I’ve been in this industry a long time. I’ve devoted my life to servicing my community through the arts since I was 15; working no less than 5 dance or fitness jobs at once because I wanted to build what my family built on a level that would allow me to give them what they deserved. As a deeply introverted introvert in the field of customer service, I’ve discovered some amazing things about human nature. One discovery, one that I’ve had trouble breaking down until now, is the failure to understand the concept of birth.
I’m happy to say that I’m old enough to remember a world without social media. The trend that has astonished and annoyed me the most is “Hashtag Goals”. Most people who “know” me, follow my career, take my class, or hire me, seem to think my life is as polished as the products, services, and events I promote. That’s the world we live in now:
Visibility and a lack of imperfection mean success. We would rather be validated than informed. The ability to provide instant gratification, satisfaction, or stimulation translates to expertise regardless of the level of effectiveness. And whoever may provide the road of least resistance is considered a revolutionary. We’ve literally created a world devoid of challenge, occupied by individuals who hold impossible expectations.
It’s no wonder we have so much ease living out the performed result of someone else’s goals but have so much trouble reaching our own. We don’t know what it truly means to have any. Our goals in 2021 don’t belong to us. They are reflections of imposed fantasies. Our goals have nothing to do with our actual selves. A goal is the object of your ambition, your effort, your sacrifice and…prep yourself…. your destruction. Isn’t it crazy how we want to change without changing? We want to transform without shedding.
Let me get back to the point before I lose some of you (and myself) to your insecurities. That one discovery. That one that I couldn’t figure out until now: birth. Not necessarily creation…birth. Let me hit you with one of my favorite James Baldwin quotes:
“Any real change implies the breakup of the world as one has always known it, the loss of all that gave one an identity, the end of safety. And at such a moment, unable to see and not daring to imagine what the future will now bring forth, one clings to what one knew, or dreamed that one possessed. Yet, it is only when a man is able, without bitterness or self-pity, to surrender a dream he has long possessed that he is set free - he has set himself free - for higher dreams, for greater privileges.”
You can read as many positive memes on social media as you want. You can follow as many success stories on Instagram. You can look at as many pictures of “wealthy” people or “skinny” people or “curvy” people. You can marvel at people’s happy relationships and beautiful children. You can even envy people who still have what and who you lost. But it won’t matter.
Every single life changing/level up event is preceded by the demise of some unidentifiable entity whose presence would not let such an event come to pass. “Every next level of your life requires another version of you”. So, it is when this entity reaches its “end” that we are born.
It’s heavy. So much of who and what we have loved and are loved by fits in this category. For some this can be devastating. It can be triggering. Frankly, it just isn't fair. It can send us into darkness because “the end” seems so final. Here’s what I really came to understand: it is. Journeys are not traveled on flat terrain. When we look forward and see an end, it’s because we have, possibly, reached it and can’t look forward anymore. We must look up. Life is lived in levels, and we can’t climb while we carry our old selves and all the baggage that eventually became attached to us as weight. Let me hit you with my second James Baldwin quote:
“People pay for what they do, and still more for what they have allowed themselves to become. And they pay for it very simply; by the lives they lead.”
I’m sure at this point you’ve found a thousand ways to apply this to your personal life. That’s what I wanted. Your goals should be PERSONAL. Your goals should be about you. And your goals should begin with the destruction of everything you can’t take with you to the next level.
Birth, by definition, is the start of life as a separate being.
When you DESIRE to become someone better or do something better, prepare yourself for the labor pains, the nausea, the dizziness, the headaches, the long hours, the cries, and the screams. Prepare yourself for that separation.
Then, prepare yourself for what you prayed for.
In the words of my cousin, “every birth isn’t physical”. So even when you can’t physically see or touch or even believe what you thought you should have earned by now; know that at the beginning, nothing really makes sense, and no one can really understand you. In the beginning, we are just…here. Don’t waste the time you have while you are…here.
It is my prayer that whoever reads this can apply it to every single goal that leads them to the next level in life. It is my prayer that you find peace in destruction. It is my prayer that you can unload your heart and your head so it can be lifted to see yourself at the next height. You can get there, if you are prepared for the challenge of birth. You WILL get there! Keep going!!! Even when you don't accept the Bullshit the universe throws at you. Even when you don't feel like being bothered with the concept of faith, Keep going!
People say, “we are what we do”. I think we are what we carry.
Travel light. Be kind to yourself.
And congratulations in advance on a successful delivery.
It's a ...... NEW YOU!!!! (....see what I did there?)
PS: What's yours is on it's way to you.
“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” -Paulo Coelho