ICAN : Institute For Career Advancement Needs


Leadership Programs

Inner Voice
Azure Antoinette

Commissioned by ICAN for the 2013 Women’s Leadership Conference

Click here to watch Azure's Performance at the Conference

As a woman I am constantly faced with trying to siphon the amount of emotion I place on situations, things, men, appearance, women that were never really my friends, and living in a world where I am trying to make sure that the word feminist, looks good on me.

I am consistently battling my femininity, my former self, and the woman I’d like to be paralleled with the woman I am currently. Which really just exhausts me. I used to be enough for myself in the morning, sufficient by the afternoon, reveled in play dates with my friends who hadn’t learned how to be caddy, we were too little to be superficial, and by the evening, I had already conquered being a heart surgeon, a top chef and according to my father, I was always a princess.

What did I do with my confidence?
Where did I misplace the wilds in me that told me that anything I wanted to accomplish could be done before my mid-day nap?
I have been looking in all the wrong places.
I have been searching for my identity in pencil skirts that would look just right, if my waist were a little tighter.
I have been searching for the fearlessness of my youth in cosmetics that sit just right on cheekbones that have been engineered by Photoshop programs.
I have been looking for my purpose, in desk placards, empowerment conferences, cherry wood desks that have a view of the city.
I have been searching, long distances, epic widths, for an answer, a piece of validation, for the courage to be myself.

As a little girl, I can remember, playing with dolls, building sand castles, and reveling in anything that was make-believe.
I also fondly recall that there was a voice inside of my chest that sounded like a mature me.
She would tell me that I could do it, that everything was possible.
She’d tell me that I could make a 3-tier cake, on the beach, out of wet mud.
She would tell me that my mom would think it was the best butter-cream frosted, with ripe strawberries cake, she had ever tasted.

I can remember this voice, whispering to me right before I stopped fighting sleep.
She would tell that tomorrow is going to be epic.
That we are going to riches off of our lost teeth that we placed underneath my pillow, and that we were going to wear a beautiful gown made of bed sheets, she would tell me that the household pet would be my loyal subject and we would rule the kingdom of the neighborhood.
I would smile.

In the morning, it would be just as I heard the night before.
This inner voice never lied to me.
But she stopped speaking to me at some point, or maybe I just couldn’t hear it.
All I can confirm was that she was nowhere to be found.
She didn’t come with me to college; she wasn’t there at my first official staff meeting, she wasn’t there at 1am while I slaved over my first PowerPoint, or the midnight when my son had vengeful fever and I had a conference call in shanghai at the same time.

But last night around 2am, when I had lost all faith in myself, I heard someone that sounded like me at 4 years of age.
I felt a tapping on the side of my chest, near my heart, the tapping increased to a moderate push.
Then the room fell quiet, the voice said, it’s me.
It’s been a while, but I have never left you, I know you are filled with worry, but you can do this.

Tomorrow, you will wear a suit that is just as nice as the bed sheets we used to make your gowns out of.
And tomorrow you will realize your dream.
And tomorrow we will turn the key in the ignition.
Yes, tomorrow the flame will hit the piston.
And tomorrow you will make this situation obey your desire.
And tomorrow you will conquer the world that you live in.
And you will do it, before your mid-day nap.
Tomorrow is the day to set the globe aflame with your prowess.
I smiled, she told me to rest well, and she told me to have a good evening
She whispered, tomorrow we ignite.




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Mary Prefontaine
Mary Prefontaine

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