It was my final year of college.

I was interning at a radio station and at MTV in New York City.

My degree was in Media Communications.
I was very comfortable in the background – directing video segments at school and learning how to edit radio segments.

Here and there my boss at MTV would put me in an on-air segment (for example- modeling hats from a local designer)

And at times I would write and speak a segment out loud at the radio station.

I  recall the first piece I co-wrote and co-produced with a fellow radio show colleague. This was at the beginning of the Aids epidemic and in my segment I  imagined what it would be like if I ran into my first love after years of being apart and we fell madly in love again to find out he had Aids.

Up to three times a week I would have a half day at school and head onto the subway and into my internships. Or I’d start the day at the crack of dawn to fit everything into my schedule.

The Radio station morphed into a mecca of creativity, connectedness and feeling like I was making a difference in the world.

WBAI was a listener sponsored station and it felt like I was a part of something bigger than me and not corporate.

I started writing some segments for a women’s group- we called ourselves Rhythm Productions. We worked closely with the established men’s show, Creative Unity. They guided us, inspired us and gave us opportunities.

Our fearless leader was a man named Anthony Sloan who was on staff at the station. I  was introduced to him through my mother- who was also in college at the same time as I was.

She was getting her Master’s degree in Fine Art photography. Anthony was one of her figure models.

Through Anthony I learned so much more than how to splice tape together (last year for that).

He pointed out that I often put myself down in my language and to be cognizant of that and STOP.,

I second guessed myself and he asked me WHY?

He was determined to determined to expand my world and decided to accompany me on a trip to the South Bronx to open my eyes to how other people lived. He thought I was sheltered. I was.

Creative Unity had a radio show at 1 in the morning one night a week and I was invited to present on it.

This meant I had to enter the building (a high rise on 35th street and 8th Ave) through the freight entrance and freight elevator around midnight.

This was not a cleaned up New York. It was a gritty and dangerous time. Somehow I mustered up my courage and showed up every week without thinking about the fact that someone could jump out and attack me on the isolated street at any time. Maybe the combination of my ignorance, my innocence and my faith kept me safe.

I showed up, fully alive, fully engaged and part of something I believed in. I admired everyone I worked with.

I was growing up… in NYC.

And this is where i fell in love with being On-Air- Talent.

My experience at WBAI ultimately led to what I’ve been doing now that brings me so much joy.  I’ve been interviewed by dozens and dozens of radio shows, blog talk radio shows, TV shows, publications  and I’ve spoken and performed on stages for dozens to hundreds of people at a time – all over the world.

I have a story to tell.

In 1995 my father shot and killed my mother and married her sister, my aunt.

I found the power of forgiveness.

It set me free. It’s what I talk about, present about, am interviewed about and perform a one-woman show about.

My experience at WBAI formed me and prepared me…I didn’t know how important it would be for me then.

We all start somewhere- it’s our job to keep saying YES.

Anthony decided that Rhythm Productions should have our own show. And we modeled it after Radio morning shows. We were told to show up and be ourselves and we’d talk about current events.

Well, something happened to me during this first LIVE Show.

I felt a sense of PRESENCE that I hadn’t experienced since being on stage at 11 when I sang and tap danced at Carnegie Recital Hall(the last time) before puberty and low self-esteem and family violence set in.

I, who was shy, thoughtful and always stayed quiet vs sharing my opinion (because I second guessed it) was given permission to speak up during this show. Not only was I given permission but it was expected.

And I showed up..for my colleagues, the audience and myself.

I was just me without the cloak of invisibility and voicelessness that I often hid behind.

After the LIVE show ended, Anthony led a discussion about how our first show went.

And he started with, “Well, there was one really big surprise…someone who really led the show successfully”

I listened eagerly to our teacher, looking at all my much more confident than I cohorts.

He looked at me directly, “Brenda, you found your voice”

Everyone clapped and smiled and acknowledged me…for just being all of me.

By taking center stage I didn’t rob from anyone. I didn’t diminish anyone. (Those were thoughts that had plagued me unconsciously before this)

I actually elevated the show.

That acknowledgment and permission would change my life forever.

I ask you…where are you playing small because of self-judgment and doubt?

And where can you give the gift of permission to yourself or someone else?

Go do that now.

And if you need help…I’d love to speak with you.

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Be Bold. Be Brave. Be Yourself.