What if you felt like you were enough – right now?
What if you felt as if you were already making a difference – a significant difference here in this moment?
What if you were forming the framework for the dreams of others as you build your own?
I was thinking about these statements today. How would I show up if I genuinely believed the things above? Would I be willing to be more visible? Would I speak my truth?
Two of the things I believed when I was a child – that I could become anything I wanted if I put the work in. And, that I could improve at anything with enough practice. It is entirely possible that neither of these things are true, but as a child, those things were my truths. My belief in them led me to do many things – study and work in various countries both paid and voluntary, as well as live out many of my dreams – travel the world and even write my first book. But there was another factor that played a huge role in this. Growing up in Barbados, I was empowered being surrounded by women (and men) who looked like me doing many things – in every profession. In truth I wasn’t even aware of it at the time. I thought it was normal – that everyone lived like this. In fact, I never even noticed it until I moved to England, and you can read more about that in the blog post that I link below.
I learned the importance of representation – of seeing ourselves reflected in those around us, doing everything. Leading organizations. Running businesses and families. Professionals in many fields. In our classrooms and in charge of our schools. Regardless of the opinions that I held of some of these people, the very fact that they were there reinforced for me the belief that I could do any of those things, and more. At this stage in my life, I still believe in representation, and I love to promote it in all its forms – from puzzles and/or books that showcase black people in a positive light, to individuals running their own businesses and succeeding in their own rights. But it never occurred to me that I too was part of the process.
Today it dawned on me that I am a part of that representation, and so are many of you reading this, We are the women and men who are in the peripheral vision of our young people. Even though we are competing against the loud voices and images of all forms of media, we are still an important part of the process. How we work and play. How we love our friends and our families. I was reminded today that one of the things that had a huge impact on my life was being immersed in positive images and now I am one. Will I choose to hide away? Constantly criticizing myself for not being as far along as I want to be? Hiding because I don’t look or feel the way I want to? Or will I remain visible just as I am – as I attempt to be a positive member of society?
The news is filled almost daily with lots of what is wrong on our island and in our world. In order for what is positive to remain effective, I must remain visible right now, just as I am, and tell my own story of how I worked towards my dreams, to give younger people the belief in their own dreams. By doing this, I can hopefully encourage someone to start just as he/she is, before being ready.
We are a part of the framework for their dreams.
Just as we are. In all our various shapes and sizes, in all professions and in all walks of life. The things we say to them will become their inner voices (paraphrased from Peggy O’Mara). How we speak about them, and about ourselves will be their legacy. Let us do it with pride in who we are right now.
I will remember that even if I am not overjoyed with where I am, there are children everywhere dreaming big dreams and I can be a part of the reason they believe it is possible. I am enough right now. I matter right now. We all do.
And that was my lesson for today.
I send you big love from a small island
PS toward this end, I am showing my face more! See a photo above taken by my lovely sister
PPS here is the link to the blog post I mentioned earlier - Black Girl Magic…..