I feel empty. Almost lost, but mostly just empty. Months of preparations, years of wishing. A build up of emotions, expectations, realizations. The tension that slowly sneaks into your whole being. With a big bang the bubble bursts, the air escapes…

An empty vessel that held all the pressure remains…

It’s not just talking on a red dot, the stage or the attention that comes with it. For me it is the emotions that I canalized to be able to do what I do. Feeling her (Debbie) as a part of it, without being to emotional about it. Realizing a dream that you slowly saw coming into your direction with every step you made, created. Fighting your body that wants to lie down, that wants to sit and rest. That can’t stand all the noise and worse, the white noise. The external movement that won’t let you find a comfort zone and your feel that unrest creeping in your being.

I wanted to address what happened in my life that made me change from an insecure 36-year-old boy to the man I’m becoming. I wanted to honor the one that was lost by her loved ones. I wanted to show the possibilities for the future, if we would care and help each other. I wanted to bring together all that was important to me in a mere 15 minutes.

A TEDx talk isn’t just about you and what you want to bring forth. The organization needs to keep to their vision and program. They have a budget, agreements and partner interests and within that you need to play your part. And it’s not a 15 minute part. It’s discussing, preparing, writing, training and nerve wrecking. It didn’t get so much to me as I would expect but it wasn’t as easy as it might seem. I just handled it with my inner zen.

Picture by Raffy Kock, TEDx Aruba September 23 2016

Preparing my talk, I didn’t feel comfortable talking about being a social entrepreneur. I don’t like labels and certainly not when they’re being put on me. However, I knew there was no escaping it if I really wanted to realize my dream. So I took the label and looking at it I soon realized I had to wear this one. Maybe not as a huge emblem like “look at me now” but as “this is what I’m becoming.”

A dear friend advised me to change my talk about topics more suiting to my situation. Instead I chose to adapt my life to the talk I was about to make and the pressure started cooking…

I needed to become a “Social Entrepreneur.”

As soon as those words were released from my system the universe came knocking. Business partners popped up, dream opportunities where on the table, an intention declaration was signed for two years with a local NGO. And then, my car broke down just before I started to feel an immense burning sensation in my lower part of my body. Urinary infection, again…

“How bad do you want this? Are you sure? Are you strong enough?”

As I spoke to friends about my fear that I’m not being afraid enough, that I’m not scared of failing. I’m scared of not trying hard enough. And then my dearest possession broke down again. My car decided to take the test a step further. The fear was real, it just didn’t seem to have power over me.

Leaving to Aruba was the break I needed to change my perspective. To breathe a different air and refuel my dreams. To increase the hopes for all that is yet to come, to reinforce the possibilities that we (it’s not all just me) can create.

Yet here I sit. Empty. My meter is running low, my energy is gone. My body is sore. But the hope is still strong. I anticipated on this. I know what comes after great success. That feeling of accomplishment. I know that what goes up, comes down. The higher, the harder the fall. Our human minds immediately starts asking “What now? What’s next?” I’ve been through it many times and I call it the “sugar rush aftermath.” I’ve had it when I finally got my car, when I won that price and when I tossed my crutches. I overcame all.

This time it’s different. This time, I remember the words being released from my lips “I will stand on that red dot!” This time I look at her picture and I know I have to let go…

Bigger dreams await me. Beautiful souls surround me. I am the man I should be, now I have to create what I dream. I am scared. I am human. I am thankful.

This emptiness will overflow with love before I know it.

The official transcript: The TEDxAruba Transcript (official)

The TEDx Bucket list: Bucket list, check! #TEDxAruba

Music of Choice: Simply Red – Holding back the Years

Holding back the years
Thinking of the fear I’ve had so long
When somebody hears
Listen to the fear that’s gone
Strangled by the wishes of pater
Hoping for the arms of mater
Get to me the sooner or later

Holding back the years
Chance for me to escape from all I’ve known
Holding back the tears
Cause nothing here has grown
I’ve wasted all my tears
Wasted all those years
And nothing had the chance to be good
Nothing ever could yeah

I’ll keep holding on