For successful women, it is always easy to run down the laundry list of their accomplishments. I believe that in brushing through, or running through these accomplishments too quickly, we … Continue reading Slay Black Girl, Slay: The Truth That Is Ruth E. Carter
It’s just a glass.
Melted and shaped rock that was formed and that I can drink out of. This glass was given to me by the Director of FLOW: Where Writing Moves, one amazing Ms. Amanda Wells.
I have not drank from it, and cried when she said I could have one of the many she has on a brown shelf on the wall in her cozy office. I turned it over and over in my hands, tried not to cry. One would ask, “Why cry over a glass? It’s just a glass.” These are the people whom cannot relate to me–they are not acquainted with loss or pain or passions.
It was about two years ago when I decided to forgo nursing school, the goal of becoming a nurse, in favor of pursuing what I loved: writing.
I decided to let go of the safe to do the extraordinary, the unsafe and unheard of. I listened to my heart and the leading of God and have seen my life transform. Since giving up nursing school, the false self, I rediscovered my artistic bent and nature. I began to love me again. I loved creating and words again…I found me.
On this journey, I found myself in rooms I did not unlock, with people I would have never met, and was allowed to have this little Dollar Store water glass.
Which I am allowed to fill…
All my years of trying to please people, of not being accepting of all I was, allowing other people to define me and what I needed–has ended.
I define me now. And only me.
This glass sits in a place where I can see it daily. It reminds me of my potential, my power, my choices and beliefs. It holds only what I allow, and releases only what I say and will. I reminds me that my journey is not over…only just beginning.
And I shall be brave enough to finish it.
[Image belongs to author]
The best thing people could ever do is underestimate you.
With the complicated burrowing through this life, there will always be people to tell what you could not, should not, unable to do. You cannot be defined and determined by other people’s opinions. However, other people will try and define you by what they think you should do or what would best suit you.
Again, the best thing people could ever do is underestimate you. In the act of underestimating, they have shown their level of involvement in your life and their contributions therein. The blessing in that underestimation, you have the power to discern what you want of your life and what you need to help you propel forward. The underestimation is rocket fuel to focus.
In the propelling forward, you are forced to decide what it is you want, and what help you will need when you need help.
What you must remember is people love to criticize what is new, different and challenges what they think I comfortable. People love to talk–and do so no matter what is presented to them. They will talk if you do what you want in spite of, they will talk if you stand still waiting for someone to come with you.
My question is this:
What if you did what you wanted? What if you did it anyway?
Whatever your it is, what if you need it with love, conviction, and in spite of other people’s opinions of you?
What if you made this life your own and did what you wanted, like you wanted and was excellent at it?
What if…just what if you did it anyway?
I was musing with a friend of mine about what a journey this life is. How as a child, you know what you are good at–you can’t explain it to other people , but in the world you craft for yourself, you know. For me it was words and writing. I couldn’t explain it to other people, but in my heart I knew these strange 26 letters I made my right hand master in print and cursive, no one could best me at.
I wrote anyway. I am writing anyway.
The wisdom I implore you to take with you today is the greatest gift of time and aging: reflection. What is your it? What are you trying to do or to become? What will it take to get there? What will you let go of to get it? Most of all, is it worth it?
This life, as beautiful, chaotic, dirty and crazy as it is, are swath with trade-offs. Full of its. Full of all marvelous its–things to do, see, shape, create and become. What is it?
When you answer this, determined about it, then it will not matter what people say…you’ll do it anyway.
Do it anyway…
Sooner or later, we’ll all see who the prophet is…”
-Nas, Nas Is Like (Album: I Am…)
The first time I heard Nasir olu dara Jones’s voice? I can’t even explain it. I remember I smiled on the inside. My household wasn’t terribly conservative, but my parents monitored the music choices of myself and siblings. And being born in the era where hip-hop was in its infancy, kept their ears to my Sony Walkman and my radio when it was on Majic 108 (yes, I’m old enough to remember listening to that station here in St. Louis).
I remember how my father really didn’t pay attention as closely to what I listened to like my mother did. My taste and love for music came from him. He listened to Muddy Waters, Clapton, Pop, Doo-Wop, Soul and Digital Underground. Yes, THAT Digital UNDERGROUND.
In the sea of hip-hop, of all the people I was listening to, I came back to Nas. I kept coming back to his lyrics, his voice, his–musical presence in my world. As I moved through middle school aged girlhood, I was shaped by these male voices in my world. Even with the discord which comes with being a teenager, my Dad was one still one of the loudest voices inhabiting my social world. It was my father that told me, “Why do you want to go to school to write? You can’t eat with an English degree?”
I know, right? That cracked my heart–I didn’t think he believed in me. But I kept at it.
This, I believe, is the reason why I loved (and still love) hip-hop so much: the words, the freedom, the creativity–I saw this music genre as an art form.
For the first twelve years of my life, I wanted to be a physician. A healer. A wielder of heart and head, of logic and art. I wanted to be a doctor because my Dad was one and I, too, wanted to heal. But when I discovered this mastery of these letters? When I found another way to heal? I told my father, I no longer wanted to be a doctor.
Our relationship deteriorated soon after.
In that space, that influencer power of my father quieted. In that space, I crawled inside music and words and Nas in my junior year of high school. I would hear his voice and that lie that rooted in a mind and heart would shut up. It would shut up.
In a pen, I found peace.
In the pen I found healing, and I found that what he told me, was only true for him. It was only applicable to him, and what he wanted for me, he superimposed on me, rather than accepting me for who I was. I was not broken because I didn’t fulfill someone’s expectations.
I remember I began to preserve this gift the only way I knew how–blocking out the world, including him. I honed the craft, listened to my English teachers that told me what I could do. I I re-read their edits, asked questions about how they graded and what I could do better. I listened to my favorite emcees, memorized lyrics and at the release of I Am, confirmed what I wanted to do.
From that day to this one, I have made it mission to uproot that lie. In doing so, I can be confident every time I publish a blog, freewrite,or edit a book, I burn a hole in each letter of that childhood false hood, and grin at their ashes around my feet.
I’m a linguistic acrobat. A wordsmith. A delicate, intricate raconteur.
I does these words.