• Her Own Skin



I often ask myself why people want to be remade products and completely forget the gruelling process that one has to go through to attain success? Why is not okay to be a work in progress?

I ask these questions in my early twenties, which is rather unusual because it should be normal to be growing into my own without it being a prompt thing .My first year was rather hard for me because I realised that there was a perfection expectation and an unhealthy competitive energy that existed which made it hard for me to grow organically, your first year learning jazz and the requirements is a journey it needed patience and time which many students and some lectures didn’t comprehend , if you weren’t catching the jazz language quickly then you were seen as a commoner in some way which baffled me , didn’t we come to school to acquire skills to be better musicians? So therefore it should be accepted to be a work in progress. My experience as a vocalist was tough because of the competition amongst vocalists and the instrumentalists that would class you into categories which made me very insecure to some extent I couldn’t learn to love my voice and my growth, the comparisons would almost make you feel like you needed apply some pressure on myself to be like a final year student which obviously couldn’t happen in your first year. I began to realise that if I wanted to grow into the artist I loved, I had to be patient with myself and love my journey because my small victories were valid too, the comparisons were going to cripple the women and artist I would love to come which is perfectly imperfect and that I am surely going to find my feet and .It is a okay to take heed when you are on a pursuit of greatness , the long of practice hours and countless rejections are only preparing for me other obstacles that are ahead .

As soon I got to my third year I realised that everything in its time and the expectations to be the “burning vocalist” are things that I didn’t have to live by to reach great potential, I was growing into my own and I was beginning to love it, it truly starts with the awareness of self and what you want to stand for that is where you can begin to create space where you can exist authentically. I am grateful that had an opportunity to form friendships with people who encourage each other when things were tough and never compared our differences but actually saw it as our strength, also moving into being a professional musician it comes with its daunting realities of perfection or finding ways to show off your skill to get recognised by fellow musicians, I told myself in order to survive and thrive through everything that is ahead of me is to take my time. There was many days were I would get fed up with my slow progress I was making and wanted to be like the final year students they seemed like they had everything in order on stage and academically and that made me feel like the slow progress I was making was inadequate but, I realised that discipline and consistency was most important to keep me motivated. I have learnt in every state I am in to be content, that state requires courage and strength in receiving rejections but I am at ease knowing my pursuit is distinct.

Young girl be relentless in your dreaming, patient in your growth, forgive yourself in your mistakes and applaud yourself in small victories that world won’t acknowledge you for sometimes. What I would say to the 19 year old Bokang, beaming with excitement for her first year of varsity and meeting uncomfortable predicaments and comparisons that life and school had in store, it is okay to be a work in progress. Understand that every process has its hardships but it doesn’t determine your final destination. Remember, you were not created in vain ,you are resilient and it is your own skin and no one can in live in it .

B , Ramatlapeng.

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