When it comes to real life, I’m only open to a small group of people.
But in writing, I try to be as free as possible as it’s the playground where I get to paint my emotions.With that being said, today’s post is slightly different from my usual posts.
Rather than an introspective philosophical look at a life lesson. I want to let you in on a challenge I faced recently, and hopefully, the life lesson will reveal itself as you read on.
Thursday 25th August 2016, my husband and I took on our biggest challenge yet! For those of you who know, my husband, Suli Breaks, is a spoken word artist. We organized his first ever headline show. And it was h-a-r-d!
We had doors closed in our face, backs turned on us, people doubting our success, and when it came down to it, the organization of the show was left down to just me and him, as it always has been to be fair. The story of his, actually I mean our career.
Working with my husband over the last 7 years (“damn has it really been that long?”), one thing I have learnt is that, unless you believe in yourself more than other people believe in you, you will never get anywhere.
I have worked with him to take his brand from his bedroom in Wood Green to a worldwide movement and that in itself was inspirational. Not because of the money we were making but because he had a vision and he saw it through! He inspired me to see it through!
And you would think by now we would be at a point where people are ready to invest in any vision he has, but one thing you realize about some people is that they only want to buy into the success, not the struggle.
So with his management not entirely sure of what he was trying to achieve, all the established institutions not wanting to give an opportunity to essentially a “non-conventional” act, (regardless of all his achievements) we were forced to improvise.
I sent emails upon emails, visited venues upon venues, trying to find someone, anybody who would accommodate for our budget or give us an opportunity to showcase this production, “Not A Role Model’.
The first stumbling block came when we had eventually found a suitable venue (extremely expensive might I add), but it was our last option so we went with it. The week before we were about to go live with our promotion strategy (something I had to pull together on a shoestring budget) they pulled out with no valid reason whatsoever. So we were left without a venue.
God is so good, though, because a few days after this happening, a friend had recommended a venue which coincidentally was a church that had been converted into a theatre. Upon viewing it, I fell in love with the venue – but my concern was that it was twice the capacity of the original venue we had in mind, and we hadn’t planned to sell that many tickets. But we had no other option. (Suli was still yet to see the venue but I knew he would love it and he did!) So like many other times, we couldn’t let this stop us.
Tirelessly, I worked for months; marketing, pitching, helping him create content, sending emails and organizing the show, with no external help (outside of his fellow creatives). I did this all while working on my other projects, so you can imagine how much effort this took. I probably would like to add here, that although I work with husband, I have never done anything of this magnitude before, in fact, I didn’t even think I was capable of doing it!
Family and friends became ushers on the day. Loyal friends helped with our marketing strategy and fans offered to photograph the event. We invested our money and efforts into creating “Not A Role Model” all because my husband was brave enough to believe and most importantly act on his vision.
Fast forward to August 24th a day before the show, I was sitting in on his rehearsals and thought I would just check the sales on the show, and it had stated we had sold 100% of the tickets! I wasn’t actually able to fully appreciate this. I kept thinking it was too good to be true.
But as people came from all parts of the world to flood the streets of Tufnell Park, queuing up for over 1 hour, on that historic Thursday, it was only then that it dawned on me that we had done it. Then fear crept in. We still had to deliver a show!
I ran around like a poised mad woman making sure his mic was working, the videos were playing and that everyone and everything was where they were supposed to be.
It wasn’t until he said his last sentence in his piece “Weddings and Funerals” and walked off the stage, as the crowd stood to give a standing ovation, that I was finally able to appreciate that WE DID IT.
Once again we had defied impossible odds. Five months before, “Not A Role Model” seemed like the show that wouldn’t happen, with people pulling out and letting us down, expenses piling up and the only thing that kept us going was belief that this vision was meant for us.
So I guess ultimately what I am trying to say is that when we least expect it life sets us a challenge to test our courage in the pursuit of a vision and what makes life interesting are these challenges we face.
There is no point in saying that we are not yet ready – the challenge will not wait.
Life does not look back. And I cannot explain the type of courage it took for me to forsake the known to take the road less travelled and throw myself and my skills 100% behind my husband and his vision.
There’s nothing better than the warm embrace of belonging – that feeling you get when you’re part of something you love or believe in.
What I know is true, is that my husband’s perseverance and my own immeasurable sacrifice had finally met their reward. And I am now more assured than ever before that the success of Not A Role Model is as much mine as it is his.
It could have been much easier for me to ask him to find a “proper job” all those years ago when I wasn’t sure how our future would be ‘secure’. I could have denied dating him to my friends when he was working as a cleaner in Virgin Active. I could have eased up on my career and not worry about bills to be paid. Yet I chose to believe in him, push him to go the distance, for I knew that his happiness lies in poetry.