Earlier, for no other reason than that I’m familiar with “Weird Al” Yankovic’s parody of the song, I was watching the official video for Eminem’s song “Lose Yourself.”
He begins with the following words: “Look, if you had one shot, one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted in one moment, would you capture it or just let it slip?”
The song’s hook or chorus goes “You better lose yourself in the music, the moment. You own it, you better never let it go. You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow. This opportunity comes once in a lifetime yo.”
He ends with these words: “You can do anything you set your mind to, man.”
Without quoting the entire song, the artist tells the story of a young man about to go on stage and rap to a crowd for the first time ever. In the bathroom, he appears calm and ready, but inside he’s nervous, nauseous and, above all, scared. When he gets out on stage, he chokes, forgetting the words he intended to use. Still, even after this obvious failure, he doesn’t lose faith in himself. He knows he will try again, hoping opportunity doesn’t pass him by.
I understand that this song is a song about Marshall Mathers and not just some random guy. The song later tells about how many sacrifices he’s had to make in order to continue to feed his family, even to being absent as a father, to the point that his own daughter doesn’t know him and he barely knows her. He knows he has to keep going and keep his material fresh because if he doesn’t he’ll lose the opportunity again and government assistance will only do just so much.
Now, what, you ask, does this have to do with me? At the moment, my husband and I are trying to feed, clothe and house my family on government assistance. I already know just how far that assistance goes and, though my husband is able to work miracles to get the bills paid on time, it still feels like we’re constantly stretching for, but never quite reaching, the end of the month with anything other than debt.
I meanwhile, have long cherished the dream of making money as a writer. For a long time, now, I have “just let it slip,” because I haven’t believed that anything I wrote was that good, even considering what friends and family have told me. I look at the number of people following my story blog and let those numbers depress me.
Mr. Mathers. I’m going to take your advice, man. I’m going to put my mind to it. I’m going to write something good and not stop trying to sell it until it’s published somewhere. I’m going to keep doing that and building my confidence until I feel strong enough to write a book. I can hear opportunity knocking. I’m going to do everything in my power to “capture it.”
I’m not a fan of Eminem and I never expected to find wisdom in one of his songs or be inspired by it. Still, stranger things have happened, right. Anyway, Marshall, if you’re reading this, thanks.