The moment had come when Jared would have to chose between a life of cowardice or courage- would he continue to paint by numbers or create his own unique design? That night his ringing ears created a pressure causing his eyes to blur. Jared tried to maintain focus but the crowd appeared as a sea of anxious bodies vibrating into one. Finally, he remembered to breathe and knew that this moment- his moment- would transcend him to the next level
Unbeknownst to him, he prepared for this moment all his life. It started with the cleansing of his canvas. Preconceived ideas of who he was turned him into a fraud; perpetrating this falsehood forced losing situations. Finally, he abandoned the trendy threads and all his bravado and embraced his own style and complex masculinity. Preparing him were cyphers with friends heralding him as the next illest MC. This was the confidence needed for Jared to ignore self doubt.
The lights brighted forcing colors more vivid; he could smell his breath and taste its dryness. The beat from his heart echoed; keeping the pace for the melody that would soon spew from his gut. Stammering at first, the stares from the crowd confirmed what they said was right- “he couldn’t do it.”
Jared had reveled when friends told him his rhymes were tight and bars sick. He had chosen friends who rolled their eyes at peers who believed Jared was too poor to succeed. His friends’ investment in Jared’s dreams had allowed him to prostrate with pen to pad and write through dark nights. He would capture the crippling pain of losing Stacey to domestic violence and of reminiscent laughter of when Rabbit jumped off the grotto yelling “YOLO” only to belly flop into the pool. He wrote blindly to find his way.
With pants sagging in a time of skinny jeans he stood on stage knowing conformity is not an option. Stage left he could see his friends mouthing his lyrics with gesturing hands shooing him to move forward. And so he did.
He remembered how past moments of greatness conspired to get him here. Jared had abandoned old pastimes and replaced them with writing in the lab and reading pages by Paulo Coelho. Instead of being distracted by noise, he would meditate and adopted the mantra, “opposite of courage is conformity,” by Earl Nightingale. In his new found freedom he resonated with the quote, “they laugh at me because I am different, I laugh at them because they are all the same.” Once he had accepted his truth he would grow closer to himself and started using words that elevated him, surrounded himself with those who motivated him, saw strength in himself and developed through taking risks.
The crowd exploded at the realness of his rhymes. Jared’s canvas was original and distinctly his own causing onlookers to stop, stare and question how their canvas would look if they dared to be courageous.
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