So Be It, See To It
Updated: Nov 10, 2020
Photo by StP@, Copyright No Idol Music Group, LLC
The renowned and beloved author Octavia Butler once wrote in her journal:
"My books will be read by millions of people...They will reach the top of the bestseller list and stay there for at least two months...I will inspire black youngsters to write... I will find a way to do this. So be it, see to it."
Not long after, she found herself living out the dream of those words.
When we talk about affirmation and manifestation, people make it seem super dreamy and magical. I mean to keep it real, it is magic in all technicality. Believing in something so much that it becomes a reality, speaking something into existence, has a supernatural element to it. Words have power, literally and figuratively. However, I do want to point out the less obvious fact that nothing happens without actions. You can write an affirmation down every day and really focus all of your "thoughts and prayers" on it and see zero results.
Octavia Butler manifesting her goals by writing them in her notebook is one reason why we stan. Not secondly, her willpower is what captivates me.
Don’t Just Dream It, Live It
In the words of Wale:
They gon love me for my ambition
easy to dream a dream though it's harder to live it
As a double Sagittarius rising Pisces, I've always been a persistent dreamer and over-thinker. Sometimes I still find myself wishing that film script would just jump out of my head and onto the page so I won't have to write it. I wish I could just pull the song from my heart and it is done, mixed, mastered, and poppin'. But the reality is we have to do work, people.
I've been a writer since I was 6 years old, writing and illustrating short stories. I have always been a singer; as the story goes, as a baby I started singing before I really started talking. I took music lessons, acting lessons, joined programs where I was able to express myself on large platforms, and exhibited my photography. As I won competitions and got great feedback and encouragement, all along I wondered if I was really good enough.
I didn't get the most out of a lot of opportunities because I was simply too shy. Some of us like myself are naturally more reserved or self-conscious but we can't let that stop us from shining. If it's something you have to actively work past then get to it.
For a year, I performed at over 40 open mics working to become comfortable performing original songs in front of people. I still struggle with stage fright, but I've mastered singing without sounding nervous. It's much further than I was before. If you're a singer like me, open mics are the perfect place to practice performing since they are a space for people looking for some encouragement and support. Check your local newspaper or sites like Eventbrite for open mics near you. Local coffee shops, book stores, small entertainment venues, and theatres usually have an open mic night at least once a month. [If you're in the Seattle area, Freshest Roots Expresso Open Mic night is hosted on the first Friday of the month, usually at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center but now virtual because of COVID-19. ]
I always felt that if I tried and failed, what next? So I only tried a little bit, just enough to enjoy some gratifying level of success but not enough to give up if it wasn't that successful. If I succeeded I could say, "Hey maybe I am good at this.’ If I failed, I could say, ‘I didn't try that hard anyway.’ Although I knew I had some kind of talent and definitely was ambitious, I lacked the confidence to activate my dreams.
I feel more comfortable writing and filmmaking and that’s how I choose to interact with the world, instead of making Instagram posts that always felt strained and calculated. I may not be the world’s best writer (right now), but with practice and determination, I’ll get better
with every post.
Photos from three of the author Octavia Butler's notebooks.
Don't go into the light
Remember when we were younger and people told us not to stare at the sun? We sometimes did it anyway and it hurt (ha). Other people may be out here shinin' real bright, so bright it's hard not to see it and admire it. But don't focus on them so hard that you're too blinded to see your own light. Admire and acknowledge other people's art, but don't use it as a tool to tear yourself down. Work hard at your craft and put it out there to the world. It is inspiring to see others doing the damn thing. Now turn around and focus on doing you to the same degree, and we will have a world full of dope ass people. If you focus too much on others and what they're doing, you run the risk of losing yourself.
See To It
Octavia Butler decided. She chose her future and left no room for negotiation. I have made that same decision for myself in the year 2020; I will enjoy success in the entertainment industry in any medium I choose to wield and I will do that now, not later. We do that by taking action whenever we are faced with the option of sitting it out or saying “maybe next time”.
It's one thing to be ambitious, even convicted, but it is another to have the willpower and resilience to keep on trying no matter what. If you truly want things to happen, no amount of prayer, affirmations, or wishing will get it to you without some physical work. Octavia said "So be it." But she also said, "See to it." Cultivate your talents and skills at every turn.
It ain't nothin to it but to do it. So be it, see to it.