"Big Day" Prep | Creating Positive Energy & Confidence for Life's Big Moments
In October, I had what some may call an opportunity of a lifetime. I was asked to perform a spoken word piece on the main stage of the Amber Rose Slutwalk, Los Angeles in front of over 21,000 people. It was one of the most powerful moments I have had yet.
Usually after I speak or perform, regardless of how others may say I did, I beat myself up with self-doubt on how I missed this or that and how it could have been a little better if only blah blah blah…BUT, this event was different. As soon as I got backstage to get my rundown and saw the crowd with their various activist signs from behind the curtain, I knew I was in the right place sending the right message, and was going to ROCK it. I had prepared in every way I could and put my ALL into that day. I was able to think of a mantra I had seen recently, “All I need is within me”. I thought to myself, “even if you get booed up there, you are releasing your raw truth and that is what matters. If they don’t want to receive it, that’s on them. Your value is no longer determined by others.”
As I heard my intro and name by the host and his push to get the crowd to cheer me on, I walked confidently right to the center of the stage and did a LOUD “What’s Up EVERYBODYYY?!.” Our country had just appointed Kavanaugh, so it was a sad day for many, but also a perfect time to immediately ask the crowd to yell back “We Believe You” for Dr. Ford, Anita Hill and for all of the survivors out there. I knew that would fuel me with the energy I needed to perform, and would get the crowd excited to hear what I had to say. I felt hypnotized by the energy of multiple movements coming together in this one setting. Screams and claps were echoing from different areas of the crowd after certain lines – i.e. when I referenced homelessness, Black Lives Matter, Times Up, etc. It was as if how I felt on the inside was being mirrored to me by crowds of strangers who I was somehow able to spiritually become one with.I was on such a high that I did not catch myself missing a line until later when I watched the video. The roars of the crowd after certain lines also forced me to take a breath, slow down and take it all in before moving onto my next line, when in the past, I speed through my pieces to get the performance over with. And I didn’t even panic about possibly going over my allotted time. However, next time I will plan for those little crowd-engaging breaks.
A few days later, I was humbled and ecstatic to see that my performance made it to an op-ed by Luisa Colón titled “The 10 Best Things That Happened At SlutWalk This Year:”
Getting to that point of “zen” and confident energy for such a big day took A LOT. While the performance itself went well, the real success for me happened before and after the show: all of my nerves had melted away before I got on that stage, and, for the first time, there was no self-doubt and negative talk after the show. Instead, I was at peace, proud and had nothing but love for myself – perhaps in a way I have never had before. I wanted to share some of my own bumps and obstacles and incorporate them into a “Top 10 Tips” for you to review WHEN (and not if) YOUR one (of many) big moments comes!
My 10 Tips for Creating Positive Energy & Confidence for Life's Big Moments
Say yes now, panic later: When that moment comes – and it may come once or often – your first instinct may be to say no. All of the fears and negative voices about yourself might jump into your head telling you anything from “this is a fluke and they are thinking you can do something you can’t” to “what will x, y and z think” to “I don’t have the time to do these 6 million unnecessary things I think I have to do beforehand.” Learn who that voice is, when they are coming in and give it a name. Mine is Nancy. Nancy is a hater and reveals herself as anxiety and negativity when she should be positive and excited. On the day I was offered to perform at Slutwalk, she almost completely had me blow my opportunity but since I've trained myself to recognize her, I was quick to mentally say, "NOT TODAY, Nancy. You need to go take a long time out!" And instead I shared how deserving I was for the spot on stage, (even though I only half-believed it at the time). So…when you get that chance and you have everything telling you not to do an amazing thing – SAY YES and figure the rest out once you hang up. You 100% deserve the opportunity and have EVERY right to it! Take it!
Just start writing. Whatever it is…your pitch, your script, song, business plan….just freewrite to get the bicycle wheel going. You may feel uninspired or like you have nothing good but put the pen to the paper – and I mean that literally because there is something that spiritually happens to the artist/creator between their brain and their output when they can touch the pen against the paper rather than typing. For me, it was a poem I wanted to perform and I really didn’t have anything perfectly fitting to the Slutwalk theme. I had NO idea how I could come up with something new but I just listened to some of my influencers in music and started writing. I thought it was garbage and would’ve thrown it away had my husband not walked in and asked me to read what I wrote and tell me it started of good. I didn’t believe him but I did keep going and it ended up being the sickest thing I had written in awhile. But don’t wait for the opportunity to hit you before you write either. Get to it now so you’re ready when it comes for you!
Edit, edit, edit. Then rehearse it until it becomes part of your being. I had less than a week but rehearsing this piece was the first and last thing I did everyday. Then practiced it with many distractions – loud music, in a store, at the supermarket…then the advanced level was saying it while multitasking – I would try and count how many black cars I saw while rehearsing it until I got to 5, I’d look for circle and rectangular-shaped objects, etc. Because your nerves can kick in anytime anywhere and anything can throw you off. I had to imagine that there might be 21,000 people talking or looking at their cell phones or screaming or climbing up a cool figure…who knows what could happen while I’m sharing a poem – heck most people don’t even like poetry – especially not after an exciting dancehall set with amazing dancers! I had to plan for the worst and most distractions possible so I wouldn’t freeze up or screw up.
Take breaks! Yes, I did say make this thing part of you, but also take breaks from it and do other things. I had a class to prepare for and a child and husband to spend time with. Time management is key in these situations and while you do need to prioritize big days, you don’t want to over-obsess and let other things get lost in the midst. It’s also really great to see your project with a new set of eyes and perspective after some R&R.
Take. Care. Of. You. I have to tell you that the week of, I had at least 4 very serious and stressful things go on with my health, work and family. Of course it all happened that week, right? And the content of the event and my poem was also very heavy and triggering. I had to take charge of feeling my best as best as I could.
Exercise: I was super busy but I went to the gym twice that week and walked my dog often. This helped me get my blood flow going and living in CA, that Vitamin D is always a great natural mood booster.
SLEEP. This is the absolute hardest thing for me to do. I’ve never slept well, especially when I have a big day but I did try to make sure I was at least shutting down the blue-light devices by 10:30pm. And on the night before, I saw the chiropractor knowing I always get a great night’s sleep after and got a good 7.5 hours (which is amazing for me)!
Eat what makes you feel good. I love fried food and sugar sooo much and it makes me super happy but only for a short while. I was sure to limit my naughty desserts a bit so I wouldn’t get a cranky sugar crash. I also tried to limit my caffeine to only 1 cup of coffee a day so I wouldn’t have increased anxiety.
Surround yourself with supportive and positive people who truly believe you’re amazing and that you’ll do great, even if you don’t believe it yet. Keep the negativity and drama in its own place as much as you can. Get your love cup filled. It’s amazing how much love can really empower you when you really need it. Soak it up, whether it’s calling a bestie or relative who lives far away or paying someone a quick visit. I got a lot of QT with my family and the extra cuddles from my daughter energized me!
Prepare & rest the night before. Pack everything you need – breath mints, lip gloss, and any other touch up makeup you may need, a handheld mirror, phone charger, travel body spray, hair band. Rest! I had a horrible sore throat (probably because I wasn’t resting my voice) and was pushing it too much. Don’t do that!
BONUS TIP //
Day of, wake up earlier than you normally would so you can meditate a little while you have your coffee. De-stress. Since you prepared everything the night before, you should be in a peaceful state where all you have to worry about is your current presentation and the piece you need to run through a couple of times. Pace yourself and try not to talk too much so you can preserve your voice.
Now, some of these may not be possible due to time constraints or just…life! In those cases, I highly recommend doing the basics that are within your control: what you let into your body and mind. Even if all you have is a few hours, keep it simple. If you can, limit your interactions with people and topics that may drain you or overstimulate you, drink some stress relief tea, and get your hands on foods that will help make you feel good such as fruits, veggies, complex carbs and lean proteins. And try your best to turn off your devices early so you can get some restful sleep!
I hope this was helpful. I’d love to hear about your prep tips! Share your thoughts and experiences in the comment below!
Check out my “Survivor Solidarity” performance here and read about my experience and preparation for it HERE.