him during a meditation. Yup. I saw him share this during an interview on an episode of Oprah’s Super-Soul Sunday two years ago.
After I recorded my fourth podcast episode I cried like a baby. I cried because I was scared. I cried because I thought I had lost my fuckin mind. I was like, what am I doing here? No one is ever going to be interested in the journey of some middle-age woman claiming to be chasing her dreams and trying to write her first book. A podcast about that? Why?! And then I cried because I was fuckin crying! What’s wrong with you, Maria? Pull yourself together! How are you gonna keep your focus if you can’t stop all this crying? And then one morning (my angels struck again!) while listening to Spotify, trying to block the negative voices as I washed dishes, I heard a song which made me freeze. I turned off the water and I listened.
When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me
Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me
And I thought, yes, those lyrics are for the voices in my head. Take that, voices!
The song is– This Is Me, performed by Keala Settle in the film musical, The Greatest Showman, starring Hugh Jackman. In that kitchen I walked over to the table, turned the speaker volume to its highest decibel and started shadow boxing with my yellow dishwashing gloves still on. By the song’s second play I was singing those lyrics through tears— my cheeks wet, my voice hoarse! It was my way of telling all those voices in my head to SHUT THE FUCK UP.
As I now calmly reflect on the past week, I can’t help a sheepish smile. Attempting a new venture ain’t for pansies. Shit gets real and shit gets hard. And I don’t want to pop out on the other side of this thing, once I’m inevitably rocking it out on a regular, looking like a pro, acting as if it was soooo easy. I want all the ordinary people of the world sitting quietly on their untapped greatness to know, I’m taking one for the team and I hope they get up and start playing in the game or playing harder than they already are real soon.
Pushing myself through the challenge of figuring this podcasting project out isn’t all, it’s not just the experience that’s building my courage. I have also been re-reading this book:
This is about getting mighty clear about what makes you happy and what makes you feel the most alive, and then creating it instead of pretending you can’t have it. ….. This is about having the cojones to show up as the brightest, happiest, badassiest version of yourself, whatever that looks like to you.
–You Are A Badass, Jen Sincero
Nothing like a little reminder from someone who, in her forties, was still struggling to figure her own life out. Now Jen Sincero is a New York Times Bestselling Book author (twice!) and a much sought after life-coach. Today I’m reminded that ANYTHING is possible if you believe in your own potential. We forget, we’re all just regular humans doing our part to make life happen collectively on this planet. It’s just a matter of figuring out what kind of part we want to play and how big or small we want to play it.
I’m so over shrinking myself in this world and playing it small.