Life’s Telling Image
As I’m getting ready for work early this morning, I looked at the bathroom mirror reflection of myself and frowned…and then smiled…
I wasn’t the best looking creature at the crack of dawn. My one of my eyelids still didn’t realize it was supposed to be open, not half drooping shut, my hair looked like Hurricane Irene had just blown through it, and my skin was dry and slightly cracked from dragging across my cotton pillows. But I didn’t see flaws in my face’s controversial take on “morning glory”. I saw my beauty the way God made it.
I saw myself right after God blessed me enough to breathe life into me for another day at life…and I loved it.
One thing I’ve noticed is that many people compare themselves against each others attributes and flaws. And in this competitive world it’s worse that many in the Black community fight against each other for looks, money and personal value. It’s a materialistic, superficial race to the finish line from when you’re old enough to play with Barbie dolls and Thomas the Engine trucks to the diva walk down the fashion walkway and the cut-throat fight to the top of Wall Street. But isn’t it time to slow down? Just stop and take a look at yourself in the morning mirror; at the bare, brutally honest look at yourself…and actually be happy for five minutes?
Learning to love yourself and be satisfied with your own validity is a hard thing today with everyone telling you you’re not pretty enough, strong enough or even good enough a person to count for anything. But that one quick glance in the morning at yourself could be the beginning step in te right direction for inner growth and acceptance.
Don’t see the cracks on your skin as dry, horrid patches. Look closer and see the lines that stayed on your face from that great smile you had when you saw the person you loved. Don’t look at your droopy, sleepy eye like a disfigurement – see it as the eye that used to be half closed to the beautiful reality of your life but now slowly opening. And your disheveled hair isn’t a nappy mop on your head, its your proud crown in its natural glory with each strand as special and unique as you are.
Morning is never a time to be depressed but a time for a few minutes of self-reflection. Look at yourself as a new, amazing beginning every day with a horizon full of possibilities at every breaking dawn.
The Ultimate Silver Lining
Alright, so I’ve officially been INSPIRED! You know, when you realize you’re capable of doing something you never even dreamed you’d be able to do? Something that you’ve admired and watched for years but never thought you’d be able to produce something like it, ever. Writing has always been my passion since I was old enough to read. (And that was pretty early, considering that my mom – an English teacher – had me reading children’s book aloud at four.) Fiction and fantasy – mainly with folklore, time-travel and romance – have been my genres of choice since the beginning but always in a fashion geared towards novelist literature.
It wasn’t until these past several weeks, the last straining days of my life in college, that I realize I have another gift; another passion; another way to attack paper with my pen (or, more realistically, attack the keyboard with my fingers): playwriting.
As a final elective, I took a playwriting class under Mr. John Pietrowski, the Artistic Director at the Playwrights Theatre in Madison, NJ. Now, I had no idea who he was when the class started; he was just a friendly, open and talkative man who always had a smile on his face and an inquisitive look in his eye. I figured I was in for a fun but dragging class but I was used to that – what class in college hasn’t seemed to drag on until you’re clawing “I love you, Idris” into your desk with a cracked nail? But a few days into it I found that it wasn’t like your typical English class, with the “Read this…write this…edit this…read this…write this,” ritual. The professor opened the floor for any and all ideas, creating a safe environment where we students could truly express ourselves without worrying about ridicule and the teacher’s classic, “What the hell were you thinking?” look.
I came up with the play idea, “Holy River”, a play centering around a woman caught between her southern Baptist Christian Church upbringing and the Voodoo/Hoodoo practices exposed to her by her mother and surrounding her in the bayous of Tennessee. At first, I thought the professor would think I spent my time at home dancing around naked with dead chickens and candles in my living room to come up with an idea like that. But he didn’t. In fact, he thought it was great. I was caught up so much in the euphoria of being praised that I almost lost sight of the big picture.
I had limited myself so much to what I thought was sole talent – novelist writing – that I’d shut myself away from
my outstanding potential; my ultimate silver lining. My lack of fear and hesitation enabled me to open myself to a whole new possibility, exposing my mind to ideas and inspiration that I never would’ve seen if I had not gone outside my artistic safety-zone. We never truly see the limitations we put on ourselves until we stumble upon these rare opportunities to really get a chance to search into ourselves and pull out that extraordinary gift.
Now, thanks to Professor Pietrowski’s course and encouragement, I’m looking into possibly starting a career as a playwright and a fiction/fantasy novelist. Without the restrictions of self-doubt and unfounded assumptions, I’m free to explore everything I have to offer the literary world. Look out ’cause I’m coming!!
NABJ Reaches and Inspires the World Through Computer Speakers
As I’m typing I’m listening live to the online National Association of Black Journalist webinar discussion through my headphones. I’m “announcing” this because I find it so amazing where technology has taken us as a government, community and as a people involved in a plethora of different forms of entertainment, industry and professionalism.
I have been following and researching the Presidential Committee candidates for NABJ, from the candidate for NABJ president to the candidates for the Vice President of Print, working to get more involved in the profession that I hope to soon have a solid, established career in, and I must say that it’s so amazing and encouraging to see the organization utilizing the ever-advancing world of internet media.
As an African-American woman working to get into a predominantly male field, it is education and inspiring to hear and work with professional people of your own race who share your passion and drive. NABJ is an organization that works to bring young people in high school and college with majors in Communication and Journalism gain experience in their chosen fields both in the classroom and the professional office. They make available numerous workshop, scholarship, internships and job opportunities to students as well, offering a significantly lower yearly membership fee to accommodate the daunting “college student budget”.
I must admit that even though I’m only recently becoming involved with the National Association of Black Journalist, it truly is something that is worth investing the time and money into. The networking is unbelievably extensive and helpful, the annual workshops are educational and give first-hand accounts and advice from successful men and women who have been in the profession for decades, and even showcase sources and programs in media and print production so that print journalism is not the only career option members have.
As I continue to listen to the NABJ Elections Committee candidates [online] forum, I’m inspired to continue the pursuit of my ultimate dream job and look forward to seeing and being thoroughly involved in the advances in media and technology.
Did you hear about the rose that grew
from a crack in the concrete?
Proving nature’s law is wrong it
learned to walk with out having feet.
Funny it seems, but by keeping it’s dreams,
it learned to breathe fresh air.
Long live the rose that grew from concrete
when no one else ever cared.
It’s funny how we only see many of our African-American men in the media highlight primarily as gangbangers, thugs and drug dealers instead of potential intelligent, insightful men. Because of the stereotype of Black men as ghetto and violent, our community as a result almost automatically looks at them that way, women writing off potential Black mates as demoralized dogs and outside races viewing them as uncivilized.
While watching a documentary on rap-icon, Tupac Shakur, I saw how the Black community revered him as a voice that spoke the truth of African-American life, struggles, tragedies and hope of the hood; the outside world – a.k.a. the government – saw him as a trouble maker and upstarter; and the friends and family closest to him saw and treasured him as a “philosophical thug”, something that no one had ever encountered before.
But if this is so, why did it take so long for his true expression to be released? His poems, chronicled in the book The Rose that Grew from Concrete, are one that, I believe, holds the true depth of Tupac’s thoughts and inspirations. With odes to himself, his mother, spouses and the black community, Tupac shows that there is much more to him and the entire persona of “the thug” than baggy pants, guns and color-coded bandanas.
Much like a rose struggling to grow in between the cold, hard confines of two cement blocks, Tupac emerged in a time where Black men were underestimated, underprivileged and undervalued. Let’s not make the same mistake today and continue to overlook them; if we take them for granted they won’t continue to fight to stay in the sun.