While several of my friends froze their buns off at the beach, my mother and I took a day for ourselves to cross something off our bucket lists. That’s right, Wicked. Eight years ago, when first we set foot on Broadway, the buzz about the history of Oz was just kicking up. While I don’t regret my request to see In the Heights starring Corbin Bleu (be still my thirteen-year-old heart), Mother and I have been aching to see Wicked ever since! Recently, the touring company of the critically acclaimed musical came to nearby Memphis, and we just had to see it!
And let me just say move over Phantom because there’s a new favorite on my list.
What a great play full of impacting statements and beautiful musical numbers! Wicked manages to cover all sorts of heavy and relevant topics beneath all its charms and quirks. From easy statements of “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, to much deeper warnings to be careful not to trust everything somebody says–just because somebody with power tells you something is truly wicked, doesn’t mean it is. In a day and age fraught with fake news and subtle racism, this work delivered hard hitting honesty in a completely “swankified” way. By final curtain, I was struggling to stop the tears.
But as a writer, there was so much more brewing in my brain about this.
With every meaningful moment, every chuckle, every gasp I found myself wondering: how can I ever expect to write a story like this?
I wish I could express to you all how many stories I’ve started and given up on because I think they will never be great enough. I wish I could understand why I think my writing will never be good enough to warrant a page turn. The bottoms of my drawers are lined with notebooks of character sketches, story lines, and snippets of stories that were either never started or never finished.
I truly want to be able to create things that move people. I want to write the books that cause you to laugh out loud, or to lay it down mid-chapter and think about everything you just experienced. I want to write the poems that reach into your chest and pluck your heart strings by hand. I want to make people feel how I feel, and transport them so fully into the worlds of others all within the comfort of their favorite coffee shop or couch. But how on earth am I supposed to do that as, well… as me?
The truth is, we are our own worst critics. Always. Nobody will ever be as hard on you as you are, and I have to remind myself of that almost every day. I’m the only one that expects me to be perfect, and that’s incredibly unfair of me. I am forever scolding my friends for putting themselves down, for thinking they are anything less than stellar, so why can’t I be that kind to myself?
My dad always told me as a kid, “There will always be somebody smarter, stronger, or prettier than you.” And as discouraging as that can be to hear, the fact is that they may be smarter, stronger, or prettier, but they will never ever be me. I am the only one of me that there is (thank Heavens), and as a result I have a unique perspective, and individual voice that will never be heard if I keep silencing myself! Nobody will ever have a chance to cry over my characters if I keep stopping myself from bringing them to life!
Dear Reader, there are things you long to do; things you’re good at, that you have a knack for, but you keep talking yourself down from. Somebody I admire very much once told me, “Everything is impossible until it’s done.” and only you have the power to accomplish it, friend. You have a voice, and you are capable of accomplishing those big ole impossible sounding dreams, so stop telling yourself that you’re not good enough, because YOU ARE! You are the only you that we have. Nobody got anywhere worth being without some hard times, so put on your hard hat and get to climbing those mountains of doubt, because there’s some awesome stuff at the top!
You and I are pretty good at putting ourselves down, so maybe it’s time we try something new. How about we try… defying gravity.