This week, I was forced to publicly perform a piece of poetry I wrote. Okay, I mean I am in a poetry class, and I knew when I signed up for it that the nature of the course might perhaps require reading my words aloud to an audience. So when my professor announced the poetry slam would be in the library and anyone could attend, my stomach started to get that sinking, shrinking feeling.
I hadn’t done any sort of performance piece since my glory days of the high school speech team – yes, the speech team, performing dramatic pieces that I personally thought were hilarious and amazing.
But nonetheless, I didn’t think I’d be capable of getting up in front of a crowd and be vulnerable enough to show a room full of strangers a glimpse of the things I actually think about.
Then I remembered why I wrote the poem I wrote. It was inspired by a book I read over the summer, Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. And honestly, it changed my life. I learned about what it means to be vulnerable, to live into the truth that we are all worthy of love and belonging. Brené taught me about wholehearted living, and I want her words to become the rhythm that I live to every day.
So I got up, hands shaking, heart pounding, the first poet of the night, and I shared my words with a room full of people while Brené’s words echoed through my mind.
“Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.”