*suggested edits by the exquisite, refreshingly funny, and all around lovable writer Kathryn Laurel Wills*
“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
I’ve always been told that in order to achieve success, you should simply focus on your strengths. You know, your natural “gifts,” the things you did as a kid, the things that come as naturally as breathing. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.
For the past couple months, I’ve implemented a practice in my life that I like to call my Dreamy Mondays. I take the entire day to sit by the beautiful Chattahoochee River and, you guessed it: dream. I journal, I sip delicious coffee, I soak up books like a sponge, I create. It’s important for me to set aside this time for myself to have space to de-stress and dream. Actually, just because I love you guys, I highly encourage you to make time in your week specifically for imagining and dreaming. Did you know that Google has figured out that time spent dreaming and pursuing the things you love is actually a very lucrative practice in business, in addition to just being a healthy psychological practice? I thought that was pretty badass of Google.
I have written these consecutive three things over and over throughout the pages of my journal:
-ENCOURAGING THE PEOPLES
I have named them my “Respiratories,” my gifts that feel like breathing. (What are yours? I’d love to hear.)
Imagine, for a second, a sun-kissed, chunky Cuban toddler, complete with leg and arm rolls, bouncing around with an afro of Shirley Temple ringlets and constantly waving at passersby, repeating in a raspy little Spanish accent the phrase:
As my mother reminds me, “Hi” and “People” were my very first words. I have always been a “people person,” apparently since I first learned to speak. My Tia Gretel tells me stories of my dirty-blonde little ringlet afro and me bouncing around and encouraging anyone that would listen.
“¡Me gusta tu camisa!” I would say.
(“I like your shirt!”)
“¡Me gusta tu falda!”
(“I like your skirt!”)
“¿Cómo te llamas? Me llamo Genoveva.”
(“What’s your name? My name is Genevieve.”)
I don’t know exactly where it comes from.
I think I was basically born encouraging others.
I also remember summers spent walking up and down the beaches of Puerto Rico with my Tia Lise, singing songs and raising our fists in the air, shouting:
“Power to the People!”
That is, and has always been, my battle cry. I’ve always wanted the people around me to feel special, like someone cares about them. I’ve always wanted people to feel empowered. I have wanted this since I was waddling around the streets of Miami in a diaper, drenched in Agua De Violetas Perfume (Cubans, can I get an Amen?!).
That desire to empower others took over my lungs at age six when I first started singing. I was obsessed with power-house vocalists, playing Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston cassette tapes on repeat. As I got a little older, the consuming fire of Christina Aguilera reached my little heart, and I would play CDs of her belting soulful tones for hours, implementing everything I learned from her into my own voice. I also really admired Britney Spears, not so much for her vocal abilities, but for her transcendent, otherworldly talent of being an entertainer. Around that same time, I would find myself magnetically pulled to Beyoncé of Destiny’s Child, with her powerful, unique vocals and her entertaining persona that she would later call “Sasha Fierce” (SHE WAS ALWAYS THE QUEEN).
Over the years, my voice became a tool to express the deep desire in me to empower those around me. In high school, I wrote my first original song for a friend of mine who was put in a coma after an awful car accident. Performing that song on stage at my humble high school talent show for her family and for all of our affected classmates transported me to another world. It was through this experience that I discovered that I could use my voice to lift others up, to touch and ignite something within them. From that point on, I felt more “myself” performing on stage than I felt in my own bedroom.
Fast forward to my 20s.
I get to play the part of Pop Princess/Rapper/Power-House on the weekends with one of the best event bands in the business.
I am ridiculously grateful for this.
During the free time that my job affords me I have discovered my desire to blog as well as my heart’s overwhelming desire to give a voice to the millions of people who suffer with mental health issues both in our country and around the world. Starting this blog has actually given a whole new meaning to my life-long “Power to the People” mantra.
Rewind to a few days ago as I watched Queen Bey’s VMA performance. (REALLY? What artist can perform basically their whole album, all of which is recognizable to the general public? ONLY THE QUEEN.)
I literally wept on the screen of my iPhone when it finished, not only because who she is inspires me to no end, but also because I realized something else. I was crying tears of desire, longing… inspiration overload.
I was basically crying because I want to be Beyoncé.
OMG this is so embarrassing to admit, guys.
I want to be a famous entertainer.
Who effing says that???????? Obviously only grandiose-thinking, slightly white-manic bipolar girls. (Stay with me, y’all.)
Watching Beyoncé give a voice to millions of women with her own voice turned me into a blubbering mess. There was power in seeing the word “feminism” illuminated behind the silhouette of one of the most powerful women in the world. (It may have been controversial, but that statement was powerful to me.)
I don’t want to be BEY, and I know that I am not Bey (I’m not that manic, guys), but, I want to be like her in that my deepest desire is to use my talent to be a voice for the millions of people that don’t have a platform to stand on. So, I have to release this little dream of mine out into the universe:
I want to be famous.
Lorde, help us all.
I mean, I was voted “Most Likely to Be Famous” in my eighth grade superlatives, guys.
It can happen.
Right? (Wincing face.)
I have to become comfortable with this irrational, audacious dream.
Isn’t that what dreams are supposed to be anyway, though? Irrational and audacious?
I want to be comfortable with sharing the dreams of my heart.
How else will my dreams come true if I don’t vocalize them?
So…I’m vocalizing them… to the internets.
I want to be famous,
not for the sake of my own ego or bank account,
but because I want the issues that deeply mark me
to be famous.
I want to have a voice that is heard by millions,
so that other peoples’ voices are heard by millions.
THERE. I SAID IT.
In the timeless words of Jimmy Fallon: “EW.”