Bring Your Baggage
KIRU drops off clothes at Frontline Family Ministries in Elmira, NY.
Remember what you wore for the first day of eighth grade? Maybe you went in your favourite t-shirt and jeans- or your least favourite because you were saving the good stuff for after orientation. Some of the guys at my school definitely rolled up in the newest wheelys hoping to impress one of the girls. I remember my crush at the time- a talented artist who wore a red and navy striped tee, and sported long curly hair for day one. Her mother once played an Oprah Winfrey tape in the white van she drove, but that's not important.
What was I wearing, you ask? Well, if I'm honest, I have no f***ing clue. However, what I do remember, is this:
Just two days earlier, I had been rollerblading alone near the old north side high school, when suddenly I tripped on the sidewalk and landed flat on my nose. Perfect timing, I know. I was the type of kid that liked to plan out how things should go, and how I should look as they happen -eighth grade is hardly real life, so you don't get to judge me in this- so... yeah, this little incident here really rocked my world. Day one of school, I remember walking up to the eighth grade door -n***a nose to the max (my nose was swollen from the fall, and I am black)- and observing everyone from a far. "Who are these people?," I thought to myself. As I looked around, I noticed that (perhaps saving exception of a few new kids), everyone was basically cliqued up by now, and I secretly wondered if I would make any new friends this year. The answer is no.
You know, it's funny that this particular memory made an appearance as I thought about my most recent trip to Elmira. For weeks I remember thinking, "Everything is planned out. I'm going to go home and visit all these family members and friends," but how I was really about to spend my visit home was hardly at all as I initially intended. In what was kind of like that moment when everything changes, -it was almost as soon as I set foot in town that Friday night- I realized the only thing I really wanted to do that weekend was donate some old clothes.
Now, we can sit here and make pretend like it was a complete and entirely heart-wrenching/tear-jerker moment, or we can get real and face facts, lol. Although I was thoroughly excited and anxious to give back and make an impact in the very community that raised me (we were able to donate over $2k in shirts and bottoms alone!), another piece of my truth is that it was simply time for me to let some sh*t go. You know?
See, most of us will reach a point in our lives where we believe we know just how we want to make a change in this world, -and this is usually a good thing!- but too often, I think we end up neglecting the order of the process of effective change, and we tend to wonder where exactly things went wrong along the way. The truth, is that we simply forget that in order to truly impact the lives of others, we must first activate the power to inspire change within ourselves and walk in our own "newness" of life!
Now, perhaps, you may have read that last paragraph and thought to yourself that what I'm about to do next is draw out some elaborate and exhausting image of religious practices, or maybe even a list of do's and don'ts about walking in this "newness". Nonsense.
Sometimes, in order to step into your "newness", you've simply got to bring your baggage... and drop it off.
You can spend your time worrying about who you were, and how they used to treat you. You can sit around and daydream about how they ought to see you because of the person you know yourself to be, or how they might act around you tomorrow -should you become the person you always wanted to be. But none of that is going to bring you or anyone around you to another level. So what, I didn't make any new friends that year? I still ended up leading the choir in the Sister Act II arrangement of Joyful, Joyful and kept the ones I had. So what, I had a situation that changed the way I look in the face (painfully, dramatically, and mostly temporarily)? At some point I was going to have to learn to accept the person I am today, no matter what.
If you can be anything, be amazing.
Peace & Beauty, Love & Joy,