Putting your art out for the world to critique is hard. It’s one of the most vulnerable things I’ve done in life. I always knew that I wanted to explore and nurture my artistic side, but I allowed my low self esteem to dictate my vision.
Time and time, I would map out these life plans and dreams just to find every excuse in the book not to follow through. I became a first class quitter. I mastered quitting and I had grown comfortable in defeat. This was all until I learned the definition of defeat. Defeat means to overthrow. All along I had been allowing negative thoughts to OVERTHROW my purpose.
On one of purposeless days , I came across an old video of Nikki Giovanni interviewing James Baldwin. The video had resurfaced online.
I’d always been a Nikki Giovani fan, but I’d never watched or listened to her interviews. In the video clip I watched, she was beautiful and confident. There she was interviewing a legend, she a legend too, and she conducted herself with so much boldness. Seeing this made me fall in love with her even more. Giovanni dominated that interview, but not in a negative way. She asked questions and received the answers, but she never gave the impression of demure.
Sometimes, when in the presence of a powerful man, we women feel the need to stifle ourselves or hold back out of reference. It’s been ingrained in us since birth to always let the man lead. This is ok sometimes, but never ok ALL the time. In the interview, Giovanni didn’t do that. She conducted herself like she knew she deserved to be there, and she did! Nikki didn’t let James Baldwin or his status intimidate her and that…
That’s what I wanted for myself.
Afterward, filled with newfound excited, I searched for a Nikki Giovanni quote to post on my daily agenda. I’m really into beautifying quotes thanks to my favorite fictional journalist, Mary Jane Paul from the series, Being Mary Jane. In the series, every episode starts off with a profound quote.
One of the first quotes I found of Nikki Giovanni was, “I am so hip even my errors are correct.” The quote is so simple, but to me, it represents everything Nikki Giovanni is to me and taught me to be—unapologetically fierce! She taught me with that one sentence to embrace my flaws—failures, because owning them makes me who I am.
There’s no better time than now to pursue your dreams! Write! Love! Do whatever it is that you’ve been putting off!
You’ll never live the life you want if you dwell in defeat.