i'm running... and not because i'm afraid of being here but because i'm afraid of becoming comfortable in this life. i feel like i've been doing what i expected to be doing. sometime ago i created a plan for myself with accomplishments and goals that sounded impressive and seemed to be something i could strive for. i was young, black and looking for instead of looking at myself in a world that seemed perfectly immune to the creative spark that hid within me. i write poetry but i don't share it and behind closed doors i dance and sing and act and think of ways to express my belief in human good and compassion through the arts, but you wouldn't know these things because they're not the kind of things that i was taught to put on my resume. i did well in high school and college and thought that being a lawyer was the only path one could take to be an advocate for justice and so i decided my career path. i joined teach for america because i believed in and still believe in its mission. i did well in my classroom and graduate school while applying to law schools. i sat back and graciously welcomed offers law schools made to me with pretty scholarships and shiny packages that momentarily distracted me from the gigantic investment i was about to take because its the risk i said i would take ten years ago before i knew who i'd be today.
no one told me to pause and even if they did i wasn't listening because success is waiting for me so why not just race full speed toward it, right? wrong... truth is, i've been a part of what now seems like the cookie-cutter way of being and performing the role of the young black urban male who's persevered in the face of racism, classicism, and patriarchy. i've been a token, i've been someone's success story, someone's poster child, someone's prized possession because i've beaten the odds and look at me now. i have degrees from institutions of higher education and i've been eager to grab another one while the fire's still hot so i can add some more abbreviations at the end of my name that scream "look at me, i made it."
i'm twenty four and blessed... but i haven't really experienced the world and what it has to offer. i don't want to look back thirty years from now at a career i fell into and a path that seemed like the right one to take because it fit the natural progression of things. i don't want to look back on my life and realize that i lived for others and not for myself. so i'm going to take risks and listen to my heart for once and define what it means to be successful for myself. i'm going to dive into me and my god and not plans full of debt without a purpose nor position in the world. i'm going to contribute to the development and well-being of me before trying to force my contribution to society in ways that are traditional and quite frankly standard. i'm going to be my own success story and let my god carry me where my wings may go.