I need to pour all this out. I have to. Its the only way that I can move forward into the new year with the clarity that I need to accomplish what I need to. 2016 has rendered me speechless. There were moments in this year where I pinched myself, where I just cried tears of joy or disbelief, full days where I basked in what truly is a wonderful life. The spa days on Miami Beach in April, the amazing collaborations with actors, directors, photographers and creatives, and the hugs, so many hugs from countless souls whove been inspired or moved by my work. All of these moments, and so many more made this year one ill never forget. But, there were also moments of this year where I cursed and sweared in unfathomable frustration, the vocal health issues, the election, the nights where I questioned my worth, moments of real frustration, or shame, or doubt. 2016 has been a full year and I am happy its coming to an end. It feels complete and im anxiously awaiting a clean slate.
I learned so many things about this year. I learned that people are so funny and that outside of God and close family, you cant really depend on anyone but yourself. I learned that my love is valuable and that I should be selective with who and what I allow in my presence. I learned that there arent many things some sunshine, seawater, wifi and champagne cant cure. And, I learned that it is MY responsibility to see to it that I get to the things, the places and the spaces that provide solice and healing for me.
I loved where my career went. After being in final callbacks and not being offered two national tour contracts I had had enough of rejection. So instead of internalizing that, or becoming more frustrated, I took my pen to pad and finished the projects I had begun. I wrote, and wrote, and wrote. Those writings were pulled together with the help of fabulous collaborators like Maxine Lyle and Walter Kemp to create a one man show and a new webseries. The one man show had incredible impact and will provide plenty of new opportunities in the years to come. I also led several professional development workshops for performing artists, teaching artists and other creatives interested in learning about performing. I did gigs, i recorded poetry and original musical concept recordings. I directed and choreographed, I taught lots of classes, I watched lots of documentaries & films and auditioned for some cool things. I did the work. I made sure that I did everything in my power to position myself for the kind of success I envision for myself. That takes lots of work, lots of money, lots of dedication but im proud of the strides I made.
I loss somethings to. I loss some so called friends. I loss some money doing stupid shit. I loss some time trying to juggle to many things at once. But, there were also some things I needed to lose. This year I finally put down the chip Id been carrying. I had this unconscious weight on me- rooted in this idea that I wasnt good enough. I confused the process of manhood with my current reality, buying into this idea that I was supposed to be somewhere else, doing something else, looking like someone else, living somewhere else. Early this year I just put all that to rest for once and for all. I accepted my assignment, i accepted the fact that I was exactly where I was supposed to be doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing. In doing so, I loss this lack of confidence and inherited a real sense of self. The kind of assurance that only comes with age, life experience and yes, success.
I also let go of FEAR. While reading Shonda Rhimes book #YEAROFYES I was arrested by her wise words. You dont realize the narrative that plays in your mind until you actually start paying attention to the things you do, or dont do and why you choose what you choose. People would ask me certain things and id say no just because I was afraid of the unknown. Then one day, I thought to myself, how IGNORANT of me to decline a dinner because ive never tried the food, or decline an invitation to travel because of something I read in the paper. This was a year of YES for me. If I could do it, and I felt good about it, and it was presented, I said YES. I said YES to myself, I said yes to vacation, I said yes to a new tv, I said yes to dating, I said yes to doing more, trying new foods, visiting new places, making new friends. Daryl want to direct a play at a professional playhouse, even though your an actor? YES. Daryl want to take your last $200 and purchase a plane ticket to Miami by yourself? YES. Daryl want to move to a better apartment? YES. Daryl want to take Uber all over town because you work hard and dont want to drive? YES. Whether it was good, bad or indifferent, if I wanted to do it- I did it. And what a difference it has made in my personal, professional and spiritual life. I have learned so much by letting go.
So now, Im here, in my bedroom at the end of this monumental year looking out my favorite view toward a grey sky and an uncertain future. I dont know what the next year will bring. I am optmistic that it will be wonderful. But, I dont know what obstacles, blessings, challenges and miracles await. I know what I want, but I dont know what God has planned. What I know for sure is that with my newfound confidence, my unwavering faith, clarity and purpose I am more prepared than ever before to LEAP. And thats what I plan to do. I plan to take a LEAP OF FAITH. I want to take big strides, big leaps toward the life, legacy, career, image and the best life vision I can imagine for myself. And I encourage you to do the same.
Dont buy into the hype. There is much significance in reflecting on the past year and planning for new things in the new year. LEAP. SAY YES. Take a chance. Make a change. Take a stance. Eat the cookie. Leave that loser. Meltdown. Spend time in the mirror. Join the gym. Take a class. Get back in church. Learn a new language. Update your resume. Delete Tinder. Work on you. Recommit to yourself. Continue your resilience. Take a leap of faith.
"To have faith is to be SURE of the things we hope for and to be certain of the things we cannot see" - Hebrews 11:1
I have learned to totally trust in the Lord. And 2017 will be no different in that regard. I can not wait to see the ways that he will render me speechless in the best ways possible. I am trusting that all will be well. I am finally ready to take bigger leaps of faith. I am completely free in this space. This is true assurance. This is true joy. This is real peace. Will you join me?
Happy New Year,
Daryl L. Stewart