I watched the movie Queen of Katwe last night – a story of a girl from the slums of Uganda who goes on to become a Chess Master. An incredibly powerful story, it touched on so many deep subjects, but most importantly, I couldn’t believe anyone could make a movie about chess and it be brilliant!
Please watch it if you can. Amazing. A powerful women’s story too.
But the moment that spoke to me most was at the end – where the actor David Oyelowo (brilliant) shouts out – “you deserve to be here, you deserve to be here.” Of course, she went onto win and became a superstar in her local community, but that line, you deserve to be here resonated.
I didn’t grow up in the slums of Uganda. I grew up in a working-class family in a town in Victoria, Australia, called Wodonga. It was a great place to grow up. Free. Safe. In the beautiful country-side of Victoria. We did so much stuff growing up, had so many experiences. I loved my childhood – even if it was erratic in my family.
But I never got exposed to professionals in my upbringing. My dad was a plumber, then an artist, then a cleaner when the artist gig wasn’t paying, and then a teacher for intellectually and physically disabled adults. My mum was a nurse and worked at the hospital across the road. They both worked hard, but money was always tight.
Going to the girl’s Catholic School across the border in Albury was expensive for my family. Luckily my sister and I were good at music, so we got scholarships. Ahhh music, the thing that got me out of town, into the city and onto more opportunities. I loved music.
So much so I studied music and ancient history at university, before joining the Army as a Musician, but it was after this that the world truly opened up. I travelled through Egypt, Jordan and Israel at this time, a time I was still able to read hieroglyphics. Life changer. I came home, never really settling, but started my PR career, still in the army.
Then I jumped on a plane three years later (1995), traveling through Nepal, India, China, Hong Kong and a bit of Thailand, before landing in London and starting an amazing career in tech PR. I worked across Europe, and then to Boston, NYC, Sydney, Singapore, Phuket, back to Australia and back to Singapore.
Travelling gave me the confidence to take care of myself in any situation.
Landing on foreign soils and taking career chances with nothing lined up yet falling on my feet (with some pain and anxiety along the way) taught me to believe in fate and destiny.
And meeting so many people from so many different walks of life, taught me that people are awesome and while you come across arseholes on the journey of life, the majority are superb. The other thing I learnt is just about everyone you meet has a little bit of brokenness inside that needs compassion to help them heal and become their best version of themselves. Being open to the brokenness we all carry inside is something I’ve learnt too.
And yet that voice – you’re not worth it – was always taunting me
You’re not good enough. Are you fucking kidding yourself thinking you can do that? You’re ugly. Why would anyone want you? You’re getting too old to dream like that. And on and on and on.
Yes, that voice, it’s always been there, trying to sabotage me on the journey. Telling me I don’t deserve to be at the table I’m sitting at. Fucking with me. Always taunting me.
So a few years ago I decided to tackle the inner dialogue. I realized if it wasn’t serving me, then it was time for it to fuck off. I’ve written about it before, but I still do it to this day. FUCK OFF.
That girl, who grew up in Wodonga, had a mohawk and huge muscles because she loved body building and because she lugged a euphonium around everywhere (a French horn too)… well that girl deserves to sit at the table, because her collective experiences and intense curiosity got her there.
She deserves it and she deserves to honour every dream she has. Her heart and soul spoke to her and helped her believe. That girl didn’t grow up in a wealthy family and she wasn’t exposed to the massive opportunities available to her. She didn’t know you could have jobs in those sorts of fields. She didn’t know those jobs existed. But she found out. She uncovered it.
Just as Phiona Mutesi – the main character in the film – didn’t know that she could have a much bigger life, beyond any possible dream she had before the coachcame into her life and unlocked her incredible talent. How can you dream so big when your current world-view is so small? It’s the getting out and seeing the bigger, glorious world that makes the difference.
And this is the gift for all of us. Get out and find what’s possible and then dream bigger than you think is even possible today. Dream it and believe it. Because if you have a unique gift to give to this world, if you know in the deepest part of your soul that you deserve to get there, then please, don’t ignore it. The world needs your gift, now more than ever.
But we must shut out some voices first to hear another. I’ve discovered two voice demons and once voice angel so far, they are:
- The voice of other people’s fear. Please don’t take it on as your own. Just because someone else is fearful of what you dare to dream doesn’t make it a dream not worth pursuing. Drown their voice out with your belief that it’s right. If you’re wrong, you’ll get the greatest gift of all – learning
- The voice of your internal saboteur. My internal saboteur is a vicious, nasty voice. I know many others have this voice and I know people who don’t have it at all. I am always amazed when people don’t have it and sometimes people are amazed at the intensity of mine. Tell that voice to fuck off every time it comes to the surface. If it doesn’t serve you, shut it up
- The voice of your heart and soul. The voice that dreams big. The voice that says you deserve to be here. That is the hardest voice to hear with all the internal and external chattering we face in this busy life
But we must listen it.
We must connect with it, because that is the voice that takes us on the journey to achieving our full destiny. That is the biggest yet quietest voice in our world, but it’s powerful if you give yourself the chance to hear its whispers. It’s a battle to hear it though – a battle I fight every day. But it’s the worthiest battle of them all. If I hear it, I am invincible and so are you.
Do you believe me? I hope so.
There you go. A little bit of Andrea inspiration for today after being so deeply touched by Queen of Katwe. As you can probably see, the film certainly made an impact on me and I didn’t even speak about the power of the women in the film facing times of unbelievable adversity with such dignity. That’s another blog in itself!
I just want us all to listen to the whispers of our soul and make this world the magical place it deserves to be. There has never been a more important time for our global community to tune in I reckon.
Let’s all go out there and play at this life stuff big huh? Why not? What have we got to lose?
Over to you. Do you battle an internal saboteur? Or have you overcome it and can now listen to the whispers of your soul? Or maybe the internal voice makes no sense to you at all. I’d love to know if you can relate to what I’m saying?
Yours, without the bollocks
Dream big image courtesy of Shutterstock
Thank you for reading my ramblings. My brain and heart are a work in progress, always. I’d love a comment if it stirred any thoughts or feelings and of course, please feel free to share it with anyone you know who might be interested or entertained. I sure do appreciate it when you do. If you want to connect, I’m on Twitter here, Google+ here, Instagram here, and Facebook too. I share loads of stuff, not just my own blogs xxxxx