I’m more than grateful for people like my friend’s cousin, to help remind me and others of how far we’ve come.
We were forged in environments where we were forced to grow up extremely fast. Take on duties and responsibilities many can’t fathom much less tackle before and during adolescence. We were sculpted into physical and emotional walls of strength, outwardly tougher than diamonds. Any signs of weakness were fundamentally threatening to our life and existence. There was no time to feel, or feel sorry for ourselves or examine how unfair or offended we may have felt. We didn’t have those privileges. We had to help our families put food on the table, we had to help ourselves find a way to get out, to make something better of ourselves, to not be just another statistic and trapped, in my case within the ghettos of New York City. However, all this came at a cost…
We all have our personal plights to deal with, but in the environments we grew up in, where feeling and thinking too deeply equated to inaction and threatened your livelihood, the costs of being “always on” are pronounced, particularly psychologically and emotionally. However, I’m very fortunate to be have been aligned with some very strong and supportive people throughout my formative years and as of recently some truly remarkable and inspiring ones as well. They’ve all aided and buffered me, allowing me to finally turn off a bit and take some moments to breathe, and I must say ‘what a game changer and relief.
It is also through turning off and allowing myself to feel, I realized the power of reflection and the true joys of living. When we’re not in a perpetual state of fight or flight we can begin to properly experience gratitude, to properly experience genuine happiness and peace, to properly and genuinely experience love. Ironically enough, through turning off, processing and feeling, we can begin to shift from surviving to thriving. The rub is that many of us don’t see turning off as an option, and unfortunately in many of our cases, we may be right….
Unless we know differently? Perhaps if the youth had some viable blueprints, we wouldn’t need to continuously reinvent the wheel and could actually thrive earlier?
I honestly don’t know what my “true purposes” are in life or exactly what “I want to do” with my professional career(s) yet. Taking it all in stride and enjoying the rides. However, I do know I want most of my time to be around those I love and those that love and support me, continuously pushing each other to be the best versions of ourselves. I’m grateful, one of those pushes was the unintentional praise yet profoundly reflective and inspirational moment with my new family friend, sparking this entire two part post.
While we’ll all trying to figure it out, I do know that my current privileges which enables me to live the life I live now and hopefully continue to build on even further, begets an obligation to remind myself and others alike that we should be proud; we earned this, this wasn’t given to us. Be proud of where we are, who we’ve become in the process and are continuing to become as people. We made some generational leaps and blueprints from nothing. It took so much work, sacrifice, struggle and a shit ton of pain. Whether we’re from a war torn nation, a small town in the Midwest, a ghetto of NYC or something else entirely. Be proud of where we came from, it made us and we’re going to keep thriving despite it AND because of it!
The world can be brutally cruel. Life will be relentless, but don’t simply survive it, thrive in it. We’re not here to just exist, own your time on this mutha! Be human, feel deeply! Fail early, fail often, seek help, try new shit, do great shit, get the shit kicked out of you, get up and do it again. Forge ahead then Turn it off and take a step back to really appreciate the beauty and blessings of the life that is around you; reach back and bring others up with you to. Have faith! Live your life through love, share your life with loved ones and support your loved ones; but always remember, no matter what you’re going through, there can always be worse and you’re stronger than you can even imagine. We’ve come too far to only come this far. Keep it going, we got this.
You often don’t know how strong you are until being strong is the only option.
Have a blessed Holidays