“Here's to first-time performers fighting nerves You who are brave
Afraid of potential rejection
Understand that when we stitch our souls to the very bindings of the pages that we read from
We are risking affliction
Offering our backs for you to bless or burn
We put our lines on the line Praying you'll accept our sacrifice”
Never in a million years did I imagine my life would look this way.
I had a plan for post-college, adult Jeanette. I knew what I loved and I knew what I wanted.
And then I graduated.
I crashed head first into a plot twist known as the recession. Any idea of job hunting and moving across the country to follow mythical dreams was cast out of the picture. So I stayed in South Florida. I continued working. I existed. But I felt stuck and I felt stagnant. And if I were being completely honest, I felt forgotten, as I watched the social media sagas of friends finding their callings and fulfillment, and here I was wondering if life would always look the same. I found myself in an internal battle as self-doubt and disgust strained to set in. Where was my great adventure? My legacy? How would I impact anyone?
Sometimes a backslide is actually a blessing in disguise.
I stepped into a coffee shop one day to attend a small open mic run by a friend.
A single show was all it took to change my life forever. I fell in love. With the people, with the talent, with this creatively-charged safe space where all were welcome. I found belonging. I immediately started writing and the next month, with shaky hands and pounding heart and unsteady voice, I performed a piece of poetry for the first time. I shined. Not from the performance, but from the resounding rally of those around me, encouraging me. The more I spent around these creative people, the more inspired I became, the more I began to write and share and hone my skills. I wanted to be a part of the magic. I started getting there early and staying late, assisting in setup, even cohosting.
And then I was given the news that would alter the course of my life completely. The founder and host of the show was moving away. The open mic would be disbanded.
Plot twist- Unless I stepped up and took over the event.
I tried to walk away. I tried to think of every excuse that would tip the scale over to NO. I was afraid and I was overwhelmed. I almost let my doubts dictate my destiny.
But despite my best attempts to convince myself that I CAN’T DO THIS, I carried on. I cried out to the Creator to help me now create. I asked for strength and support to make this something truly great. I unclenched my hands and took a breath and gave it all to Him.
I am now known as “The Hostess with the Mostest.” I run multiple shows each month- some of the most successful in South Florida. I perform Spoken Word across my state and recently even went on tour. I have found so much fulfillment and I have been a part of some truly magical moments.
The journey to this point was NOT easy or quick or pain-free. But it was important. I am able to see my legacy and my impact. Every show I have the opportunity to instill worth and value in the gifts that artists share. Every show I get to celebrate other first time performers. I get to honor their vulnerability. I get to witness words heal wounds and I get to watch walls come down. There is such beauty in the cracks of our exterior and there is something so powerful about a microphone, and a stage, and a community that is ready to see all the broken bits and painful puzzle pieces that make up every individual who steps up to our spotlight. There is something so meaningful about finding a place to belong, a place to shine, a place to shine the light onto others.
So hold onto the important things. Know that sometimes receiving the answer “no” is not the end of your story and don’t let your doubts defeat you. Be wise enough to know you cannot go at this alone and be brave enough to step up to the stages in your life. Adjust your eyes to understand just how important encouragement and uplift truly is, and be someone that shines your light onto those around you.
Fight for what makes you feel alive and if you don’t have that yet, find it. You will fail and you will fall but Beloved, the destination is worth it all.
Jeanette Hickman lives in West Palm Beach, FL with her beloved cat, where she works for a family entertainment company by day, and hosts events/performs spoken word at night. She is most passionate about creating art that focuses on truth, calls to action, and uplift., and strives to push her audience to move, change, and think. Her mission also revolves around empowering the next generation, speaking worth into lives, and spreading the love and message of Jesus Christ through her words.
Jeanette recently returned from a spoken word tour up the East Coast with four other artists and is looking forward to future traveling and speaking opportunities. She has performed for organizations like Hope For Freedom, the Homeless Coalition, No Child Hungry, Rescue Upstream, and more. Also once she fell off an elephant.
Big things are on the horizon. The sky is no longer a limit. And a community of support is SO important. Please, join her in the adventure.
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnFw1- 3Pw1Pdlxh3AQGa_Vg