Maybe I Am Doing This Thing All Wrong

Today I was mentally exhausted and decided to take a midday rest, despite being exactly 1 week away from my BIG EXAM.  But in these quiet moments I started to think, “Maybe I am doing this thing all wrong.”  I am attempting to fight so many wrongs on so many different fronts, and I am not being as productive as I can be.  I want to change what is already in motion.  I want to change things that are outside of my control.  I want to change people, and we all know that changing people by just your words is impossible.  So, I started to think of how I can work smarter and not harder.  How can I fight the injustices of the world that are being waged against every single woman, man, or child? How can I fight the injustices that are based on race, gender or sexuality? How can I make this world better for those here and those to come?

I don’t have the answer to any of these questions right now, but I decided to stop using my energy to fight those who are stuck in their beliefs and instead use all of my energy to shine a light in this world that may not change them, but will help develop others.  Every chance I get, I am going to be the best me, give 1000% and make sure that I am leaving every place better than it was when I came.  I can’t divide my attention between those who choose to hate and those who need love. I have to solely focus on those who need love, so that they can be edified and grow into beautiful beams of light.

We don’t need fewer people that hate, but more people who love.  We don’t need fewer people that aren’t racist, we need more people who can appreciate people for their differences.  We don’t need fewer people who are more tolerant, we just need more people who will encourage people to be themselves.  If we outnumber those who hate, who are racist or who are intolerant, soon those on the other side will simply conform to the notions of the majority.  We cannot feed into the vicious cycle of trying to recruit the enemy, but instead we have to gather our allies and show them our strength and power.  I have been doing this thing wrong for a long time, but today I have decided to take the steps to do it the only way that makes sense to me.

Legends are known for doing something extremely well.  How do you want to be remembered? What do you do well? Note it.  Know it. Do it.  Be you.  Do you.  Tell your own stories. On your own terms.

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The Art of Storytelling

There are so many ways to tell a story.  Some people are loud and animated.  While others are softer toned and rhythmic.  And yet some are a hybrid; they will flow from one comedic belly aching moment into a serious and powerful historical testimony of the upmost importance.  This artistic ability is one to truly be admired.

I have learned over the years that telling a story is not about just being heard, but it is about captivating the audience and making them yearn for more.  It is about creating an electric atmosphere full of an emotion that you continue to charge with your stylistic “and then,” “I said,” “she said” electrodes of power.  Some people are born with this talent, while many others learn it by watching some of the greatest storytellers around.

You always know who the best storyteller is in the room because everyone who was there always turns to that person and says, “Girl you tell it!”, while they hold themselves together, waiting for the anticipated punch lines.  Storytellers are an energy that attract many, a light that draws in the crowd, and a magnet that people can hardly pull away from.

Then you have those historical storytellers who know the history of the entire family or the diaspora.  They began to spit the facts about great-grandpa, and a great-aunt and a cousin who went to war and never returned.  Or they begin to tell you about the warriors of forgotten African Kingdoms.  They resurrect the spirits of men and women you may have never met but are proud to be connected to.  Those type of storytellers make you feel so proud to be you, proud of your name and proud of the shoulders on which you stand on.  Those storytellers are gems of the family and academia.  They remain connected because they have a charge to continue to tell the story.

I have always loved to hear a good story.  Whether from a friend, a family member or the verbal vision created by those who are deemed professionals in the art.  Somehow the story strings pieces of your own imagination with the imagination of others and you have a powerful moment full of emotion.  Just thinking about the electrical energy gives me the chills.

We have to reclaim our position as storytellers.  Storytelling builds community, builds connections and builds a human coalescence.   When you tell the story, you are in control of how everyone around you views the narrative.  In order to restore, empower and progress, we have to regain that control.  The next time you are around a group of people, take a look at the story being told.  If you see that the story is not one which will uplift and inspire, take control and infuse the room with the emotion that will make that moment memorable.

Take control of the story.  Be you. Do you. Tell your own story. On your own terms.