“Allow me to re-introduce myself!…”

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I attended an event one of the last times I performed last year, it was a beautiful event with very gracious hosts, good people and a nice environment, but when I was introduced I was introduced as a spoken word artist with a special poem to share. I wasn’t well acquainted with the hostess very well because she was newer to what she was doing and in general I thought that I would have been introduced a little better than a talent show participant and more like the professional artist that I was/am. I was kind of disappointed.

Later I thought (because I didn’t go the extra mile to give myself a proper introduction following the poorer one) that it was my fault.

Let me explain..

In my opinion it is your responsibility first to represent yourself. No one will be a representative of you better than yourself. You must be your biggest hype-person, representative and cheerleader through words and action. You don’t have to be dramatic and overbearing, but it’s important to conduct yourself in a way that is indicative of who you are and what you’re about. They say “first impressions are everything” so it’s important to be authentic and show gratitude for what others give to you, but if someone is not representing your fullness (which only you can really do for yourself) it’s important to use the amount of time you have to really clarify what you see fit to bring to the light. If someone mispronounces your name, correctly and politely speak your name as it should be spoken because that is what others will call you. If you don’t embrace what makes you who you are then no one else can. Be confident in this because it’s necessary to be glad for who you are and what you’ve become up to this point. There is nothing wrong with sharing that. In the words of Jay-Z “allow me to re-introduce myself!..” If you don’t give yourself the proper credit, you can’t expect anyone else to, because most likely unless you have a bio that they’re reading from, or unless they follow what you’re doing, or are prepared for your performance, they won’t know and you can’t expect that your audience knows it all either. In the moment before you do anything, you are here for yourself.

I can say this because I’m on the quieter side and I’m not boastful or a diva so people probably could think that it’s okay to interact with me that way more easily or might be quicker to do so, but this post is not really about me. Sometimes I feel younger artists may deal with these types of situations too where some will underestimate you because you’re young, you look younger than your age by a great deal, or because older people may not really know how to celebrate younger artists besides by building on the fact that they’re “so young” (which is often a remarkable and celebration-worthy thing, but should not be built upon just the fact that they’re young and so they condescendingly get false praise but that’s another story).

It can also be interesting at local shows where some look at you a certain way for not being a huge artist yet. The thing I would say to that would be to keep going, because as you go, you grow! Know your amazing-ness! As you do more and more of what you love, you improve until you get to the places that you aspire to be. Everyone starts somewhere and most likely if you’re in a place to be able to share your work, there’s a reason that YOU were chosen. Reflect on that why and build with it. Whether you’re paid or not paid, being in front of a crowd (no matter the size) is an important moment of connection. It’s a beautiful opportunity to really touch others and pour your essence into your work. Introduce yourself properly and as my former director and amazing friend and inspiration Magdalena Gomez would say before shows, “Go out there to love them.” It’s not so much about them loving you. If you’re authentic, how can people not? To me it was very clear to always go out to set your intentions free. Your work is to deliver something to the people, and that is your highest form of representation, responsibility and reciprocity. Go and GIVE. This speaks even if you actually drop the ball and don’t introduce yourself as you’d like or need to, or you let someone else do it and don’t add to it re- introduce yourself. Whatever you give, you will get back in return and guess what? You’ll meet those people face to face and you can expand from there.

You may have one shot on stage to “get it right” but life is so forgiving, that when you go with your spirit and do what you feel strongest, it all works out in the end as it did for me. I wrote this because I felt unsettled a bit from that experience and wanted to share something that I learned in the process and expand upon it to include a couple other things, but my main lesson was self-representation. You can’t rely on or expect for anyone else to do your work for you. And guess what? you win some, you learn from some, and you make it out great because when you don’t feel strong in your work, it’s a place to build from. It’s a point to strengthen and reinforce. Reinforce your intention, stay focused in your purpose and see your actualization play out and then continue until what you envisioned is closer and closer. Write it, say it, believe it, see it, and know it. Go out to set your intentions free. Let them grow what you wish to receive.

Thanks for reading & Much Love to you and yours

~Narelle

 

Copyright© 2018 Narelle Thomas

All rights reserved.

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