I remember it so vividly because it was one of the greatest compliments I’ve ever received. August 2019, a month that changed my life forever. Summer 2019 really, but… I remember the sincerity in his voice, the look of gratitude in his eyes, and immediately I was reminded that my purpose isn’t just about me. Five minutes prior, I was doing a spoken word piece, standing in front of a room I hadn’t been prepared to stand in front of when I woke that morning.
I remember struggling not to let a tear drop, not to shrug off the compliment, not to push aside the feeling of “wow.” This man didn’t know me, but in the two minutes and forty five seconds it took me to pour out my soul in word form, he made a connection. Identified something in my words that propelled him to speak to me. I struggled with this. I… struggle with this.
What did I say that made him identify? When did he feel like he had to say something? What part of my story felt like his, to him? Why am I so in my head? Why can’t I just take a compliment? Where in life did I forget that I’m unapologetically dope. Humbly speaking, of course!
I wanted to be what he called me. Wanted to be the hope dealer, slanging it on blocks of despair. Rewinding desperation in preparation for something better, hope… he said, “don’t stop speaking.” I nodded. Loss for words. Quiet. Back inside my head. Insert introvert here. He was excited. “Do you do this often?” Here and there was my reply.
I was so uncomfortable! They always expect me to be chatty afterwards. Chats are reserved for family and close friends, often in the form of word vomit from the amount of time I spend alone. Soaking in the alternate realities I paint in my mental, coloring visions of my tomorrow, while calculating the distance it took to get from my reality to the one I just created, my mind isn’t always the safest space. I smile… I laugh… often. More to reassure who I’m speaking with, mastering the balance between small toothless smiles and expressionless. Can you be hope and be an actor at the same time?
He told me that I’d write history. Poets do that. Artist do that. Creatives do that. Make suffering palatable. Bring beauty to broken. Hope to despair, I was going to be an orator for my generation. I already am? Insert God moment here.
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth
The greatest creator of all time. And I, and we, made in His image will too create. Not always fruitfully, but to not acknowledge where it was birthed from is… _____________!
I’m extremely hard on myself. That’s why the compliment was difficult to accept. His words reminded me of my responsiblity to my gift, and I wish I could thank him. This stranger who could have no idea that six months later, I’d be writing about him.
My point is, being uncomfortable is like soil to growth. It prepares for change. I grew. Becoming what he encouraged that day. I AM hope. For myself, for my people, and for the lives God will have me to inspire. Are you hope? Are you love? Are you peace? The way you live, the fruit you bear, what would someone say of you? Deep inside, who are you? And even more, who do you want to be?
Blessings on that journey.
Romans 12:12 CSB
12 Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer.
To the reader, I love you.
To the creative, I am inspired by you.
To the thinker, I am learning from you.
To the doer, I am encouraged by your fearlessness.