Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Dream Deferred or Death?

This morning I woke up in a terrible state. There were tears on my pillow, my hand was clutching my heart, and my brain pulsated with questions. I’d just dreamt of the death of a loved one. Although I know this isn’t unique nor a premonition—despite my Caribbean heritage—it is a perspective of my reality at the moment. I grabbed my iPhone from it’s cave underneath my pillow and quickly googled the anecdote to my anxiety. This is what I found:

“Sometimes we end things prematurely. For example, we might end a relationship that we could have healed, or drop out of a study course that would really have been good for us, or kill off a gift or talent by ignoring it. The last case is quite common: you might have a wonderful talent as an artist, for example, but be too fearful to develop your skills, choosing instead a well-paid but unhappy profession for yourself.” –Jane Teresa Anderson

It amazed me how on POINT this quote was. Currently, I’m in a state of transition post-graduation, which is one of the hardest moments for the young 20’s. Having recently read an article about the late blooming of this generation and the constant posts of disappointment by friends; have me worried about my own future. Although I’m great at playing the part of non-emotional Superwoman, I must admit, I am afraid.
This is a word that barely crosses my lips: AFRAID. However, I’m confessing it to you because I know I’m not alone. I’ve just dropped a little over $100,000 on a degree and I still have no clue as to what I TRULY want to do. Friends and families always give you the five minute questionnaire, “I mean you like to write, right?” “Yes.” “You like to teach, right?” “I mean…I guess.” “Alright so there you have it! You can teach writing!”


I love teaching and I also love to put my pen to a pad. However, like any other artist in my field my dream is to take my art to the highest level. If we could write, paint, photograph, sing, dance, or parade our talents for the rest of our days we would. However, the problem with that is we still have to fret about income, supporting our families, and worry about what tomorrow may bring. I also think teachers are our leaders of tomorrow but, I can’t imagine myself confined to a classroom opposed to hopping from stage to stage or podium to podium. I love to hear myself speak. I love to have people listen. I love the message that can land on one ear and change an entire life. That’s power. #nokanye

Currently I’m doing some hip-hop journalism which seems to blur my hunger for the microphone. But, is that healthy? I’d never truly understood Langston’s “Dream Deferred” until I found myself on this crossroad. Rainer Maria Rilke states in “Letters to a Young Poet”:

“Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple "I must," then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your while life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse. Then come close to Nature. Then, as if no one had ever tried before, try to say what you see and feel and love and lose."

–Rainer Maria Rilke

I ask myself “must I write” everyday. I ask it in my journal, on twitter, in texts with friends, in the electronic notepad in my iPhone, and I inscribe it in my mind over and over again. Yes, I MUST write. Yes, I MUST perform. Within placing this question into my world….I AM WRITING.

Essentially the dream was my body begging me to write. Something I've been stifling in order to move forward in my other endeavors. My heart is not built to ignore the pen. My nose weeps for the smell of fresh paper, my tongue whispers to my fingers begging to help turn the page, and my ears plead to hear the turning of another chapter. Although you might not perish, a part of you dies. If that part of you is what you live for; you aren’t alive without it. All in all...don't ignore your talent. It just might kill you.



Anonymous said...

DAAAAAAAMN!!! so needed to hear that. real as shit. i'm cursing cuz i'm hype as fuck. this is shit we all gotta listen to...fuck it, i'm about to go write (but right after I eat, cuz a brotha is starving)

Lyrik Marie said...

i needed this right now Riv ..
even when you think you don't know the answer .. you do !!

you're a talented FUCK .

T. ODIS said...


You are not alone! I've been going through this battle all summer...corporate America? A stabpe paycheck? Or broke in my mama's basement with a pen and pad for a liferaft, learning to live off of feature money... one thing that I've realized is that your passion for doing what you were meant to do will not allow you to live happily without it (like a spiteful ex). Take the road that your heart leads you down. Hopefully we'll both have the courage to. Hopefully, our courage will be rewarded with a way to support our families. Maybe, we'll cross paths...


Veronica said...

I just stumbled onto your blog today. love this post. This is exactly what I needed at the point that I am in my life. Thank you for this post.