Building A Space for Our Success

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Loretta Devine, Keke, Palmer, and Kerry Washington onstage during the 2016 ABFF Awards.

A few nights ago, I watched the American Black Film Festival Awards on BET. This award show was presented by ABFF in conjunction with BET as a way to celebrate and recognize the diversity and talent within the realms of Black Hollywood. I’m not going to get into the whole “Oscar’s So White” controversy, but as a writer, I’m a major fan of the ABFF and wanted to acknowledge them as well as BET for creating their own lane. When it comes to following our dreams, this is something that many of us want to do, but for many reasons fail to do it.

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When something doesn’t fit into a specific category or space, it is often concluded that this thing whether it be our physical appearance, an opinion , or a dream needs to be modified. There’s this connotation attached to being unique that fosters conformity and change in order to be accepted and successful.  As a result, we feel like we need to change our ideas- we feel like we need to change our dreams.

When we live in a world where ordinary is the expectation and our dream is out of the ordinary, how do we succeed?

When I first started my blog, I knew it was very unconventional, and unique. A lot of the things I’ve done and do are “typical” for bloggers, but a lot of my dreams and goals for my blog are very unconventional. There are times where this has left me feeling like there isn’t a place for my blog, and there isn’t a place for my dreams to come true. However, because I’m so passionate about my dreams, and believe in myself 100%, I decided I wasn’t going to change my dreams but instead create a space for them to come true.

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If we have a vision, idea, or a dream we are passionate about that doesn’t fit into a space that’s already created within the arenas we’re trying to succeed in, we have to create our own space-we have to create our own success!  Everything that we see as normal, or that we have accepted in life didn’t necessarily start off that way. Some of these things started as someone’s unconventional, crazy, illogical, ideas and dreams! People built their own spaces for their success, and that’s just what we have to do sometimes. If we’re passionate about something, we don’t just stop believing in it or let it die, because society doesn’t believe in it or doesn’t have a space for it. No one should ever tell us to do that!

This week, I challenge us  to create our own space for success if we need it.  No dream should go unfollowed and no passion should die due to the lack of a space to succeed. There’s nothing wrong with doing it ourselves- if we didn’t do it we’d be selling ourselves short.

Remember, you don’t have to average, you can be extraordinary. You don’t have to be a rock, you can be a diamond!

neon

 

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Rider or Passenger? Know the Difference

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My love, Caleb and I ❤

Happy Valentine’s Day ❤  For those of us who are celebrating with our special someones today, it is important that we take time to be thankful to have a person who cares about us, loves us, and supports us.  For the past four 1/2 years, I have been dating a wonderful man of God, Caleb who has stood by my side in every season of my life. From good times to bad times, he has been my best friend, partner, and biggest supporter. Last year, we turned our lives upside down to follow our dreams, and to be honest, neither one of us knew what we were getting into. It was a major risk, that we knew could be super amazing or super disastrous to our lives, both individually and collectively. In fact, we made some decisions and endured some situations that some couples would probably break up over, but luckily for us, we were both 100% supportive of each others’ dreams and were willing to take this crazy ride together. I am so blessed to have such a supportive partner who believes in my passion and dedication the same way I believe in his. However, not everyone is fortunate enough to have this mutual support-especially when it comes to following your dreams.

Who’s in your car? A rider or a passenger?

For some of us following our dreams, we are taking a huge risk. We are doing something that a lot of people would consider crazy, unrealistic, and illogical. We are  putting everything on the line to pursue a passion, but at the end of the day, that is why we are doing it- passion. In pursuing it, we look for support from those who are important to us. We are looking for them to support us, to believe in us, and to stick with us through every part of this new journey- we are looking for a rider.

A rider supports your dream, no matter how risky or crazy it may seem. They tell you their honest opinions about your decisions, and vow to support you in any way they can. When the road gets crazy, they stay along for the ride with you because they believe in your passion and believe in your dreams. They don’t secretly envy your success and genuinely hope the best for you. They are patient with you while your are on your journey to success, and don’t walk away when they feel like the process is taking too long. They are not trying to advance their own motives, but are there for you because they genuinely care about you and your desires. A rider is excited for you, and happy to be a part of your journey.

As I said, things are not always going to be cut and dry when you’re following your dreams. There are going to be a lot of crazy situations and hard times, and someone who is not there for the long run is going to disappear at the first sign of this. A passenger is someone who says they’re going to be there through thick and thin, but begin to “thin out”, when things get thick. They don’t really support your dreams, they don’t really believe in you, and they aren’t trying to stay around while you’re in your “building stages”. However, some passengers tend to come looking for a ride once you have made it to your destination, or stick along for the ride so they don’t have to take their own car. In other words, they are there for their own personal gain.

This week, I challenge all of you following your dreams or thinking of following your dreams to see who’s in your car: a rider or a passenger? This journey is not an easy or swift one, and if you have someone along for the ride with you, make sure they support you 100% , will be patient with you,  will endure with you, and will believe with you- make sure you have a rider. Know the difference, today!  Remember, you don’t have to be average, you can be extraordinary. You don’t have to be a rock, you can be diamond.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

neon

 

 

 

 

Lift Every Dream

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Dr. Marc Lamont Hill

 

On Sunday, I attended the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration at Syracuse University. The weekend long celebration was comprised of a number of activities and community projects that focus on activism and honoring the late Martin Luther King Jr. Social justice activist, professor of African American Studies, and CNN political contributor Dr. Marc Lamont Hill was given the honor to of being the keynote speaker at Sunday evening’s dinner event at the Carrier Dome.  The contents of his address were so encouraging and moving that they inspired today’s blog post. So, with the start of Black History Month being yesterday, I knew that this was the perfect time to share.

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Although the address delivered by Dr. Hill was one of the most compelling of its kind, one thing he said stood out to me more than anything. While speaking on the writing of the Black National Anthem, he mentioned that the lyrics to the song say Lift EVERY Voice and sing. Not just BLACK voices, not just WHITE voices, but lift EVERY voice. Even in the midst of their oppression, black people still strived to uplift everyone, promote equality, and celebrate all people. However, when it comes to us and following our dreams, this notion of “uplifting  everyone”  is not always exercised.

 A girl is walking on her college campus to class. As she is walking toward her class, another group of  girls are walking toward her. As they get closer, she realizes that these girls are members of a student organization that promotes equality and social justice that she is also a member of.  As they approach each other, the girl walking alone smiles and waves at the group of girls. They do not smile back or respond. Instead they begin to laugh and talk about her in a hurtful way  as they walk past her. 

Although the excerpt above isn’t real, how many of us can say that something like this has happened to us? How many of us can say that someone who is the same as us whether that be the same race, same gender, same religion, same socioeconomic status, same life path, has inflicted us with some form of hatred and abase? How many of us can say that someone who is following their dreams the same way we are following ours isn’t supporting us, but instead hating us, competing with us, oppressing us?

I don’t even want to know the answer.

People who are supposed to be a community, working together to achieve a SIMILAR goal are doing just the opposite of that. How can we rise together against oppression and impediments when we are degrading each other? How can we be a community that stands firm in togetherness and harmony when we participate in a system that divides us? And for the people I’m talking to today. The people following our dreams:

How DARE we say we’re striving to achieve our own goals when we see someone who is doing the same and we CHOOSE NOT TO uplift them and support their success?

As harsh as this is, it is happening. Black girls are hating other black girls. Young men are killing other young men. People following their dreams are hoping for failure for other people following their dreams. Let’s be real. We all know what it’s like to struggle. We all know what it’s like to desire change. We all know what’s like to want more for our lives and the people in them. We all know what’s like to be passionate. We all know what it’s to be excited to follow a dream, and we all know how hard this journey of following our dreams can be. Knowing this, how can we see others experiencing similar things and not be there for them? How can we refuse to help them? How can we be jealous? How can we not uplift them? How can we not be a community?

How can we be divided?

When you see someone following their dreams the same way you are, support them- uplift them.

Like their Facebook Page.

Purchase their book.

Send them a message of encouragement.

Offer your guidance and knowledge.

Let them know we’re in this together.

Uplift them.

Helping-Other-Quotes-There-is-no-exercise-better-for-the-heart-than-reaching-down-and-lifting-people-up.

This week, I challenge us to lift another person’s dream. When we are all working toward the same goal,why wouldn’t we work together to see that everyone achieves success? Let’s be a community, let’s be a team- let’s lift every dream.

Happy Black History Month

-Kayla ❤