Last week, I graced Harlem’s legendary Apollo Theater stage to compete in Amateur Night at the Apollo. It was a priceless moment for many reasons. The thought of that stage and its history, the pressure that it insinuated, and all of the practice I put into performing on it led to one gratifying moment – and many more to follow as Tracy, a group that includes myself and my two sisters, are in the semifinals. The most significant point of that experience is that I am doing something that I love. I was singing, performing, and pouring my soul out for me. While competing is a nerve-racking and a stressful experience, taking that stage feels like a dose of a daily vitamin I don’t get enough of because music is my passion.
Bearing passion is significant. It is one of life’s essentials that isn’t mentioned in enough motivational speeches. Performing gives me energy, life, a reason to go on in the midst of life’s craziness. Sometimes finding something to be in love with is just what we need to keep pushing.
As I reflect on my own life’s madness and uncertainty, I consider a lyric by singer/songwriter Eric Roberson, “Love what you do and do what you love” as he croons in 2005 song, “For the Love of Da Game.” The song reveals a simple sentiment that isn’t generally acquired. There are many ways to feel fulfilled in life, and it can be as simple as waking up each morning to do what we love – not what is expected of us by someone else’s standards or beliefs. There are so many people that are unhappy because they are unfulfilled and they don’t even realize it.
In every aspect of life, there is someone there shaping you to be politically correct, think a certain way, feel a certain way, or do what society says will make us happy. But what really makes us happy? Perhaps we forget because we are too busy being made insecure about our bodies, our lifestyles, our thoughts. We are too terrified at the idea that we won’t make it to remember those simplicities that bring us joy. We need money, we have bills, we have heartache, and we don’t know how to deal with all of the burden. And so, somehow what we love is somewhere hidden in the midst of that dark place we find ourselves in.
Do what you love. Let passion be your light in the darkness. It isn’t complicated. It isn’t burdensome. It doesn’t demand anything but your happiness. This doesn’t mean you have to neglect or remove yourself from the practicalities of life. Musicians, for example, often work 9-to-5 jobs to put food on the table but spend time writing, and performing at open mic events and feel completely happy because while they are maintaining the live they want with the money they make they are still able to put time in something that brings a smile to their face.
I write, sing, and perform because it feeds my spirit and as long as I am feeding my spirit, happiness will find me.