If you are taught to believe the best way to live your life is to live it in black and white, staying within the lines to fit in, you have not been provided with a roadmap to excellence but directions to a life of the ordinary. Some chose to live their life in full color splashed across the canvass. They have decided to walk the path leading to greatness. They asked why settle? Why paint within the lines when there is so much more I can accomplish by stepping out? They are not afraid of society’s judgemental eye. They refuse to settle and deprive themselves of the possibility that there are limitless opportunities. They will not let society judge them. They wholeheartedly believe that only you can judge yourself. Only you can decide if you have the confidence within yourself to reject fear and open your mind to new possibilities. They understand that with possibilities comes growth, and without growth, there is no reason to dream. Instead, you end up accepting being ordinary neither bold enough to dream of a better future or seize upon the opportunity at the moment. If you had the chance to join them, would you? Could you?
Have you ever felt like you were not in control of your destiny, wondered why you always seem to be fighting just to keep your head above water? Could it be that your mind has been so conditioned by society that you only walk the path they have laid out for you? Hopeless dependent on their approval as a whole, you’re afraid to take one step to the left or right off that path, worried that you will be judged as abnormal?
The real question is what is normal, a set of expectations that the masses have set, many of whom are trying to live by those same expectations without knowing why? The men and women who broke free of this type of thinking realized the only one who can judge them is themselves that take control of their destiny.
From the moment you are born, locked within you is a multitude of potential, and while we all know on some level where the key to unlocking it is, only a few of us dare to use it, afraid of what society may think.
It is your life, your destiny, and no one else. Rise above the limits that society has thrust upon you and open the lock
Anyone who has read my blog knows that I love The Matrix, and one of my favorite characters Morpheus, has uttered many quotes that we can use in our everyday lives. Two that I especially relate to are “There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.” and “You have to let it all go, Fear, doubt, and disbelief free your mind.” In many ways, we know what we must do if we want to make our dreams a reality, but we fail to act. We fear failing, doubt ourselves, and disbelieve in the possibility of success. In many ways, our minds have been conditioned by society to be practical, to color within the lines. Conditioned to believe that if we simply blend in, we protect ourselves. But imagine what we could accomplish if, as Morpheus says, we let it all go and free our mind If we dared to color outside the lines. Suppose we stopped being afraid of failure and embraced the possibility of success. We may just find that we will never again get caught in the rain because we would have learned to soar above the clouds.
The road to happiness and inner peace begins when you free your mind from the limits that society has conditioned it to believe in and realize when you start following your dreams, your possibilities are endless.
We gather here today to say goodbye, but we do not grieve their departure; we look back fondly and remember that were it not for them, we would not possess the strength and the courage to tackle all the adversity we have encountered and to overcome the many obstacles that have been placed in our way, to move forward with determination and a belief that we will get it done. So while fear and self-doubt are no longer with us, we can now appreciate while we may have been afraid of failure and didn’t believe we could achieve something, we tried, and when we failed and didn’t succeed, we didn’t wither away. We simply tried again, and with each attempt, our fear and self-doubt faded until it had birthed within each of us a belief that we are fearless, and we have no doubt in who we are and what we can achieve.
I will not silence my voice.
I will not just try and fit in.
I will not live my life so that you will feel comfortable.
I do not need your approval to validate my self-worth.
I do not believe because you say I can’t, I won’t.
I am not average.
I am a unique, robust, and confident individual. I was born to soar above the clouds.
You might not understand, but that’s because you never met anyone like me.
In the Broadway play, Hamilton Alexander Hamilton sings I am not throwin’ away my shot. In life, too many of us throw away our shot more fearful of the consequences of failure than we are possibilities of success. So we sit on the sidelines and let life dictate our futures instead of taking hold of life and making our futures what we want it to be. Our time on this Earth is but a blink of an eye, and our opportunities are finite, but our possibilities are endless but only if we take our shot.
In 2008 I was transfixed to my television screen with tears in my eyes as Barack Obama and his family celebrated his historic victory, becoming the first African American President of the United States of America in Chicago’s Grant Park.
Here was a moment I never believed I would live to see.
Here was a man that looked like me
Here was a family that looked like mine.
Here was a family that was now the FIRST family.
It was a moment that I will always remember. It said to me that maybe just maybe, America has turned a corner. Perhaps people of color will finally be afforded the respect that they have always deserved. Maybe America was finally going to live up to the words on which it was founded that all people are created equal. Maybe Doctor Martin Luther King Jr’s dream that we will be judged by our character’s content and not the color of our skin was finally on the cusp of becoming a reality.
But then came 2016, and even though, for eight years, President Obama and his entire family were the personifications of grace and dignity, America elected a man who was the polar opposite. A man who campaigned on division and tactically embraced racism. Maybe I thought to myself, America hasn’t turned that corner.
But as miserable as 2020 has been, something special was happening. 2020 saw the rise of the Coalition of the Righteous. A coalition of varying ethnic and religious groups, gender and sexual orientations, young and old, and they were ready to rebuke Donald Trump’s message of racism and bigotry.
Today the hope I had in 2008 is building in my heart again. On Saturday night, I beamed with happiness as I watch Senator Kamala Harris. a woman of color, address our country as the first female Vice President-Elect. It was an emotional moment as I thought to myself, for 400 years, they have tried to silence us, but here Senator Harris stood, and as she spoke, you could almost hear the wind whispering in the background saying:
WE ARE STILL HERE, AND WE ARE EXTRAORDINARY!
SAY IT LOUD I’M BLACK AND I’M PROUD!