I am by no means a writer. This may be quite painful to read. Please do so at your own risk.
The Low down.
I spent many long nights back in my early twenties working as an underpaid barman in the Jozi Drum and bass movement, way back when it was still underground. As any young, broke adult that has ever worked behind a bar knows, most of your earnings come from convincing people they need to take out some extra hard earned cash and drop it inside a small, strategically placed jar labelled – “TIPS”. How does one go about doing so? Smile / flirt / be polite / be efficient / be friendly / be good looking / have boobs / all of the above – or – I found that even the stingiest party goers are way more inclined to stash that jar full of 50’s right after you refill and reseal their empty beer cans right in front of their non-believing blood shot eyes.
How the F### do I do that? … Throw in a 50 and maybe I’ll tell you.
You see, Apart from serving overpriced drinks and hustling the masses out of their beer money, I was at the same time, practicing one of my childhood fascinations and passions – Magic.
Not the kind you see on stage where 6 beautiful ladies dressed in practically nothing, prance around distracting the audience while the spandex wearing magician makes a tiger disappear behind a massive puff of smoke. I’m talking close up magic. The kind that happens in your own hands, in front of your own eyes, with your own signed coin. No smoke. No mirrors. No spandex.
They call me Gambit.
A good friend of mine and fellow bar tender had started telling the hordes of drunk men that her name was “Storm” to avoid the creepy Facebook stalkers that she’d get throughout the night while on duty, pared with my ability to manipulate playing cards, just like the card dealing , ladies’ man in the Marvel Comics, she would introduce me as “Gambit” (we are both huge comic book fans ), a cheesy “X-Men” joke that kept us entertain throughout the 1 and a half years we spent behinds bars (pun intended).
Performing magic was nothing more than a hobby back then , A small set of skills that I developed to make extra cash and entertain myself at 3am when the party was over and only zombie drunk diehards were still around. I had no other plans for it, although I loved it, I was at this point, making decent cash performing hypnosis (another HUGE passion of mine) and was well on my way to getting a promotion at my day job.
“Despite all my rage…” I eventually stopped working the bar scene and had move up in my 9 to 5 or rather my 7 to 6. (05:00 – 06:00) – Wake up. Brush teeth. Eat breakfast. (06:00 – 07:00) – Sit in traffic. (07:00 – 17.30) – Work. Work. Work. Work. Work. Eat lunch. Work. Work. Work. Work. (17:30 – 18:30) – Sit in traffic (18:30 – 21:00) – Cook. Eat dinner. Shower. Pack lunch . brush teeth . Sleep. *Repeat for the next 6 Years.
In that cycle I’d gotten so caught up with work that I had drowned out my passions, ignored my dreams and succumb to a mundane, monotonous life cycle. Not by choice – BY DEFAULT.
I was no longer hypnotizing people. I was no longer performing magic. I was no longer playing music. I was completely ignoring my talents, the ones I had spent countless hours practicing, the ones that made me feel alive. Then something hit me, like an 18 wheeler loaded with reality bricks – it hit me hard. I realized I’d been caught up in the rat race, full speed on my stationary hamster wheel.
I’ve always seen those cookie-cut motivational images on Facebook, you know? A chilled beach setting with the cursive scripted words printed tranquilly across the front “Do what you love and you’ll love what you do.” or the classic “You can be anything you want in life. “ I’ve never really met anyone who has followed those mythical messages nor have I ever really paid attention to them. After all, is the person making these images sitting on a beach with a mojito or on tour with some huge band? I can’t be sure, but a year ago I decided to challenge him/her/it.
I restrung my guitars. I dusted off my hypnosis books. I bought a new deck of cards and I started doing what I loved again and it feels great. Although this is just begging, I’ve already met so many cool new people, seen crazy new places , experienced mind opening scenes and made awesome new friends.
So are these little messages of “Live your dreams” just fallacies? I’m on a mission to find out.