S/O to Carlos for inspiring this and reminding me to start blogging again
I still remember, I used to cut out quotes that I liked and push-pin them to my wall. Mostly Motivation quotes, I did this at a very young age, not sure why.
I remember when I was about 16 - Nas had just dropped ‘I AM’……I will never forget, I was leaving Best Buy, just grabbed the album, I was in my mom’s Acura Vigor driving down Greenbrier Blvd in Chesapeake VA. I popped in the album, and like any Nas fan, I was immediately hooked. But the song that grabbed me the most was the collabo with him and DMX. The hook was simple
Life is what you make it…I’ma make it…not matter what it takes…we gon take it.
Was this a defining moment in my life. Probably not, but has this simple quote shaped my view on life and success, definitely. Because it was not riddled in metaphor it was not complex it was simply - life is what you make it. I’ma make it.
I have learned a lot of things since that day, and I am still learning with every breath I take. I know that life is about choices, that there is always a choice to be made. You have one shot, a collection of moments, you won’t get it right all of the time but you always have to try.
I have learned that people are mostly good, and you should always expect the best out of people. But guard your heart because hurt people - hurt people. Most of our wounds are in fact, self-inflicted. I have learned that people will only treat you how you allow them to.
I know that creativity is the one thing that is intrinsically yours. It is something that no one can take away from you, but something that has to be cultivated to the point where it overcomes your fear, to quote one of my favorite poets (Andrea Gibson) “We have to create, it’s the only thing louder than destruction”.
I know that there will always be average people. It’s the only way some of us can be extraordinary. I have surmised that the defining line that separates these ordinary people from the extraordinary are three things - courage, creativity and faith.
I know for a fact – It’s not how good you are its how good you want to be. I have found that the most wisdom in this world comes from simple quotes and clichés. The things you read on bumper stickers, or in tweets by rev run, and right off as nonsense; things like. The early bird gets the worm. Or if you always do what you have always done you will always get what you always got.
I have learned that there ain’t no such thing as half-way crooks.
I have learned that hypocrisy runs ramped, and being real is a dying skill. I have learned that being an individual is the greatest gift that you can give to yourself. Listen, we all want acceptance, the people who tell you they don’t care what other people think, normally care the most about what other people think. But the thing about being an individual is it allows you to no longer need validation from your peers. And when you no longer need validation you are able to operate wholly as yourself. One that makes decision not based on the reaction of the people around him or her but on the true intent on the decision itself.
I have learned that everyone is insecure about something, and that these insecurities can cloud our judgment and hinder our progress. What you have to do is first be honest about them, and second deal with the flaw. I have become friends with my insecurities, I know them intimately, and by doing this I can squash them when they try to hold me back, when they turn the fuel of a good idea into a myriad of excuses on why it won’t work. When they tell me that I am not smart enough, or talented enough, you have to be able to quiet them, this is crucial to your development as a person, this is Imperative work.
I have learned that the touch from the woman you love can shed away the worst of days. I have learned that a hug can masquerade as salvation. I have learned that love is undeniably part of the human experience, and if you deny yourself of it you are not really living.
I have realized that music feeds your soul like nothing else on this planet can. There is no feeling like the perfect lyrics, coupled with the perfect melody, the perfect bass line, and the perfect guitar riff hitting you at the perfect time.
I have learned that there are no winners in war.
What I know of wisdom is that it is ever changing, and ever evolving, so truly continuously seeking wisdom is always a wise thing to do.
If you had to cut out some quotes that defined your life at this moment what would they say?
What would you want them to say? Mine would sound like the quiet wisdom of a kid from queens, mixed with the intense screams of a kid from Yonkers…Saying
“ Life is what you make it…I’ma make it”