I was walking through Washington, DC this morning and heard the pounding of drums as I approached Dupont Circle. The rhythmic pull drew me in from blocks away. As I entered the park I saw an all-womens drum line. People were gathering around as they played.
The women were fierce. There were probably close to forty women, ranging from their twenties to about their sixties and they exuded such energy, power and joy as they played. There was a primal thrust to their drumming as they swayed together and pounded their instruments, occasionally letting out a yell.
Their expressions varied, some beamed as they played and others were serious and focused, transfixed by the rhythm and the energy surrounding them. Each possessed their own style within the whole; some performed with a flourish and others were more contained and reserved. I stood, watched and listened, taking in the sights and sounds all around me. The crowd gathered around, some dancing, some swaying slightly, others standing still, watching intently.
After a few minutes I filled with emotion as I watched these women banging their drums, swaying en masse and shouting to the heavens. I experienced it as an offering of praise and gratitude to women; their beauty, their power, their strength. I thought of my mother and my sisters. I thought of life and childbirth and how it all emanates from a woman. I also thought about my own soulmate and offered that up to the heavens along with the hopes, dreams and passions of everyone else gathered in the park on a beautiful spring day, swaying to the sound of the drums.
“These dream things are real, man.”
Fifteen years ago I decided to become a standup comedian. I had just received my master’s degree in elementary education, which I was proud of but I knew in my heart that there was more I wanted to achieve and experience.
I set about pursuing a career in comedy by night while teaching music by day. I did both jobs for five years, gradually climbing the ladder in comedy to the point where I was starting to eke out a living. Finally, after that fifth year teaching I decided it was time to listen to my instincts and pursue comedy full time, letting go of the safety net of my day job.
Following my instincts is the single most important factor in shaping the life that has unfolded for me. The whispers inside that say “Yes, you can do this” and “Follow this direction” are sacred whispers, I believe, guiding you toward the path you were meant to take. I am grateful to my parents for instilling a faith in myself and in those instincts because it has given me the life I dreamed of and more.
My recent return from Egypt and Kuwait has me reflecting on this wonderful life that I have been fortunate to experience. As with any success, it has been a combination of hard work, luck and patience. Again, following my instincts has opened the doors to a life of beautiful people, places and experiences which have enriched me beyond measure.
I was thinking of some of those people, places and experiences:
- I have opened up for Chuck Berry, Smokey Robinson, Joan Rivers, Joy Behar, Dennis Miller, Jon Stewart, Louis CK. I have worked with countless talented comedians; beautiful, artistic, creative souls who have enriched my life.
- I have performed in more than half of the fifty states and internationally in Amman, London, Manchester, Cairo, Alexandria, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Montreal and Toronto.
As George Carlin said, “These dream things are real, man.” I know they are because I have seen it with my own eyes. At times it has been a struggle and I have had doubts and disappointments, nights where I felt defeated and wondered if I had what it takes. But I always continued on, knowing that the whispers inside were real and true. They were saying “You can do this, Teddy. It is in you.”
I am grateful for this indescribable life of wonder, opportunity, challenge and reward. The people I have shared the journey with and the experiences I have gathered have made me the person I am. The whispers within say “There is more on the way” and I know it is true. I will continue to work hard, follow my instincts and give thanks for every precious moment of this beautiful journey.
These dream things are real, man.