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  • Writer's pictureTiffany Renee Johnson

Focus...On The Uncomfortable

If you know me or even just a little bit about me, you know I love to tell stories. I live to do so. Storytelling is greatly integrated into my reason for being. On the stage, in front of the camera, and sometimes on paper and computer screens, I thrive, learn, grow, love, breathe, stretch, shake, let it go. I love to embody different characters and explore their worlds, relationships and pathologies. I love the power of the written word and where spirit takes my hands to craft them. I have been blessed to work and create, in a myriad of ways. But I have found myself doing a bit of refocusing lately, and working on a project of a different nature…ME.

Just as everybody else in the world has done, I have slowed down tremendously because you know, there’s a pandemic outside. But what I did not know was that it was going to take a hold of me like it has done. It has forced me to stop and reach down DEEP, and to look in the mirror at every detail. And wheeeeew it’s been a doozy. But it has also been so beautiful. I am learning so much about myself. I’m being shown the dusty corners of myself and being called to sweep them clean. And it is hard work! But also very necessary and beautiful work. It is work necessary to a self that is inevitably evolving and asking me to make room for the new pieces, the new lessons. And that one way I can help create that space is getting rid of that which no longer serves me; an unlearning built to carve out and free space within. This time of being so still and very concentratedly focusing is birthing a new(er) me. God is showing me so much about myself, and I’m just trying to keep up, making sure I don’t miss a spot. But I’m also showing myself grace, if I happen to do so. I have been forced to check my anxieties and challenge them. Taking that particular lid off has shaken me to my core some days. There were more things inside than I would like to admit. But putting my eyes on each of them has helped me start to empty it out. Thought by thought. Discomfort by discomfort. Worry by worry. And boy has that been freeing. Little by little, I’ve learned the art of emptying because I need that space for other stuff. Like purpose.

Speaking of which, this time inside has challenged me beyond belief, but I am so excited to see how it will deepen my storytelling. The well I have to pull from is becoming inevitably deeper and richer. I cannot wait to use what I’ve learned about the world, this life, and myself. I will use it to breathe new air into characters I’ve yet to play. I will use it to tell stories growing inside of me that I have yet to tell. Focusing on the uncomfortable has been making me better. Everyday. And I know my art will be better too. I have a greater capacity now. That, my friends, is the beauty of struggle, in whatever form it may come. It is often difficult to work through, but there is joy, growth, love, and wonder on the other side of it. We must only keep taking steps. We must only keep saying yes to what makes us whole.

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